Diana by Inspector Ken Wharfe and Robert Jobson - Read Online
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Inspector Ken Wharfe, the first royalty protection officer to publish a memoir, was a crucial figure in the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, for nearly seven years. He became a close friend and trusted confidant. His first-hand contradicts many of the so-called "facts" about Diana and provides affectionate, if not always uncritical, insight. He played an important role during Diana's most trying times, and in her sons' formative years, and he shows himself to be an exceptionally perceptive observer. This account presents the most intimate portrait of Diana to date, as well as a fitting tribute to one of the outstanding figures of our age.
Published: John Blake an imprint of Independent Publishers Group on
ISBN: 9781786063069
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Diana - Inspector Ken Wharfe

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2002.

INTRODUCTION

The Queen’s landmark ninetieth birthday this year (2016) has led to a predictable wave of public support for the institution of monarchy. Indeed, the institution, often criticised for being out of touch in the past, has rarely been more popular in its long history. This is largely due to the emergence on the public stage of Princess Diana’s sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. They have acquitted themselves well at home and abroad. Harry’s work with injured service men and his other charity work has been excellent and comes from the heart. Prince William, now Duke of Cambridge, along with his wife Catherine, has proved a worthy ambassador on the world stage. ‘Diana’s boys’ as they are so often dubbed, remain a focus of global media attention – just as their mother the Princess was. Like her they are certainly precious assets in the Family Firm and, more importantly, in promoting Great Britain Plc worldwide.

Next year (2017) marks another royal milestone – the twentieth anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Almost two decades after her tragic and untimely death, Diana remains an object of fascination, her death a source of all manner of speculation. Her story is one of a heroine who broke free of the royal bonds and changed the monarchy forever. Sadly, her life ended far too soon in a tragic car accident in 1997 in a Paris tunnel. It should and could have been avoided, but more of that later.

Well before that, as a member of Scotland Yard’s elite Royalty Protection Department, I had been selected as her Personal Protection Officer (PPO) in charge of her round-the-clock security at home and abroad. This book, first published in 2002 to a media storm is my first-hand account of life inside and outside of the Palace working alongside the Princess, at the time the most famous woman in the world. Together we experienced, in public and in private, an intense, dramatic, scrutinised, and tumultuous journey.

The so-called ‘Diana years’ were a stellar time, a time of sometimes unhelpful media attention. It was fast and furious. But Diana was not only a media phenomenon, brilliant at bolstering newspaper and magazine sales; she was a real, passionate human being able to capture imagination and hearts of a global audience. Those heady days have long gone, consigned to history. The excesses of the media covering royal affairs have been inevitably and in my view rightly curbed. Diana’s death, in a sad irony, gave her two sons, William and Harry, the freedom to grow up in relatively carefree way as she would have wished, mostly away from prying eyes and media excess, so they were able to develop into the honest and open young men they are today. Ultimately, it has also meant there will be much more privacy for the grandchildren – Prince George and Princess Charlotte – whom she sadly did not live to see.

Her legacy is strong thanks to her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.

They are the living embodiment of her legacy. Prince Harry opened up publicly about Diana this year (2016). He revealed he thinks about his late mother ‘every day’ and hopes to ‘fill the void she left’. He founded the charity Sentebale – meaning Forget Me Not – in her memory – supporting orphans and vulnerable children in Lesotho, many of whom are affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It was a cause Diana was passionate about. Forget-me-nots were one of Diana’s favourite flowers, too.

‘Earlier on in life you try to find your own route,’ Prince Harry told the broadcaster Susanna Reid in an interview for Good Morning Britain about the Invictus Games for injured servicemen and women he had established. ‘But if there’s even a small void I can fill then that’s mission success for me. I literally couldn’t imagine being in this position and no one caring what I do.’ When asked if he realised his mother would be proud of him, he flushed a little and responded, ‘It’s a great shame she’s not here but every day I wonder what it would be like if she was here, what she would say and how she’d be making everyone laugh. There’s all sorts of emotions as I’m back here trying to make her proud.’

William, for years preferring to keep his thoughts about his mother private, has also spoken for the first time about the devastating effect of losing his mother as a teenager. The Prince, who was just fifteen when Princess Diana died, said in 2014, ‘Never being able to say the word Mummy again in your life sounds like a small thing. However, for many, including me, it’s now really just a word – hollow and evoking only memories.’ With remarkable candour, Prince William also revealed how difficult he found dealing with his mother’s death, ‘Initially, there is a sense of profound shock and disbelief that this could ever happen to you. Real grief often does not hit home until much later. For many it is a grief never entirely lost. Life is altered as you know it, and not a day goes past without you thinking about the one you have lost. I know that over time it is possible to learn to live with what has happened and, with the passing of years, to retain or rediscover cherished memories.’

