Twenty-five years ago I wrote Princess In Love, about Princess Diana's five-year affair with James Hewitt.
The question that is still being asked to me is: & # 39; Are you sorry you wrote it? & # 39; I do not regret writing the truth of a relationship that played an important role in royal history – Hewitt was a crucial ballast for Princess Diana when she was most unstable with her – and I am proud today that everything I said in the book about Diana (and Charles's early relationship with Camilla) was repeated on the moving 20-year anniversary of her tragic death.
But every statement that I feel is hollow, because it has cost me decades to rehabilitate myself.
Being undefined by writing Princess In Love, and restoring the crucifixion of the press, was much more complicated than my naive 26-year-old could have imagined.
I now realize that I am sorry. I regret the toll the book has received for my family and my reputation, and I certainly regret any pain caused to the royal family, especially William and Harry. That was never my intention.
James Hewitt received a polo trophy from Princess Diana in 1989. The couple first met in the summer of 1986 during a drink in London
I met James Hewitt at a dinner party when I wrote an article about the Daily Express in the fall of 1993.
I sat next to Hewitt, who I knew was in the inner circle of Princess Diana and was in the army. He was a charming, striptease-bearing Sloane Ranger. Nice and shocking.
Shortly thereafter, it was announced that Tory MP David Faber divorced his wife in the weather girl, Sally. She had an affair with Hewitt, who quoted David in the divorce proceedings.
I cycled a letter to Hewitt through Sally in her TV studio and asked for an interview. I did not expect to hear from him.
In a whim of fate, I bumped into Hewitt in South Kensington the next morning. I was surprised when he patted his breast pocket to indicate that he had my letter. He told me he couldn't say anything then but would call me in January. I was surprised when he contacted me that new year, as I had not expected.
During a dinner at a Kensington restaurant, he explained that he had been fired from the army because rumors about his close correspondence with Diana during the Gulf War had leaked into gossip columns. The army took a faint look at their & # 39; friendship & # 39 ;.
I am convinced that Hewitt, who spent 17 years in the Household Cavalry and had been a tank commander hero in the Gulf War, would never have spoken to a newspaper if he had not been asked to leave the armed forces.
His heroism saved many lives when he refused to change the weapons of his tank squadron to what turned out to be an allied field hospital.
Princess Diana laughs when she is depicted with a giggling James Hewitt. Hewitt was regularly bundled in car boots and driven to Kensington Palace when their affair followed, claims Anna Pasternak
That night Hewitt was bitter and in shock. He could not imagine what his future would be without the structure and companionship of regimental life. He was also concerned about his financial future.
I was amazed when he asked me if he could do a paid interview about his friendship with Diana, whom he had met in the summer of 1986 during a drink in London.
Of course the newspaper was delighted and sent me to Devon, where Hewitt lived in a lovely little house with his wonderful mother Shirley.
At the time I interviewed him, mostly in local pubs, I made it clear that when my notebook was closed, everything he said was unknown.
Hewitt opened me and said that Diana was destroyed when she discovered that Charles was still in love with Camilla.
Charles and Diana had alternative weekends in Highgrove; one weekend would be for Charles and Camilla and their friends, and the next for Diana and her coterie.
Diana was furious that Camilla would move the furniture in the salon to prove that she was the real chatelaine.
Hewitt was regularly bundled in car boots and driven to Kensington Palace when their affair followed. He told me he was terrified the first night he stayed at Kensington Palace, relieved that Charles and Diana at least had separate bedrooms. Apparently she had 30 stuffed animals from childhood at the end of her bed.
I was surprised that Hewitt was a fan of Prince Charles, with whom he played polo. Like the tradition in aristocratic circles, Charles knew their case and welcomed it because it distracted Diana and put pressure on him and Camilla.
Camilla & # 39; s husband, Andrew Parker Bowles, knew Charles and Camilla & # 39; s relationship as well.
Hewitt confided in him that he supported Diana through her & # 39; unbridled bulimia & # 39 ;, a disease he had never heard of, let alone understood. She told him it had started the day before her wedding because of the stress and nerves.
In the turbulence of Diana's deep accident, in which she gave in to self-mutilation and violent mood swings, Hewitt was her mainstay.
