Spencers have no immediate plans to return to Britain

 

Earl and Countess Spencer are set to continue their South African exile after their divorce settlement - believed to be worth £2 million to her. The separated couple, who left England with their young family in 1995 to try to save their marriage, have no immediate plans to return to Britain, according to sources close to them.

The earl and countess have established comfortable, but separate, lifestyles less than one mile apart in the wealthy Cape Town suburb of Constantia after separating more than two years ago, and do not have any plans to move away.

The earl's spokeswoman, Ms Shelley-Anne Claircourt, said yesterday the earl planned to travel back to Britain occasionally to ensure preparations were running smoothly for the opening of the Althorp estate in Northamptonshire for people wanting to see the final resting place of his sister, Princess Diana.

His estate manager, Mr David Horton-Fawkes will oversee the project, which includes a memorial and museum to Princess Diana, expected to be opened in July.

A source close to Lady Spencer denied the suggestion that she would use her divorce settlement, believed to be £2 million, to set up home in Britain.

The pair have started new relationships, although the 33year-old earl's latest girlfriend and former model, Ms Josie Borain, insisted this week she had no intention of marrying him.

A Cape Town chemist, Mr Guy Woods (28), has already reportedly proposed to Lady Spencer.

The eight-year marriage is due to end in court number 17 of Cape Town's High Court today, following a hastily-arranged settlement to prevent further embarrassing revelations about their private lives.

The earl is likely to appear in court early today to give evidence in the witness box to outline why the marriage had broken down.

Today's hearing is expected to last only a few minutes. A statement issued jointly by the earl and countess said they "unreservedly withdraw all allegations made in relation to each other."

They said they hoped they could rebuild a friendly arrangement for the sake of their four children. They currently have joint custody and the arrangement is expected to continue.

Meanwhile, security has been stepped up around the grave of Princess Diana amid fears that intruders could break into the Althorp Estate, Earl Spencer's spokeswoman said today. A sophisticated security system was put in after two people tried to climb perimeter walls, said Ms Claircourt.