Tapes reveal how Prince Charles was all over Diana ‘like a bad rash’

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London: In a documentary to be screened in Britain, Princess Diana describes how Prince Charles was all over her “like a bad rash” at the start of their courtship.

Diana reveals that Charles’ attempts to woo her during a barbecue in Sussex in 1979, when she was 18, were not very romantic.


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The princess speaks about her relationship with the heir to the throne in the documentary Diana: In Her Own Words, based on video tape interviews made by her speech coach Peter Settelen in the early 1990s.

After meeting Charles a few years earlier and not being swayed by the royal presence, she initially changed her mind at the barbecue.

“I sat there and this man walked in and I thought, ‘Well I am quite impressed this time round.’ I was different and everything else,” she said.

“He chatted me up – like a bad rash, he was all over me.”

When she sympathised with the prince about the recent funeral of his great uncle and mentor Lord Louis Mountbatten, killed by the IRA in 1979, and how he had needed someone “beside” him at the service, Charles responded amorously.

Diana said: “Wrong word – whereupon he leapt upon me and started kissing me and everything – this is not what people do. And he was all over me for the rest of the evening, followed me around [like a] puppy.”

She confessed they met only 13 times before they married, but when they were interviewed to mark their engagement, Diana was left dumbstruck by the prince’s response to the question about whether they were in love.

Diana replied “of course” and Charles gave his famous response, “Whatever in love means.”

The princess said: “That threw me completely, I thought what a strange – absolutely traumatised me.”

Later, after their marriage, Diana says she confronted Charles about Camilla Parker Bowles.

“Well, I refuse to be the only Prince of Wales who never had a mistress,” she says he replied.

Diana confesses she found solace with her married police protection officer Barry Mannakee, She reveals she considered fleeing the Royal Household to be with him.

She also claimed she had sex with Charles “once every three weeks”, but it fizzled out six or seven years before the tapes were made, a few years after Prince Harry was born in 1984.

Diana claimed Prince Philip had told his son he could have an affair with Camilla if his marriage had failed.

In the video recordings – aired in a US documentary 13 years ago but never screened in Britain – a relaxed and candid Diana said: “My father-in-law said to my husband, ‘If your marriage doesn’t work out, you can always go back to her [Camilla] after five years.’

“Which is exactly – I mean, for real I knew that it had happened after five [years] – I knew something was happening before that but the fifth year I had confirmation.”

Diana described how she approached the Queen – “the top lady” – for advice.

She said: “So I went to the top lady, sobbing, and I said, ‘What do I do? I’m coming to you, what do I do? And she said ‘I don’t know what you should do – Charles is hopeless.’

“And that was it, and that was help.”

The princess hired Peter Settelen between 1992 and 1993 to help with her public speaking voice, following her collaboration with author Andrew Morton on a biography, and ahead of her bombshell Panorama interview in 1995.

The footage, captured at her private residence in Kensington Palace, shows Diana rehearsing her speaking voice.

Speaking about Mannakee, Diana, said she fell “deeply in love” with the officer but when he died in a motorcycle accident she described the moment as the “biggest blow of my life”.

At the time, in the mid-1980s, she was a mother caring for young princes William and Harry and said: “I was quite happy to give all this up … just to go off and live with him. Can you believe it? And he kept saying he thought it was a good idea, too.”

Rumours of an affair between Diana and Mannakee spread throughout the royal household, and he was assigned to other duties – or “chucked out”, as Diana put it.

A batch of about 20 videos had been held by Scotland Yard after being seized in a raid on the home of ex-royal butler Paul Burrell in January 2001.

The content of the tapes was regarded as so sensitive that the prosecution agreed not to use them in Burrell’s Old Bailey trial, which collapsed in 2002.

The tapes were later sold to US broadcaster NBC for an undisclosed sum and excerpts were broadcast in 2004.

Diana also speaks candidly about her battles with an eating disorder.

“Everybody knew about the bulimia in the family and they all blamed the failure of the marriage on the bulimia, and that’s taken some time to get them to think differently,” she said.

“I said I was rejected, I didn’t think I was good enough for this family, so I took it out on myself.

“I said, ‘I could’ve gone to alcohol, which would’ve been obvious, I could’ve been anorexic, which would be even more obvious. I decided to do the more discreet thing, which ultimately wasn’t discreet but I chose to hurt myself instead of hurting all of you.’ “

AAP, PA



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