During the entire time she was with Hewitt, Diana checked her bulimia. I listened with astonishment to the story. Although Andrew Morton's book, Diana: Her True Story, was published in 1992, no one knew the full collaboration between Diana and her friends with Morton.
The public did not believe that the royal wedding was this break. When Hewitt asked me if I wanted to read all the letters from Diana to him, I refused. Ironically, it seemed too voyeuristic.
What kind of journalist was I? It is clearly not a hilarious tabloid hack as I would discover for my prize, it is painfully missing in the & # 39; skin of rhino hide & # 39; Morton told me later was essential to survive this game.
No word Hewitt entrusted me off the record made in my tepid series in the Daily Express.
Instead, I wrote how much Diana loved stealing to the Devon cottage in Hewitts to do the dishes with Shirley. I described Hewitt's boarding room with his two wooden single beds, where Diana was staying, while her guards were sleeping in the guest room.
It seemed like an ironic arrangement, with the princess swapping her palace boudoir to sleep in a modest room with two beds, full of military memorabilia. Yet Diana, completely unpretentious, enjoyed the simplicity.
In one excerpt I explained Hewitt's emphatic appeal to the princess: & Occasionally, Hewitt becomes the image of Prince Charles at his greatest. He is holding his hands tightly behind his back. When he chews a question, he grins. At the bar he stands upright, with one hand in his pockets, nervous twiddling with his piece of a signet ring. & # 39; Hardly controversy.
Major James Hewitt in uniform. He explained to the writer that he had been fired from the army because rumors about his close correspondence with Diana during the Gulf War had leaked into gossip columns
Diana was in constant contact with Hewitt during this time. Their affair ended after his return from the Gulf in 1991, which had hurt Hewitt.
He felt rejected by Diana and admitted that she had used her, but remained her friend. Diana wanted to continue and that meant a new, faster, more glamorous set for her: media gifts and flashy socialites who saw Hewitt as pedestrians instead of internationally.
Diana transformed from Sloane Princess to Hollywood star. Hewitt would be discredited by talking to the press, but it still reminds me that it was Diana who first proposed to talk about their & # 39; friendship & # 39; to speak in an attempt to hide rumors of an affair. He went skiing in Meribel when my articles came out. Diana called him there and said: & # 39; Thank you for talking, as you know I can't. At least people will know the truth. & # 39;
Of course I did not know how to become a manipulative Diana in order to survive. She was obsessed with the world and knew how much she had been treated by the royal family, hence her first collaboration with Andrew Morton.
In June 1994, 25 years ago, on this day, when Prince Charles admitted in his television interview with Jonathan Dimbleby that his marriage & # 39; had irrevocably failed & # 39 ;, Hewitt called me during the commercial break.
With his chic, choked vowels, I thought for a millisecond that Prince Charles was on the line. He told me that Diana was worried that the second book by Andrew Morton, which came out of that fall, with which she had not collaborated, would reveal their affair in unclear terms.
She was worried and wanted control. She was convinced that if their affair was presented in a book as a true love story, the world would not condemn the couple, but would understand why they came together as they did.
So it was decided that I would write a book. I only had five weeks to write it and it was published on October 3, 1994, before Morton's second offer.
Because I had not taken notes during our meetings in Devon, because the affair was not known, Hewitt suggested that I finally read their correspondence from the Gulf War.
While I was being written in a cottage in Oxfordshire, my mother went to the Kensington Hilton hotel at Hewitt's request to collect the 64 letters, all air mail & # 39; blueys & # 39; (thin blue letter paper sent free of charge to service personnel abroad), which he handed over to her in a plastic bag from Sainsbury.
I sat on Diana's arm all night long; each letter was signed & # 39; Julia & # 39 ;. It was a surreal experience. They include different styles, from flowing Sloane and & # 39; whoopee-cushion & # 39; humor to the raw pain of therapy.
She laughed about sending Joke Valentine cards to Prince William in Eton (her love for her sons shone through all the letters) and endlessly thanked Hewitt for her & # 39; angry & # 39; when they spoke on the phone.
