Sensational and previously unseen tapes have revealed Princess Diana feared her close friend and protection officer was “bumped off”.
The shocking TV documentary, never seen on British TV, lays bare Diana’s disastrous marriage to Prince Charles .
In it she speaks candidly about his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles , her struggles within the Royal Family, her battle with bulimia and her love for late protection officer Barry Mannakee.
Viewers will see the sadness in Diana’s eyes as she speaks about her love for protection officer Mannakee who died in a motorbike crash in 1987 weeks after being sacked.
Diana believed he had been “bumped off”. While never using his name, she says: “When I was 24 or 25 I fell deeply in love with someone who worked in this environment.
“It was all found out and he was chucked out then was killed. That was the biggest blow of my life, I must say.”
She denies the relationship was ever sexual, insisting that Mannakee, who was 39 when he died, was more of a father figure.
She says: “I was happy to give all this up, to go off and live with him.
“It got so difficult. People got so jealous and bitchy in this house so eventually he had to go. Three weeks after he left he was killed in a motorbike accident. He was the greatest fun I’ve ever had. That was a real killer.”
The controversial tapes were shot by her speech coach in 1992 and 1993. They were aired in America in 1995 but deemed too “hot” to show here.
Now Channel 4 is to broadcast Diana: In Her Own Words to mark 20 years since her death aged 36.
The remarkable footage shows Diana revealing how she’d met Charles just 13 times before they married in 1981.
She shares intimate details of their courtship, telling how Charles was all over her “like a rash” at a party and “leapt” on her for a kiss.
And she recalls asking the Queen what she should do about Charles’ affair only to be told: “I don’t know.”
The videos were filmed by Peter Settelen at Kensington Palace after Diana hired him to help her present her own account of her life inside the Royal Family . She begins by recalling the start of her relationship with Charles.
Diana says: “Things started to get serious when I was 18 and a half. I was asked to stay with friends in Sussex and they said, ‘The Prince of Wales is staying.’
“He’d broken up with his girlfriend and his friend Mountbatten had just been killed. I said it would be nice to see him.”
She recoils when she describes Charles’ advances, saying: “He chatted me up like a bad rash. He was all over me.
“We were talking about Mountbatten and his girlfriend and I said, ‘You must be so lonely. You need someone beside you.’ Argh, wrong word.
“He leapt on me and started kissing me and I thought, ‘Urgh,’ He was all over me for the rest of the evening, following me around like a puppy. Yes, I was flattered but I was very puzzled.”
She says: “He’d ring me up every day for a week then wouldn’t speak to me for three weeks. Very odd. And I accepted that. I thought, ‘Fine, well he knows where I am when he wants me.’
“I was thrilled when he used to ring. It was immense and intense. It would drive the other three girls in my flat crazy.”
She also recalls her horror at a famously awkward moment during an interview on the day of their engagement, saying: “This ridiculous ITN man said, ‘Are you in love?’
“I thought, ‘What a thick question.’ So I said, ‘Yes, of course we are’ then Charles turned round and said, ‘Whatever love means.’ That threw me completely. I thought what a strange answer. It traumatized me.”
She also talks of Charles’ blatant affair with Camilla. “I remember saying to my husband, ‘Why is this lady around?’ He said, ‘I refuse to be the Prince of Wales that never had a mistress.’
“I went to the top lady. I was sobbing and I said, ‘What do I do? I’m coming to you, what do I do?’ She said, ‘I don’t know what you should do. Charles is hopeless and that’s it.’ That was help.”
“The princess goes on to describe how she felt shut out by the Royal Family during her battle with eating disorder bulimia.
She says: “Everybody knew about the bulimia in the family and they all blamed the failure of the marriage on the bulimia.
“That’s taken some time to get them to think differently. I said I was rejected. I didn’t think I was good enough for this family so I took it out on myself.
“I could have gone to alcohol, which would have been obvious. I could have been anorexic, which could have been even more obvious.
“I decided to do a more discreet thing which ultimately wasn’t discreet. I chose to hurt myself instead of hurting all of you.”
At a Press screening of the show Diana’s former private secretary Patrick Jephson claimed the palace orchestrated a campaign to discredit her and promote Camilla.
He said: “Camilla’s popularity was built by trying to portray Diana as inadequate, unsuitable and unworthy. So the alternative must be better.”
Ken Wharfe, another of Diana’s protection officers, agreed: “I recall the difficult times Diana had when she would say there were three people in that marriage.”