Both her sons believe there are not currently any monuments ‘on the right scale’ in the UK in honour of Diana’s memory. Prince Harry said he and Prince William hope to create something fitting for when the milestone anniversary comes round in August 2017. ‘We want to make sure that there’s something that she’s remembered by and there’s certainly not enough on the right scale in London or anywhere in the UK that she’s remembered for. And I think myself, William and a few other people, we all agree on that. Something needs to be put in stone or in place as a memory. Lots of people still talk about her. Every single day we still think about her, so it would be very fitting on the twentieth anniversary to have something that is going to last forever and is a proper recognition of what she did when she was alive.’

Her sons are both right Diana should be appropriately honoured, although in my view she cared more about people than monuments. She would probably want any money collected for such a project to go instead to help a sick child rather than spent on a monument of her.

Times change. I was criticised by some when this memoir was first published in 2002. I was happy to take it on the chin because I firmly believed it was right to put pen to paper. My goal in writing this book was to safeguard the Diana I knew for the sake of history and for the sake of accuracy. I was inspired to write this book too after the mistaken and hurtful comments by Establishment figures about Diana. Winston Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames MP, long-standing friend of the Prince of Wales, and Lady Kennard, friend of Her Majesty the Queen, both very publicly suggested that Diana was either paranoid, damaged or both. Whatever the motives for making these public comments they were wrong because their words not only unfairly tarnished Diana’s reputation, they painted a wholly inaccurate picture of what she was and what she was about. Sadly, she was not alive to defend herself. Let’s be honest – how many wives, royal or otherwise, would not become agitated if their husband was having a adulterous affair, as Prince Charles was having with Camilla Parker Bowles? Thankfully, Prince William and his brother Prince Harry have since acted to rescue their mother’s memory.

These days I lecture regularly, often about Diana and my time as her personal protection officer. Many people who were just children when she died, are still fascinated by her. Prior to my book’s publication some eighty books had been written about the Princess, many more have been published since. It is pleasing that Diana: Closely Guarded Secret continues to be well regarded. The extraordinary success of this memoir on Amazon Kindle last year (2015), with little advance publicity, serves to highlight the fascination that exists about Diana and her compassion, fun and laughter.

I am delighted my memoir has stood the test of time. In the words of the historian eminent Dr David Starkey who said when asked to comment on it, ‘This is history, since Ken Wharfe was there.’ It has been an interesting exercise to revisit the book and add new material that for legal or editorial reasons did not make the first edition and I hope the new readers enjoy it.

Fate placed me to work alongside a woman who became a significant part of the history of the modern monarchy. I am not an historian but this is a true account of my time working with Diana to the best of my recollection. I hope it will serve as important source material for future generations wishing to examine the life of the Princess. After all, as the writer G. K. Chesterton – a far wiser man than I – said, ‘We cannot be certain of being right about the future; but we can be almost certain of being wrong about the future, if we are wrong about the past.’

KEN WHARFE, MVO, August 2016

PRELUDE

NO ONE COULD HAVE FAILED TO APPRECIATE the bitter irony of the day. For years I had been responsible for guarding this woman – with my life, if necessary. Now I was in charge of the police security operation for my department at her funeral. Standing, before the service, at the West Door of Westminster Abbey on Saturday, 6 September 1997, was like being a camera recording a scene in a tragic Hollywood movie. The difference, of course, was that this was painfully real. Everything seemed to be played out in slow motion. The organ resounded to William Harris’s Prelude; the bells rang out hollowly as the great and the good – from princes and prime ministers to so-called ordinary people – arrived to pay their last respects to an extraordinary person.

Diana, Princess of Wales had made the latter part of the twentieth century her own. In the last two decades of that century, probably only Nelson Mandela approached her in terms of the interest she generated around the world. Now, after thirty-six years, her Camelot was in ruins and the magic, I was sure, would never return. I kept thinking to myself, ‘How on earth can this be happening?’ As the pallbearers – Welsh Guardsmen, as was fitting – struggled with her lead-lined coffin, it seemed almost inconceivable that the radiant young woman who had once charmed the world was lying silently within it, completely at peace for perhaps the only time in her all too short life. That life had been snuffed out by a combination of high spirits, stupidity and human error. That her death was avoidable made me angry, yet the whole sorry episode had numbed me inside, as it had most of the rest of the world. All I could think was, ‘What a waste, what a terrible, utter waste.’

