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  #61  
Old 04-21-2009, 04:06 PM
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I think it was mainly because her own mother testified against her and because of his rank.
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  #62  
Old 04-21-2009, 05:27 PM
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I think it was mainly because her own mother testified against her and because of his rank.
His rank played a major part of it, with favours called in. Poor Frances, when she left believing that custody would be awarded to her, she had no idea that her mother would side with her ex or that she would be portrayed as an unfit mother because she had not waited for the divorce and custody to finalise. IMO.

I believe when Frances spoke to Hello, it was with the best intentions for her daughter, what a great pity Diana couldn't see it that way.
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  #63  
Old 04-21-2009, 06:49 PM
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The Spencer marriage was probably more rocky than the Wales', although, with less tabloid coverage. According to Tina Brown's biography of Diana, Earl Spencer was engaged to another woman and promptly dropped her when he met the 18 year old Frances. He was also a difficult husband and lost interest in Frances after they finally had an heir. Brown claims that the Earl did not respect his wife and she was driven into the arms of another man. Frances finally left the Earl after a humiliating dinner party, and Mr. Shand-Kydd left his wife to reciprocate.

I only read the first part of Brown's biography and there is debate on how accurate it is. But I would not be surprised if Earl Spencer had been a lousy husband to Frances. His son Charles seems to inherited the lousy husband trait, and is much worse.

I wonder if the children's ages at the time of the divorce have something to with it. The elder Spencer pair, Sarah and Jane, grew up well-adjusted and have had long, stable marriages. On the other hand, Diana seemed to have emotional problems, and Charles...well, his marital record and divorce cases speak for themselves.
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  #64  
Old 04-21-2009, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by EmpressRouge View Post
I wonder if the children's ages at the time of the divorce have something to with it. The elder Spencer pair, Sarah and Jane, grew up well-adjusted and have had long, stable marriages. On the other hand, Diana seemed to have emotional problems, and Charles...well, his marital record and divorce cases speak for themselves.
I have no formal training in psychology but I would think that Diana's age at the time had considerable bearing on the sort of scars she bore from the circumstances of her parents' divorce. She was only about 7 and would have had little understanding of why her mother didn't come back for her, but was old enough to have had enough understanding of what was going on around her to know it wasn't good. It must have been a terrible thing for a little girl to believe herself abandoned by her mother.

Of course the truth is Frances wanted to have her and see her but wasn't allowed to, but Diana wouldn't have known that or understood it, since, among other things, that would require her thinking bad things about her father. It all must have played havoc with her sense of security.

Of course if the same things happened to a child with a different sort of personality, the outcome may have been very different. It's complex.
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  #65  
Old 04-21-2009, 08:42 PM
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I think Earl Spencer was a good parent. Diana was always closer to him but he died before her battle with RF and Charles really heated up, and in addition he wasn't in good health his last years. Sarah too had anorexia as a young women, like Diana who had bulimia, although Sarah got over it much quicker, and it wasn't as bad as with Diana. But the two youngest children were indeed impacted by their parent's divorce. It's right to say Frances certainly didn't intend to leave her children, and certainly it's understandable her marriage to Earl Spencer fell apart. Frances would no doubt have been closer to her two youngest children had it not been for the divorce. What made the divorce harder for Diana and her brother was that divorce was so rare among the aristocracy at that time. Had it been more common, had they known lots of other children in the same sitiuation, it might have been easier.
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  #66  
Old 04-22-2009, 05:17 AM
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Of course the truth is Frances wanted to have her and see her but wasn't allowed to, but Diana wouldn't have known that or understood it, since, among other things, that would require her thinking bad things about her father. It all must have played havoc with her sense of security.

Of course if the same things happened to a child with a different sort of personality, the outcome may have been very different. It's complex.
Yes, I have met/spoken to many children from broken homes and they all react in a different way. Most parents seem unable to keep the argument of divorce away from the children, the overheard telephone conversation with a parent telling his/her friends what an absolute Bastard the other is, trying to out do one another with presents as if they are buying the child's affection.

The parent that always says 'Yes or OK' is going to be more popular than the parent who says 'No', even if they explain why not. Many of these children learn how easy it is to manipulate their parents and of course many carry it into adulthood, with or without the parents divorcing.