These bat-doux, which formed the basis of my book, were loving and sentimental. They showed Diana at the height of her affair, grateful for Hewitt & # 39; s compassion. It was painful to read how needy and sad Diana was. How she yearned for recognition of Prince Charles and the palace for her charity work, only to be rejected by both. All she felt was the power of their jealousy about her popularity, while her anger about Charles & # 39; s feelings for Camilla blew the page. She was injured that the queen liked Camilla. I was moved that Diana regularly visited Shirley Hewitt in Devon at the time, often also with Prince Harry, because he liked playing at the stable park.
Major James Hewitt at the Royal Berkshire Polo Club Major James Hewitt At The Royal Berkshire Polo Club in 1991
It is clear that, regardless of Hollitt & # 39; s follies since and his constant messy attempts to live off his relationship with the princess, he and his family were only her support.
Diana often wrote to him twice a day. No everyday detail, including the color of her nail polish, was overlooked.
The most sincere letter was: & # 39; I have & # 39; lying awake at night, you desperately love and thank God that you have brought you into my life – my beloved, you are the most magical and special person I have ever met, and how incredibly lucky I am to be loved by you . & # 39;
I never officially met Diana, but another fateful encounter took place the day I brought the manuscript to the publishers, which made me uneasy.
I knew that Diana knew about me and that I was writing the book. A friend, Petronella Wyatt, advised me to go to Daniel Galvin hairdressers to have my hair done. The book completed, I welcomed a treat.
As I sat back in the sink and had my hair washed, I saw the shiny red nails that grabbed a Hermès Kelly bag close to my side. With a shock, I realized it was Diana. The manuscript was literally in a bag at my feet.
I assumed the princess would be escorted to a private room to blow-dry her, but we were taken to the same mirror room. She clearly recognized me and stared at me through the mirrors and I am ashamed to admit that I was looking away.
Charles (in red) and Hewitt played polo in 1991. Anna said: & I was surprised that Hewitt was a fan of Prince Charles & # 39; s with whom he played polo. Like the tradition in aristocratic circles, Charles knew about and welcomed their affair because it distracted Diana, took pressure from him and Camilla.
It felt like she wanted to get my mate. I always assumed that this was destiny rather than designed, but I was never sure.
Diana said loudly to her hairdresser where she was going to eat that night – Harvey Nichols Fifth Floor with her friend Catherine Soames. I wondered if it was a test to see if I would give the paparazzi. When I called James about it that night, he already knew about our meeting. She had called him that afternoon.
The moment the book arrived in the store, Diana stepped away from herself. She knew the author, title and publication date, but never tried to ban an order.
I had wrongly decided not to serialize the newspaper, so a journalist recorded it live on breakfast TV and played it like Mills & Boon in style.
James Hewitt James Hewitt at home in Bratton Clovelly, Devon, Great Britain – 1996
With just a few weeks to write 85,000 words, I used too many gushing adjectives and kept my & # 39; love story & # 39; assignment.
The press, and royal hacks, furious that I & # 39; the scoop of the decade & # 39; had landed me.
I was wrongly accused of having a relationship with Hewitt when I only made friends with him. I was in freefall.
My friends dropped me off, my mother's friends wrote her vitriolic letters, while my academic father in Oxford remained stunned.
Despite the fact that the book sold 12,000 copies per hour at Heathrow and sold 500,000 copies worldwide, hundreds of thousands of pounds, I was truly suicide for 24 hours.
If it had not been for the love and support of my mother, the goodness would know how I would have recruited. Hewitt felt the same. & # 39; I would have died for Diana, & # 39; he told me when the fury was intensified, & # 39; but instead I died a million times in. & # 39;
People rightly said: & # 39; But you were a journalist. You must have known this was going to happen? "I was young; naive to madness. I never thought of that level of anti-aircraft guns that I couldn't get rid of. Shame was pain to me.
A year later, Diana announced the affair at Panorama and Hewitt admitted: & # 39; Yes, I love him. But I was very disappointed. & # 39; Hewitt then told me how he felt.
& # 39; After her first press to speak, the story of our relationship tried to control, Diana left me very alone to deal with it. It was extremely difficult to know that government officials, the royal family, MI5 and certain members of the press were aware of the matter. & # 39; The deception, he explained, had hit him hard.
