The relationship between Lady Kitty Spencer and her father Earl Charles Spencer has ‘cooled and become distant’ since he married third wife Karen, a source has claimed.
Princess Diana’s niece, 30, wed retail millionaire Michael Lewis, 62, at a 17th century Italian castle on Saturday, in a stunning lace gown by Dolce & Gabbana, for whom she is a brand ambassador.
But her father, 57 – five years Michael’s junior – was notably absent from the wedding, with Kitty walked down the aisle by her brother Louis Spencer, Viscount Althorp, 27, and half brother Samuel Aitken, whose father is businessman Jonathan Aitken.
A source told MailOnline: ‘Kitty and Charles were very close when she was growing up, but their relationship has cooled and been more distant since his marriage to his third wife Karen in 2011.
‘Charles recently suffered an injury and perhaps that will be the reason for him not travelling, but it is just easier for everyone that he is not there.’
Princess Diana’s brother’s eldest daughter, 30, wed retail millionaire Michael Lewis, 62, at a 17th century Italian castle on Saturday. Her brothers Louis Spencer, Viscount Althorp and Samuel Aitken walked her down the aisle
Lady Kitty’s father Earl Charles Spencer, 57 – five years Michael’s junior – was notably absent from the wedding (pictured on July 1 with Prince Harry at the unveiling of the new Princess Diana statue in London)
On Friday – when the wedding rehearsal took place – Earl Spencer posted a picture of the moon over the family’s ancestral home, Althorp in Northamptonshire, on social media.
He has been battling a painful shoulder injury, which he revealed last month was affecting his freedom of movement. However he did attend the unveiling of the new Princess Diana statue in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace on what would have been his sister’s 60th birthday.
The insider told MailOnline that his physical condition is unlikely to be the reason he was absent from his daughter’s extravagant nuptials.
‘The four children are all close to their mother Victoria and get on well with their step siblings, and their Spencer aunts and have forged their own relationships with one another without needing Charles to bind them together,’ they went on.
On Friday – when the wedding rehearsal took place – Earl Spencer posted a picture of the moon over the family’s ancestral home, Althorp in Northamptonshire
A source told Mail Online: ‘Kitty and Charles were very close when she was growing up, but their relationship has cooled and been more distant since his marriage to his third wife Karen in 2011.’ Pictured: Charles and Karenin 2018 at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding
The source added that Kitty has become increasingly financially independent from her father, having built a successful career modelling and working as a brand ambassador for luxury names like Dolce & Gabbana.
Lady Kitty previously said her father was ‘strict’ about the money he gave his children while growing up, keen to teach them ‘the value of money’.
Lady Kitty’s mother is British former fashion model Victoria Aitken (nee Lockwood), 55, who was married to Charles from 1989 until 1997.
The couple, said to have had a fiery marriage during which Charles reportedly cheated with 12 women while his wife was in rehab, moved to Cape Town, South Africa, where Kitty and her siblings Lady Eliza, Lady Amelia and Louis were brought up away from the glare of public attention.
Princess Diana’s death occurred while their divorce case was in progress; shortly after their split was finalised, Earl Spencer moved back to the UK.
In December 2001, he married Caroline Freud (née Hutton), the ex-wife of the publicist Matthew Freud. They had two children – the Honorable Edmund Spencer and Lady Lara Spencer.
Earl Spencer and his daughter Kitty are pictured leaving his divorce hearing from Caroline Spencer in central London in 2009
But in 2006, when Lara was four months old, Charles left Caroline for American reporter Coleen Sullivan, who had been sent by a television station to interview him. Their relationship lasted just 18 months.
In February 2010, after turning 18, Kitty told The Mail on Sunday her father was ‘hands-on’ while growing up and despite travelling regularly between the UK and South Africa, he was only ever a ‘phone call away’.
She also said she was ‘proud’ of her father for his stirring speech at Westminster Abbey at his sister’s funeral, during which he attacked the media and the royal family.
Speaking about her parents’ divorce, Kitty said they were on good terms and ‘can chat about issues concerning us four children and they respect each other’.
‘That’s all you can ask really,’ she added. ‘They’ve always made an effort to be polite to each other in front of us no matter what’s been going on. Now they’ve reached the point where it was all 15 years ago. I think time has made things better.’
Lady Kitty wore a stunning lace gown by Dolce & Gabbana, for whom she is a brand ambassador
Kitty was by her father’s side during his divorce from Caroline, meeting him for lunch after he attended court in London. She was quoted at the time as saying her stepmother was an ‘awful woman’ but when quizzed about this, she replied: ‘I don’t know when I said that. I would never say that to anyone, especially not to someone who was going to write about it.’
In June 2011, after less than a year of dating and months following his sudden break-up from Lady Bianca Eliot, Charles married Karen Gordon (née Villeneuve), a Canadian philanthropist and founder and chief executive of Whole Child International, a charity based in Los Angeles that works to improve the lot of orphaned, abandoned, or abused children.
The couple held a private civil ceremony at Althorp followed by a blessing, attended by only close friends and family. His nephews Princes William and Harry did not attend.
They have one child together, Lady Charlotte Diana Spencer, named in honour of her aunt, Diana, Princess of Wales.
At their wedding Michael and Kitty were joined by her sisters, twins Eliza and Amelia, as well as half-sister Lady Lara and Jonah Freud – Kitty’s former stepmother Caroline’s son whom she shares with Matthew.
Also present were Michael’s three adult children from a previous marriage. Lady Kitty is understood to have formed strong relationships with her husband’s children.
After the ceremony, the two could be seen toasting to their marriage while surrounded by their closest friends and family on the balcony of the villa.
Michael opted for a smart white tuxedo and, later, Prince William and Harry’s younger cousin changed into a second gown, with short sleeves, pink floral detailing and a flowing hemline.