Her sons, whom I had once guarded before I became her own personal protection officer, were nothing if not brave. She would have been supremely proud of the way they stood tall in the face of such terrible adversity. I had often played with them during their childhood. They had always loved to throw themselves into play fights; now they faced the greatest test of their lives. In their dark suits, focused in their grief, they looked like men, not boys, as they walked behind their mother’s coffin. On the flag-draped coffin a handwritten card lay among a cloud of lilies. On it, the single word ‘Mummy’ seemed to say everything.

A great calm fell over Central London that morning as millions took to the streets to pay their respects, lining the route along which the Princess’s coffin would be borne, on a gun carriage, from Kensington Palace to the Abbey. As I walked to the Abbey from Buckingham Palace – with the roads closed, there was no other way of getting there – the scent of flowers was heavy on the air. Diana’s coffin had been moved from the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, where she had lain, to Kensington Palace at some time the previous evening. Everywhere her famous face peered out from the thousands of newspaper and magazine special editions being sold on the streets to mark the historic event. The nation had come to a complete halt as television coverage poured into millions of homes; around the world, more than two billion people sat and watched an event that many had believed they would not themselves live to see. At variance with the sombre mood, the mourners, many in jeans and T-shirts, were bathed in warm sunshine. Thousands upon thousands packed the funeral procession route as the muffled sound of the bells of Westminster Abbey, which tolled throughout the procession, carried mournfully over the near-silent capital.

Behind the coffin, the procession was led by her two sons, with the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh, and her brother, Earl Spencer, heads bowed, walking with them. The tension was electric. As the gun-carriage passed on to the Mall, past Buckingham Palace, the Queen, who had been publicly attacked for her cool response since the death of the Princess, led other members of the royal family who, standing in front of the palace, all bowed as it passed. Above them, from the flagstaff on the Palace roof, the Union Flag fluttered at half-mast. The Queen had finally relented, after yet more criticism in the days before the funeral, and given the order for the flag to be flown thus, the first time in history that it had done so for the death of anyone other than a monarch.

Behind Diana’s sons and her ex-husband, father-in-law and brother followed five hundred selected mourners. They were charity workers, nurses, artists, people from all walks of life representing organisations or causes that the Princess had held dear to her heart. Like so many people, I could not help thinking that this deviation from the practice usually followed at such state events was entirely in keeping with the spirit of my ex-boss, who in life had never greatly relished the pomp and circumstance surrounding royalty.

There were 1,900 invited guests within the spectacular Gothic interior of the Abbey. The sun streamed through its great windows. At just after ten o’clock the VIPs began to arrive. Shepherding them to their seats was like a military exercise, and my team had to be alert, not least because some of the world’s leading terrorist targets were gathered within this august medieval structure. America’s First Lady, Hillary Clinton – whose husband, President Bill Clinton, was one of countless world leaders who, only hours after her death, had publicly praised Diana and her life’s work – examined the tributes of flowers near the entrance as she walked past. Two former prime ministers, Baroness Thatcher and John Major, joined Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie, on the long walk from the West Door to their seats in the Abbey.

Mohamed Fayed and his wife entered shortly after the Spencer family. My heart went out to them all, especially Diana’s mother, Frances Shand Kydd. Within the next few minutes the royal family arrived. Last, at 10.50 am, came the Queen, the Queen Mother and Prince Edward. In deep silence they took their places near the altar, directly across the aisle from the Spencer family. Then, as the bells of Big Ben tolled eleven, the procession reached the West Door. Eight Welsh Guardsmen, bare-headed, their faces taut with strain, carried the quarter-ton coffin on their shoulders as they slow-marched the length of the nave. A profound hush fell over the Abbey. Prince Harry broke down when the coffin passed. As the tears flowed down his small face, his father pulled him closer and his brother William laid a comforting hand on his shoulder.

As the strains of the National Anthem filled the Abbey, the tension was excruciating, the Queen’s embarrassment almost palpable. The bitterness between the Spencers and the Windsors that had come to the fore in the days since the Princess’s fatal accident had given the national press something to write about, in a vain bid to try to divert the public’s attention away from the media’s involvement in the killing of their Princess. Yet such accusations were as pointless as they were wrong. The paparazzi may irritate like flies, but they don’t kill. Diana’s death, I kept thinking, was senseless because it could so easily have been prevented, but it was not photographers and journalists who killed her.