Hewitt with writer Anna, pictured left and Anna & # 39; s book Princess in Love, pictured right. Anna said she was unprepared for the consequences of her 1994 book
A quarter of a century later I look back and feel sad about all this. I certainly felt manipulated and used by Diana, for whom I have so much sympathy.
The affair has undoubtedly ruined Hewitt's life; how could he settle down with a land mouse after the glamor of Diana with a high octane content? I have been talking to him for over 20 years, but it is clear that he has not found his purpose since.
Diana & # 39; s death proved that she was irreplaceable. Thanks to her sons, her electric character will never be forgotten. The biggest change at sea for me that I never thought I would write is that I can now see that Camilla is the perfect partner for Prince Charles.
She understands and calms him and never tries to outdo him. Diana accused Camilla – & # 39; the Rottweiler & # 39; – before the demise of her marriage, but after researching royal history for a book about Wallis Simpson in the last two years, I can see that, like his great-uncle, the Duke of Windsor, it was Charles who decided he would not be without Camilla could live, not the other way around.
It is very difficult to refuse a tenacious Prince of Wales. Charles declared Camilla & # 39; non-negotiable & # 39; and I believe that this Prince of Wales will become a better king with his & # 39; darling Camilla & # 39; by his side.
In Princess In Love I told the truth about Diana; an innocent who married in the monarchy, with open eyes with love for her prince, only to defy a baptism of fire as to the reality of what this meant. It was no less devastating, but chronic.
Untitled: The Real Wallis Simpson, Duchess Of Windsor by Anna Pasternak is published by William Collins, £ 20.
Consider the royal fight: Like a powerful one cocktail from jealousy, rivalry and ambition stewed in the royal household, the loyalties of friends family and the staff tested – like this one sharp hearted frank reveal testimonials
Tensions arose early when Charles – initially bewildered by & # 39; Di-mania & # 39; but was satisfied with the public success of his wife – it soon became jealous that he was at best in favor of royal walkabouts when crowds moaned when they realized they were on his side of the street and not Diana.
Used to be the center of attention, he could not compete with the influence of Diana's fame. Nor could others in the royal family understand this new phenomenon.
Philip and Princess Margaret would be furious when Diana introduced the queen to the official opening of the parliament by appearing with a new excited haircut.
Diana, meanwhile, now a global star feeling that was not appreciated, was determined to take advantage of her popularity and susceptible to theatricality.
As Charles became increasingly cruel and Diana tried to undermine him at every turn, their family and friends polarized in & # 39; his & # 39; and & # 39; her & # 39; camps – the Carlists versus Team Diana.
Diana cordially greets her boys aboard Britannia in Canada in 1991 was a well-published photo. But Charles & # 39; s tenderness was just as genuine
Petronella Wyatt author
& # 39; In 1987 I was in Badminton at the wedding of the then Marquis of Worcester, or & # 39; Bunter & as he is known, and the socialist actress Tracy Ward (my mother was Bunter, the duchess of Beaufort). At that time I was about 17. There was a lot of gossip at the reception because the prince and princess of Wales would dance afterwards. Or at least be the prince; there was some uncertainty about Diana.
& # 39; The Beauforts and their friends were mainly Carlists, just like most people I knew who mingled with the royal couple. These include the Duke of Marlborough, John Bowes-Lyon and old Charles friends such as Nicholas Soames, Andrew Parker Bowles – the then husband of the Duchess of Cornwall – and the young Winston Churchill. Charles and Diana had been married for nearly six years by that time and their incompatibility had become a legend in society. Most of my circle blamed Diana. She was labeled insane, manipulative and hypocritical.
& # 39; At the wedding there was much talk about how she annoyed the wife of a banker friend, who was also present, by her blatant hunt for her husband. & # 39; Sunny & # 39; (the duke of) Marlborough told me that Diana had had much more business than Charles.
