05 August 2017

Fresh Diana tapes reveal explosive claim Princess made about bodyguard she ‘fell in love with’ being ‘bumped off’ in motorbike crash

NEVER-before seen tapes reveal Princess Diana feared her bodyguard who she had “fallen in love” was “bumped off”.

Barry Mannakee died in a motorcycle collision in 1987, while travelling home from work.

Barry Mannakee, pictured with Princess Diana, died in 1987
Getty Images

And while a coroner ruled that his death was a tragic accident, sensational unseen tapes reveal Diana was convinced that he was murdered.

It is believed Mannakee was one of the first of the men from whom the princess sought comfort during her unhappy marriage to Prince Charles.

Mannakee (driving) was Diana’s bodyguard
Rex Features

In tapes, captured by her speech coach Peter Settelen, the Princess of Wales opens up about her failing marriage and how she “was only happy” when a particular man was around.

The Princess never mentioned Mannakee by name in the secret tapes but it was assumed she was referring to him.

It was also never proved the pair were in a relationship.

But Diana said in the tapes she was “deeply in love” with the unidentified security guard and was “quite happy to give all this up and to just go off and live with him”.

There were wild rumours the Princess had been having an affair with Mannakee
Getty Images
Fascinating tapes provide footage of Princess Diana from the early 1990s, which was not due to be aired in public
Fascinating tapes provide footage of Princess Diana from the early 1990s, which was not due to be aired in public
Splash News

The Princess also talks about how she saw him as a father figure, and she was desperate for his praise.

Mannakee was married with two children, but the pair quickly became close and he became a confidante for the troubled Princess, especially during their 90-minute drives taking William and Harry to Highgrove in Gloucestershire for the weekend.

He would also travel with her when she took the boys to school in Notting Hill.

Mannakee would accompany Diana when she drove the boys to school
PA:Press Association

Mannakee reportedly flirted brazenly with Diana in front of servants, but on the tapes she denies the pair ever had a sexual relationship.

After a year of working for the Princess, Mannakee’s superiors challenged him for being over familiar with her and he was transferred from royal to diplomatic protection in 1986.

Tragically, one year later on May 15, 1987, Mannakee was involved in a head on collision between a motorbike and a car.

Mannakee’s bike broke in two places and he died almost immediately.

In the secret recordings, Diana – herself prone to believing in wild hearsay – discusses the death of a former bodyguard of hers when she made the explosive claim had been “bumped off” by the security services.

She believed the death was to avoid embarrassment to the royal family.

In the tapes, Diana also recounts her first meeting with Charles, saying he followed her around “like a puppy”.

Princess Diana revealed personal details about her marriage to Prince Charles
Getty – Contributor
Princess Diana while pregnant with Prince Harry in 1984 chatting at the polo as Mannakee looks on
Getty Images
New documentary about Princess Diana includes secret interviews with the Royal never heard before

She also spoke about the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Charles, even saying “If I could write my own script I would have my husband go away with his woman [Camilla] and never come back.”

Voice coach Settelen believed that getting clients to talk about themselves was key to getting them to speak more passionately.

Palace officials were uneasy about the Princess being videoed for fear that one day they would be revealed to the public.

Channel 4 says: “This unique portrait of Diana gives her a voice and places it front and centre at a time when the nation will be reflecting on her life and death.”

It is the 20th anniversary of Diana, Princess of Wales’ death on 31 August.

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