Nor was there any comfort in ‘if onlys’. My department had had the care of her for some fifteen years; Mohamed Fayed’s team of ‘bodyguards’ had had charge of her security for eight weeks, and now she was dead. They had failed in their task, and it angered me beyond words.

As I drifted between flashbacks and the awful reality of the moment, I kept saying to myself, ‘Come on, Ken, get on with it.’ Lord Spencer had invited me to attend the funeral. I had declined, because I had been asked to look after security, although the job had not been easy. Mohamed Fayed had presented one of my first problems in this capacity. He had tried to insist that, in keeping with his bizarre conspiracy theories about the deaths of the Princess and his son Dodi, he was a target – even here. In the light of this, he said, he needed all his cumbersome, supposedly SAS-trained bodyguards by his side within the Abbey. This was a truly ridiculous idea, as though he outranked the Queen or the Prime Minister or the President of France, none of whom had personal bodyguards beside them. Before the funeral, I took some pleasure in reminding his ‘protection-liaison official’ of what I had said to his security staff when we reviewed security some days earlier, that no heavy protection presence would be permitted inside Westminster Abbey.

The ‘Libera Me’ from Verdi’s Requiem shook my resolve; not the soon-to-be-knighted Elton John’s specially written adaptation of ‘Candle In The Wind’, with its tear jerking first line, ‘Goodbye, England’s rose’, not even Diana’s favourite hymn, ‘I Vow To Thee, My Country’, which had been sung at her wedding. It was Verdi. Contrary to popular opinion, the Princess loved classical music, a passion we both shared. As the ‘Libera Me’ pierced the air and our souls, I felt the emotion of that piece engulf the Abbey, moving every one of the throng of mourners. Prince Charles looked as though he was being torn apart as the music swelled and dwindled, and finally died away.

Then, just as the congregation was united in grief, Lord Spencer unleashed his entirely unexpected verbal assault, his words thrusting like a rapier into the Prince’s heart. No one, other than Charles Spencer, knew what was coming as he composed himself before delivering a five-minute eulogy that electrified the world. It was a piece of pure theatre, but it was also from the heart.

Spencer lashed out at the royal family for their behaviour towards his beloved sister, and savaged the press for hounding her to her death. Throughout the mauling the Queen bowed her head as her godson fired salvo after salvo, talking directly to his dead sister. ‘There is a temptation to rush to canonise your memory. There is no need to do so: you stand tall enough as a human being of unique qualities not to need to be seen as a saint.’ Nor, he said, was there any need for royal titles – a barbed reference to the Queen’s petty decision to remove from the Princess the courtesy title of ‘Her Royal Highness’ as one of the conditions of her lucrative £17 million ($25.5 million) divorce deal. He said bluntly that his sister had possessed a ‘natural nobility’, adding, cuttingly, that she transcended class and had proved in the last year of her life that ‘she needed no royal title to continue to generate her particular brand of magic.’ Never before, in forty-five years on the throne of Britain, had Queen Elizabeth II been publicly and savagely admonished by one of her subjects. Yet, ever the professional, she did not flinch.

What happened next was extraordinary, and something which only those inside the Abbey that day will ever fully appreciate. Lord Spencer’s loving yet devastating address was followed by a stunned silence. Then a sound like a distant shower of rain swept into the Abbey, seeping in through the walls, rolling on and on. It poured towards us like a wave, gradually reaching a crescendo. At first I was not sure what it was; indeed, with security on my mind, I was momentarily troubled by it. It took me a couple of seconds to realise that it was the sound of people clapping. The massive crowds outside had heard Spencer’s address on loudspeakers and had reacted with applause; as the sound filtered in, the vast majority of the people inside the Abbey joined in. People don’t clap at funerals – but Diana was as different in death as she had been in life, and they did at hers. The Earl had spoken the plain truth as he saw it, and the people respected him for his courage as well as for the tribute he had paid his sister. William and Harry joined in the applause; so too, generously, did Prince Charles. The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Queen Mother sat unmoving in stony-faced silence.

The service ended with Sir John Tavener’s Alleluia. I found it uplifting, and at that moment my numbness lifted. The Princess was gone, but I knew that her spirit of compassion would live on, and that her work would not be forgotten.