& # 39; The wisdom received was that Charles entered the marriage with reservations, but that he intended to do well. I was convinced that at the time of their marriage the prince was not involved in a sexual relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, who was very loved by everyone, including myself, and was certainly not a professional demolition. Diana nevertheless had her supporters. The wife of a well-known business magnifico said the royal family had treated her terribly: "She is a star, their only star, and they have all thrown it away."
A walk on their first official visit to Wales in 1981. Diana is wearing a Caroline Charles tweed coat and a John Boyd hat
& # 39; If Charles and Diana had different personalities, the marriage might have been a success, but as the Queen Mother told my father, the deceased Lord (Woodrow) Wyatt, it was & # 39; a terrible mistake & # 39 ;. The Queen Mother was fond of Charles. She once described him as "very sensitive". But he was spoiled and used to getting his way. He needed careful management, unconditional love and someone to entertain him with in an almost motherly way. Very few people could have done it.
& # 39; Diana was not only that person, but was even more sensitive than him (not surprising, given her childhood and inexperience) and also fleeting and histrionic. Her performances could have drawn tears from Caligula & # 39; s eyes. I heard that on the rare occasions that she went to Highgrove, there were always scenes for the guests. She made scenes in which she was the unjust heroine. She cried and sent out dark threats, such as a blonde Medea. Winston Churchill told me she was obsessively jealous and suspicious of everyone. She listened to keyholes (a guest once opened the door and Diana literally fell into the room), fired up Karel & # 39; s letters, shouted him for no reason, and had tantrums with staff.
& # 39; Remember that this was another generation who believed in discretion and the stiff upper lip. Nobody spoke about depression or mental illness, at least not in an open or constructive way. Charles, who was emotionally famished by his own mother, was not equipped to meet the needs of a young woman suffering from a severe form of depression and an eating disorder. Sunny Marlborough told me that Charles was "appalled" about her behavior. On one occasion she had cut open all his ties and stabbed herself with scissors. He didn't hate her for it, but he ran out. At one point, she even put on wigs as a disguise and followed him. People thought she had brought him back to Camilla. & # 39;
Charles Rae Former royal correspondent
& # 39; Charles and Diana were in Canada in October 1991, where William and Harry would meet their mother and father aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, moored in a dock in Toronto. By that time, the fairy tale of the royal marriage, which was fortunately already crumbling behind the scenes. Every look, every action of one of them spoke volumes.
Apparently tense appearance is shared in 1990 by Princess Diana and the Prince of Wales in Cameroon, West Africa
& # 39; After the royal couple completed the day's regal duties, they returned to Britannia for a reunion with William and Harry, who had flown outside. William and Harry were on the deck with a babysitter when the prince and princess entered the gangway. Diana was the first, and she shook hands with the captain before she shot across the deck like a sprinter on her way to a gold medal with outstretched arms and a big smile on her face. It ended with her both boys completely wrapped in huge hugs and kisses (see left). Apart from the & # 39; oohs and aahs & # 39; from the crowd on the quay, the only other sound you could hear was the motorcycle rides from the cameras of the photographers who recorded every nanosecond.
& # 39; Meanwhile, it was polite that Charles shook hands with what looked like practically the entire crew and when he arrived to kiss and hug his boys, his late appearance was interpreted as cold and stand-offish. I don't think Diana planned her publicity grab, she was really a dedicated mother who enthusiastically welcomed her boys. But the result the next day was stories and photos all over the world that clearly showed that the prince had been misled and Diana had scored with the media – again! Charles was and is just like & # 39; n dedicated parent like Diana. The media slaughtered poor Charles because he did not show his true feelings publicly. & # 39;
Penny Junor Journalist and biographer
& # 39; During a royal tour in Wales in 1981, people on both sides of the street were locked in and the couple took one side each. When people realized that they would meet Charles instead of Diana, they moaned. It was embarrassing to see. He found himself apologizing for not having enough women to go around and taking flowers from disappointed people who had brought them for Diana. He made the light and was clearly happy that there was so much enthusiasm for his wife, but he was after all the Prince of Wales and after a few days playing the second violin, you could see that the novelty started to wear off. & # 39;
Dr. James Colthurst Diana & # 39; s confidant and old friend
& # 39; I remember the first speech I wrote for her. We have lunch and she threw a speech on Aids over the table, assuming it was vague medical and maybe I can help. It was written by Aids charity and I thought it was boring, so she said, "Okay, then do it."