IMO, Frances felt keenly the estrangement from her daughter in later years.
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Old 04-22-2009, 05:37 PM
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I think the fact that Earl Spencer died really contributed to the dismal events of 1992. Had he lived, I think Diana would have been more willing to try to live a quiet separate life out of her desire to please her father. But once that brake was gone, the gloves were off for Diana.
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  #68  
Old 04-22-2009, 11:46 PM
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Defintely that's true, iowabelle. Also, it is true that Frances keenly felt the estrangement from her daughter in later years. I think they got along better say in the '80s although mother and daughter were never close due to the divorce that caused Diana so much trauma when she was a child. But I recall reading that Diana had help from Frances with such things as shooping for suitable clothes when she first became engaged, so obviously they got along better then and Frances tried to help her a bit anyway.
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  #69  
Old 04-23-2009, 05:34 AM
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It must be very difficult when the mother/daughter bond is broken in such a way. They can never go back to that relationship, all they can hope for is friendship and as we all know friendships can be broken easily, whereas close mother/daughter bonds cannot.
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  #70  
Old 04-23-2009, 08:45 AM
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I read in several books that Johnny Spencer was physically abusive to Frances. That would certainly have some bearing on her wanting a divorce. One would also think that it would have some bearing on the mental state of the children, especially as they were remanded by the court to their father's custody.
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  #71  
Old 04-23-2009, 10:28 AM
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Scooter...can you provide the book name?
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  #72  
Old 04-23-2009, 10:36 AM
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Scooter...can you provide the book name?
I can give you the name. Diana in Private by Lady Colin Cambell page 25, chapter 2.
"He (Johnny Spencer) had a vicious temper and a cruel streak..........
as she began standing up for herself and demanding the type of treatment she felt was hers by right, their fights escalated. These sometimes ended in physical abuse". etc etc. "he (Johnny Spencer) had become a wife beater".
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  #73  
Old 04-23-2009, 10:46 AM
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I'm afraid Lady C has never been known for the facts. I found this in the Telegraph
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As recently as 1970, if a woman was found to have had an extra-marital affair, she not only forfeited her right to maintenance but also risked losing her children. It was a penalty Diana, Princess of Wales's mother, Frances, discovered to her cost. After years of an unhappy marriage to Earl Spencer, in the late 1960s she had an affair with wallpaper merchant Peter Shand Kydd.
She left her husband, taking their four children with her. He felt so humiliated by her adultery that although, at the time, women were routinely given custody of the children, he fought her in the courts and won.
I have heard it suggested that Frances cross petitioned citing cruelty in the hope that she could retain custody.
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  #74  
Old 04-23-2009, 12:00 PM
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Well it didn´t work for Frances, especially when her own mother testified against her.
It was a very unwise move on her part and really, although I feel sorry for her losing her children, it was inevitable.
I really don´t know if Earl Spencer was cruel to her or not, he probably wasn´t, I was just giving the book where it was written, IMO she was very foolish to do what she did and the children certainly paid a price for it, especially Diana and so did Frances, who was estranged from her daughter, and this daughter being killed in a tragic accident before reconciliation.
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Old 04-23-2009, 12:15 PM
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I would think it's a matter of public record, Zonk. Frances petitioned for divorce on the grounds of Cruelty on the part of Earl Spencer, did she not? Back in those days, cruelty did not mean 'He was rude to me at a dinner party', it meant literally physical cruelty. I would also think that in the '60's it would not have been a charge lightly made by any reputable divorce attorney against a Peer. Lady Campbell's book wasn't the one I refer to, I dont think I actually own that one. I will poke around in the library and find the other source.
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  #76  
Old 04-23-2009, 12:30 PM
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I really don´t know if Earl Spencer was cruel to her or not, he probably wasn´t, I was just giving the book where it was written,
I realised that M and am grateful for the information. Back in the 60s, citing cruelty could mean mental cruelty as opposed to actually hitting the spouse, from shouting at her or demeaning her constantly. members of my family gained their divorces citing cruelty and there was never any suggestion of physical abuse.
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  #77  
Old 04-23-2009, 03:19 PM
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I realised that M and am grateful for the information. Back in the 60s, citing cruelty could mean mental cruelty as opposed to actually hitting the spouse, from shouting at her or demeaning her constantly. members of my family gained their divorces citing cruelty and there was never any suggestion of physical abuse.
I think "a humiliating dinner party" were softer words to describe the marital situation. Brown's book contests that the accusation of battery is "still a source of debate." Brown's own view is that Johnny was a "bully, not a batterer." (Someone know any other sources on this?):
"Johnnie’s conduct, as observed by others, suggests rather the kind of table-banging outbursts and small social cruelties practices by limited men who fear the spirited intelligence of their wives. Lady Sarah Spencer-Churchill remembers a dinner party at Park House at which Johnnie was so offensive toward Frances she was ‘outraged and humiliated [and] she stormed off she’d had enough.’"


I also have to correct my earlier statement about the Spencer and the Shand Kydd divorces. It was Janet Shand Kydd who first filed for divorce from Peter citing adultry and naming Frances as the third party. Then Frances from Johnnie although the Spencers were already separated.
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Old 04-23-2009, 03:24 PM
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I think "a humiliating dinner party" were softer words to describe the marital situation. Brown's book contests that the accusation of battery is "still a source of debate." Brown's own view is that Johnny was a "bully, not a batterer." (Someone know any other sources on this?): "Johnnie’s conduct, as observed by others, suggests rather the kind of table-banging outbursts and small social cruelties practices by limited men who fear the spirited intelligence of their wives. Lady Sarah Spencer-Churchill remembers a dinner party at Park House at which Johnnie was so offensive toward Frances she was ‘outraged and humiliated [and] she stormed off she’d had enough.’"
I also have to correct my earlier statement about the Spencer and the Shand Kydd divorces. It was Janet Shand Kydd who first filed for divorce from Peter citing adultry and naming Frances as the third party. Then Frances from Johnnie although the Spencers were already separated.
Empress do you remember where you read that?

And for the life of me (cause I can't recall the source) I could have sworn that supposedly Johnnie had been having an extra marital affair with a friend of Frances? Does anyone recall hearing this. It could be I am mixing up bad marriage stories.
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Old 04-23-2009, 04:27 PM
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I read in several books that Johnny Spencer was physically abusive to Frances. That would certainly have some bearing on her wanting a divorce. One would also think that it would have some bearing on the mental state of the children, especially as they were remanded by the court to their father's custody.
I have read those accusations too, but what I think is more likely is that Johnny Spencer preferred to be dominated by women. Frances, her mother Lady Fermoy, later on Raine. I don't doubt that he was physically intimidating especially when he was angry, and the Spencers were all known for volatile, loud temperaments.
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Old 04-23-2009, 05:13 PM
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Empress do you remember where you read that?

And for the life of me (cause I can't recall the source) I could have sworn that supposedly Johnnie had been having an extra marital affair with a friend of Frances? Does anyone recall hearing this. It could be I am mixing up bad marriage stories.
Tina Brown's The Diana Chronicles
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