Outside in the sunshine were millions of people, apparently united in grief. Yet though it may seem harsh or cynical, I felt that there was something spurious about the mass mourning that followed her death and attended her funeral. True, most people had loved her, but they had not known her. They loved the media image; they loved the glamour, the humanity, the sympathetic tears, but they had little idea of the real Diana. Mainly they loved her because of what they had read or seen or heard about her. What they were mourning was an image moulded by the media and, it must be said, by the Princess herself from her years in the public eye. Now the press was being vilified. Yet surely, if the newspapers and photographers were to blame, in part, for her death, then the people must also share some of that blame? After all, they had bought the newspapers, pored over the magazines, read the books, sat glued to the television coverage. By another irony, some of them were clutching special Diana editions as they abused photographers who had gathered to record the funeral. As I looked at the hordes of people who had stood for hours to share this day and express their sorrow, I felt vaguely disturbed by it all. Despite her ego, her concern for her image, Diana would not really have wanted this.

Everywhere there were flowers, from single buds picked that morning to enormous bouquets – ‘floral tributes’, as florists (and undertakers) call them. She liked flowers; she would have liked the people’s thoughtful tribute. At Kensington Palace, where I had spent so many happy years, there had been a sea of flowers. They had begun arriving on the morning of the day she died, and now there was a field of them – literally, tons of flowers – outside the gates to Kensington Palace. The smell of them was almost overpowering. Luckily, someone had the sense to have them removed before they began to fade and rot, but still they kept coming.

England’s rose may be dead, I thought, as I walked back to my office near Buckingham Palace, but she had certainly made the world sit up and take notice while she was here. To me, she was a magical person, a woman of great character, strength, humour, generosity and determination, but she had needed to be channelled, her qualities guided in the right direction, her self-pity and her sometimes explosive temper checked. Some of those around her played an important part in shaping the person who in death would come to be known as the People’s Princess, and who finally became, as she had once publicly hoped, the ‘queen of people’s hearts’.

It is a truism to say that someone’s death tends to make us view that person through rose-tinted glasses. Certainly I remembered Diana like that for a while, and so, I’m sure, did almost everybody. But she was certainly no saint, as her brother had publicly insisted. She would have laughed her infectious laugh out loud at the very thought of it.

Lord Spencer had said in his eulogy that Diana was every inch a real woman, not some iconised image. True, she loved her image, and hated it when she was not in the newspapers, or when a picture showed what she thought of as her bad side. In fact, she was as vain as are most of us, someone who really cared about what she looked like, and how she appeared to other people. She could laugh at herself, though, something that perhaps showed that, at heart, she had as much humility as vanity. Which is why, in the end, she would not have wanted millions of people – especially the ‘ordinary people’ with whom she empathised so much – to mourn for her.

Before the day of the funeral I had stolen a solitary moment with the Princess, saying my own silent farewell to her as she lay in the Chapel Royal. It was cold. She lay at one end of the chapel in her coffin, her standard – the standard of the Princess of Wales – draped over it. I murmured a prayer, and talked out loud about some of the things we had done, some of the amazing places we had visited and extraordinary people we had spent time with. I remembered our last meeting. For once she did not answer me in that somewhat high-pitched, slightly affected voice of hers, so often with laughter bubbling near the surface. I shed no tears, nor do I think she would have expected me to. But like millions around the world I was moved by the loss of someone who had, as she had so earnestly wished, ‘made a difference’. Someone who had flown in the face of convention; someone whose very presence could light up a room filled with people close to death; someone who by just touching a man dying of AIDS could completely change our attitude to that terrible disease. Now she was silent, her life ended needlessly, her ready giggle stilled for ever. I had shared much with her during the years when I had served her. Life, I thought, goes on, but I was convinced it would never sparkle in quite the same way again.

In a final irony, as I walked across the park that day, I met a journalist I knew from my days with the Princess, and who had known her well. He was crying his heart out.

CHAPTER 1

‘Hugs can do a great amount of good – especially for children.’

‘THIS IS THE THIRTY-SECOND WARNING.’ Giving Diana’s police T security code I spoke quietly and without inflexion into the radio, then returned it to the side of my seat in the Jaguar. We never signalled the arrival of the principal any earlier, as to have done so would have been poor security. Radio calls are easily monitored.

‘Oh Ken, anyone would think the world was about to end.’ The woman in the back of the car always found our procedure amusing. ‘For goodness’ sake, it’s only little old me coming home,’ she added with a girlish tickle in her voice.