Diana with Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother in 1981. Ingrid Seward, author and editor-in-chief of the magazine Majesty, said: & I asked Diana if the Queen Mother had really been manipulative in her marriage. She said the Queen Mother was a tough lady and really manipulative and not nearly as nice as she seemed
'Dus heb ik er samen een geplaveid en haar privésecretaris Patrick Jephson slaagde erin, maar ze had niet verwacht dat het volledig zou verschijnen, gereproduceerd op de voorpagina van twee kranten. Maar was het een goede ontvangst? Heck, echt niet! Charles had wat mensen om zich heen die besloten dat dit concurrentie was en dat ze het in de nek kreeg toen ze het goed deed. Het was een schande. & # 39;
Simone Simmons heler
'Diana had een goede relatie met haar zus Sarah, en was erg gul naar haar toe. De andere zus Jane hield haar afstand omdat ze aan de andere kant werkte en Diana als altijd verkeerd zag (Jane was getrouwd met de privésecretaris van de koningin, Sir Robert Fellowes). Hun houding was, Charles heeft affaires, dus grit je tanden en verdraag het, hij is de prins. & # 39;
Lord Wyatt De overleden auteur en voorzitter van de Tote in zijn tijdschriften, 1990
'Lunch met prinses Michael van Kent, ze had vanmorgen in de column van Jean Rook in de Express de opmerking opgemerkt dat prinses Diana heel gelukkig en seksueel vervuld moest zijn, anders zou haar gezicht er niet zo uitzien alsof ze verliefd was. Jean Rook zei dat dit bewees dat de Prins van Wales en zij een zeer gelukkig huwelijk en een bevredigend seksleven moeten hebben. We hebben allebei gelachen omdat ze natuurlijk helemaal geen seks hebben en er is een andere man bij betrokken. Marie Christine zei dat zij degene was die ze had bezocht toen ze om zes uur 's morgens in Kensington Palace aankwam terwijl ze betrapt werd op snel rijden. Ze zei dat het vreselijk voor Diana moest zijn om zo'n vreselijk leven te leiden met de grimmige en sombere Charles. & # 39;
Ken Wharfe Voormalig bodyguard
'Ik heb nooit echt geloofd dat ze zelfmoord had gepleegd. De boulimia, het naar beneden gooien van de trap waren allemaal aandachtzoekers. Er was een periode in haar leven voordat ik aankwam, toen er de suggestie van boulimie was, maar die zich in een mild stadium bevond. Het leek me dat het allemaal deel was van het zoeken naar aandacht. Ze was te intelligent om door te gaan en door te gaan met deze zogenaamde pogingen. Ze was niet mentaal onstabiel, ze was ernstig ongelukkig. Ze zei dat ze met de 'topdame' had gesproken – de koningin – die zei: 'Ik kan je niet helpen. Je moet met mijn zoon praten. 'Diana zei:' Dat is het probleem. Ik kan het niet. "& # 39;
Michael Cole Voormalig BBC-koninklijk correspondent, voormalig directeur van Harrods
'Soms hoefde Prinses Diana niet de diepte van haar leed te signaleren toen ze vastgehouden werd in een liefdeloos liefdeloos huwelijk. Tijdens een bezoek aan Normandië in 1987 werden de prins en prinses van Wales het Bayeux Tapestry getoond door zijn curator. “He’s telling us the tapestry is 231ft long,” snapped Prince Charles at his wife. “But you’re not interested in that, are you?” It is true that Diana did seem uninterested, perhaps distracted, but her most revealing look was one of hurt, that her husband should call her out for inattention in front of strangers. That, and a hint of her contempt for him for doing so.’
The look of love: There had clearly been love at a pheasant shoot at Althorp in July 1981 as Diana dreamily stared at the prince
Winston Churchill The late former Conservative MP
‘Diana had, amazingly, been able to put herself over as “one of us” in terms of ordinary people – “one of us” going every day to the hairdresser, every other day for a massage, for this or that kind of therapy. She couldn’t have been more different from “one of us”, but she managed to put this over, aided by her incredible beauty and also by her very keen sense of self-promotion. She was an absolute mistress of the art of manipulating the media.’
