Fall of Spencer?

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In the wake of Charles Spencer's ugly divorce hearing in South Africa his estranged wife, Victoria Lockwood, is accusing Princess Diana's brother of committing adultery with 12 women during the course of their 8-year marriage London's Sunday Times has branded Spencer "one of the most reviled men in Britain."

The latest developments in the downfall:

  • Spencer's former mistress, Chantal Collopy, describing the earl's cruel behavior ("There is just something that he does that makes you feel worthless"), says he backed out of their budding relationship just before her divorce became official. "(Spencer) had said to me, 'Will you promise to marry me?'" Collopy told Britain's Sky News. "He said that a few times." She said her marriage ended after her husband taped her telephone calls and heard her say "I love you" to Spencer. Just before the divorce, however, Spencer had "a panic attack" and told her he couldn't offer her a future. Collopy is testifying on Lockwood's behalf.

  • British tabloids are reporting that Spencer barred his wife from Diana's funeral and refused to pay her airfare.

  • Spencer says he is impoverished from inheritance taxes and the cost of visitors to the family estate in Althorp. Many view his claim as an excuse not to give Lockwood a divorce settlement.

  • "Will somebody pinch me?" writes Evening Standard columnist Allison Pearson. "Is this the same man who, at his sister's funeral just three months ago, lectured the Windsors on the loving conduct of family life? The same earl who implied that the souls of Princes William and Harry would be safer in the embrace of the Spencers?"