Seconds later the dark green Jaguar XJ6 approached the police security barrier and, after being waved through by the constable on duty, swept into Kensington Palace. In the back of the car sat the most famous woman in the world, Diana, Princess of Wales. I always sat in the front, next to her trusted chauffeur – and my friend – Simon Solari. We were the only people in the car.

Only half an hour earlier, the Princess and I had stepped from Concorde at Heathrow after a flight from Dulles International airport, Washington, DC. Exhilarated, she had hardly been able to sit still in her designated seat, and had talked non-stop about her charity mission to America, during which she had made a friend of the First Lady, Barbara Bush. Indeed, the President himself had delayed a meeting to chat with Diana, and his decision to join them had impressed her. On that trip we had travelled under the names Mr and Mrs Hargreaves, although none of Concorde’s crew had been remotely fooled. At the time she was already beginning to revel in her success as a royal personage – in fact, an international celebrity – in her own right.

Now we were back at Numbers 8 and 9 Kensington Palace, her official London residence. The Prince of Wales, her husband, was not waiting for her inside.

‘Home sweet home,’ Diana sighed, with more than a hint of irony, although without bitterness.

It was just after 10.35 pm on a dark autumn night in 1991, and I had been doing this job for nearly three years. The Princess, however, had been doing hers for nearly ten.

There are not many days when I do not think of Diana, Princess of Wales. Her illuminating smile, her sheer presence, and above all her yearning to live life to the full, have never left me. I am sure I am not the only person to be haunted in this way, although, with each year that passes since her death, fashionable opinion seems increasingly to insist that our memory of the once vivid woman has become not only more distant, but more uncertain. There is no shortage of commentators who want us to believe that the Diana legend is fading, or even that the substance behind that legend was of little worth.

The Diana I knew was full of fun, almost always in search of laughter, not wallowing in self-pity and tears as she is now so often portrayed. There were, of course, dark clouds in her life, but they would soon pass to allow her nature to shine brightly once again. Yet since her death on 31 August 1997 history has all too often presented a very different – not to say distorted – image of this extraordinary woman. Worse, since 1997, a PR offensive has been waged in some quarters against a dead woman’s memory. Her name has been dragged through the mud, her principles derided, her motives corrupted, and even her sanity questioned. It has been, in my view at least, a vicious and one-sided war, and as in any war, the truth has been the first casualty.

For nearly five years, from 1988 to 1993,1 shadowed the late Princess in my capacity as her Scotland Yard personal protection officer (PPO, or, in layman’s terms, her police bodyguard), during the most traumatic period of her life. For most of that time she was a joy to work with. As her senior protection officer it fell to me to deal with her more sensitive private engagements and public appearances, and my relationship with her was, by the very nature of the job, an extremely close one. Due to the unique position in which I found myself, however, it was inevitable that my duties could not always be clearly defined. Naturally she and I freely discussed all matters affecting her security, but we also talked openly about her life, including the most intimate aspects of it. Consequently, during my time with her, I was not only her police officer but also a trusted aide and confidant.

While this may seem a conceited view, it has its roots in the nature of my profession: if I had not liked and trusted her, I could not have done my job efficiently, while she would hardly have tolerated a protection officer whom she did not trust. There was an open-door policy between us; my independence, given that I worked not directly for her but for Scotland Yard, meant I could and would always speak freely and truthfully, unlike the army of courtiers employed by her husband, the Prince of Wales, and by the Queen. The uniqueness of my role gave me, I believe, an unrivalled appreciation of the true Diana, the woman behind the public mask.

I am the first officer from Scotland Yard’s elite Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Department to publish an insider’s account of service with that department. This may seem an empty claim, but I believe it is a unique story because it was shared with Diana. Most of our experiences were known only to the two of us. I would never have put pen to paper had the Princess been alive today. Since her death, however, I have become increasingly concerned at the way she has been portrayed by the media, by journalists and writers, even those who claim to have known her well. I have come to feel that unless I tell of my years with her as I saw them through my policeman’s eyes, then people now and in the future will receive a corrupt impression of her.

My intention in writing this book is simple – to set the record straight about the woman who herself once claimed that I knew her better than anyone, and in doing so, to tell the simple truth about one of the most remarkable, complex and alluring public figures of the latter part of the twentieth century. When I joined the Metropolitan Police service as a special cadet in 1964 at the tender age of sixteen, I never dreamed that I would one day shadow one of the world’s most famous women. A chance meeting with an old friend sent me on a journey that changed