Philip Ziegler Former diplomat and author
‘They had set aside a weekend at Balmoral for talking over all the problems. She never came down for lunch, she never came to any meals. And when she did appear, she would run around wearing her wretched boobybag (bumbag), with her earphones on, and nobody had a word with her for the entire weekend. Yes, obviously, it could have been handled better if they had realised early enough what they had got on their hands – that there was great potential for danger. But it would have been jolly difficult: she was not an easy girl to be married to, and to get on with.
‘The Queen is alleged to have said on one occasion, “My mother’s a star; my daughter-in-law’s a star. Where does that leave me?” I don’t believe it was a major factor in her behaviour, but she would have been superhuman if she did not have a certain amount of irritation – especially if she really thought of her son as being miserably unhappy.’
Sir Bernard Ingham Former chief press secretary to Margaret Thatcher
‘I am not an admirer of Princess Diana. I’ve never been an admirer of her. I think she was a menace, frankly. She was a complex, self-indulgent, madwoman frequently; and I never got any thanks for saying so. It was only based on glamour. I’ve always asked the question, “What would have been the public’s attitude if she’d looked like the back of a bus?”’
Darren McGrady Personal chef
‘Charles liked Diana’s dirty sense of humour. That told me there was still some spark of affection between them, I’m sure.’
Petronella Wyatt Writer
‘The Queen Mother (who was said to have set Charles up with Diana, the granddaughter of her lady-in-waiting Lady Fermoy) used to come to dinner at my parents’ house in London regularly. She didn’t like to speak of personal matters but her desperation over the Charles and Diana situation had unnerved her. Charles was her darling. “I love him so much,” she would say. He was the son she never had. Naturally she felt responsible when both Charles and Diana became wretched antagonists. “My grandson is so desperately sad,” she confided, with her blue eyes almost welling up.
‘No one hated Diana, except perhaps Princess Margaret. She wasn’t a bit upset when Diana died. Her behaviour at the funeral was extraordinary. I heard from an unimpeachable source that as she and the Queen waited for the gun carriage, she was badgering the Queen about improving the lavatories at Kensington Palace.’
Ingrid Seward Author and editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine
‘I asked Diana if the Queen Mother had been really manipulative in her marriage. She said the Queen Mother was a tough lady and really manipulative and not nearly as nice as she appeared to be. But she was emphatic that the idea that the Queen Mother and Diana’s grandmother Lady Fermoy organised the marriage was simply not true. Diana said, “It was Charles and I that decided the marriage.” She said she stayed at Clarence House with the Queen Mother and everyone said, “Oh, the Queen Mother will look after you and teach you everything,” but she said the Queen Mother taught her nothing.’
Princess Diana appeared wrapped up in her thoughts when on a solitary walk in 1990 at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk
Michael Cole Former BBC royal correspondent, former director of Harrods
‘Taking her sons on their first bucket-and-spade holiday to Mallorca in August 1986 as guests of the King and Queen of Spain, the princess was anxious that it would be a success. She had kitted her husband out with a new wardrobe of suitable casual wear and, for possibly the first and only time in his life, Prince Charles looked fashionable. He also looked relaxed. But not so the princess. She looked strained. It was only later that it emerged that lothario King Juan Carlos had made at least two determined but unsuccessful attempts to seduce her. If her husband had noticed, he didn’t show it; or perhaps didn’t care if he did.’
Lord Wyatt The late author in his journals, 1988
‘John Bowes-Lyon (the Queen Mother’s nephew) says Charles is currently at Balmoral with his girlfriend. Charles Benson (racing tipster and socialite) says Princess Diana had an affair with the King of Spain. I suppose Diana faces a life of boredom with her husband now that the sex has worn out and she will look for consolation elsewhere. Maybe that won’t matter. It seems she is already doing it.’
Ken Wharfe Former bodyguard
‘The first overseas trip I did was in 1988 when Charles and Diana went to Mallorca to stay with the King and Queen of Spain at the Marivent Palace. There wasn’t enough room for me in the palace and I was staying in a hotel. On the second day, once the prince had gone off on the king’s yacht Fortuna, my phone rang. Diana had stayed behind with the queen and she said, “Can you come up and see me?” So I did and there was Diana waiting at the gate in an orange bikini. She said, “Come and have a tea at the swimming pool.” The Queen of Spain was there and we were introduced. She disappeared and then Diana said, “I thought you ought to know a bit more about me as it will probably make your life a bit easier.” I didn’t know what she was going to say. She asked, “Do you know about Camilla?” I said I did. She replied, “I thought you would.” Then she asked, “Do you know about James Hewitt?” and I said I did. She said, “I just want you to know that Camilla has always been a problem for me. The relationship has been ongoing ever since I married him in 1981.” Then she said she and the prince hadn’t slept together for years. She was embarrassed. For anyone to have to say that to someone outside of her circle must have been difficult.’
Michael Cole Former BBC royal correspondent, former director of Harrods
‘A press conference was called the morning after the ball at the White House in 1985, when Diana danced with John Travolta. Before it began, it was announced that Diana would not be speaking, only her husband, and reporters were forbidden to ask anything about the previous evening. I had managed a brief interview with Travolta back at his hotel and could not see the purpose of a press conference if Topic A was off the agenda. “Could the Prince of Wales tell us how the princess is finding her first visit to America?” I asked, defying what I considered to be a stupid ban, contrary to the First Amendment of the American Constitution guaranteeing freedom of speech. “And in particular how she enjoyed dancing with John Travolta last night?” The prince’s displeasure was evident. “Well,” he said, almost twisting his face in anger. “She would have to be an idiot not to have enjoyed dancing with John Travolta, wouldn’t she?” Precisely. So why hadn’t they let her say so in a perfectly normal way? That’s all we had wanted.’
King Juan Carlos entertains Charles, Diana and the boys in Mallorca in 1986. It later emerged that King Juan Carlos had made at least two determined but unsuccessful attempts to seduce Diana, according to former BBC royal correspondent, Michael Cole
Patrick Jephson Former private secretary
‘Charles and Diana were in Abu Dhabi in 1989. They were having coffee with their host but Diana was excluded from the conversation. Eventually Diana was asked what she would be doing on the visit and Charles said, “Shopping, darling?” The host was not trying to make Diana feel stupid or small. It was her husband. We were all embarrassed by it, as was the host. I took it as a deliberate attempt to undermine her confidence particularly at the start of a royal tour where, not unnaturally, she was feeling quite apprehensive.’
Sarah Bradford Also known as Viscountess Bangor, royal biographer
‘I don’t believe Diana dominated Prince Charles. A few years into their marriage Charles was already making no attempt to involve Diana in conversations as they had so little in common and at some point, probably 1983, Charles and Camilla began to get in touch again. But Diana was still desperately in love with him – even if she was a bit scared of him – and wanted to get everything right. At fittings with her couturier Jasper Conran, Diana would break down in tears saying, “Please make me look sexy for my husband.” She was so terrified of losing him to Camilla but, ironically, her tormented behaviour had only succeeded in turning him away from her.’
Penny Thornton Astrologer
‘I had no idea until she talked to me about what was going on with her and Charles how serious things were. She was in pieces. She was actually at the end of her rope, she was ready to walk. She told me she needed Charles’s support and she would go to see him and he’d be in his study and she’d be told by the personal secretary, “I’m sorry, you can’t see him now, you’ll have to make an appointment.” She was a fragile person as we know, needy and emotional, and she couldn’t even reach him.’
Ken Wharfe Former bodyguard
‘William and Harry were very much involved in everything that happened at Kensington Palace and Highgrove and this was sometimes frowned upon by the prince, who really couldn’t believe that the downstairs staff were part of their life. He was of the opinion that the chef’s place was the kitchen, the policemen in their room, the chauffeur in the garage. He believed they shouldn’t be part of the children’s everyday life. This was alien to Diana. Having met her late father, Earl Spencer, I know what he wanted was for everyone to be part of this big family. Prince Charles was too royal to want that to happen, but in the end I think he relented because it was a bit of a lost cause for him.’