Princess Diana’s friends and confidantes talk about her relationships after Charles

Marking Diana’s reinvention 25 years ago, our series continues with the other men in her life. James Hewitt felt used by her, she stalked Oliver Hoare and became infatuated with Hasnat Khan. And then there was Dodi, the playboy. All her relationships with men were fraught with drama as she tried to fill the lonely void in her life, as those closest to her reveal…

KEN WHARFE

Those closest to Princess Diana reveal how she tried to fill the lonely void in her life

 

Those closest to Princess Diana reveal how she tried to fill the lonely void in her life

Former bodyguard

‘Diana was flirtatious but never with me. There were risqué jokes on tour, but I was very aware of the line you wouldn’t cross and I didn’t want to be the subject of any below-stairs gossip. I knew exactly what my boundaries were. And if you look at what happened to Barry Mannakee…

‘I didn’t know him as he was a bodyguard before me, but he was in a similar situation to me. He worked with William and Harry and to a lesser degree with Diana. He was a shoulder to cry on in the same way I was and that’s acceptable, it’s part of the job. The one mistake he made was that at Kensington Palace he was seen talking with Diana in her drawing room on her sofa, platonically no doubt. But when that happens you have a butler, a chef, the dresser, the ladies-in-waiting who will think this isn’t right. That wouldn’t be a place for staff to talk to her. That information was taken back to the prince who wanted to know why the bodyguard was talking to his wife in her drawing room. Within days Barry was removed and sent back to policing duties and tragically six months later he died in a motorcycle accident.

‘The gossip was that he was having an affair with Diana. I asked her, “Did you have a relationship with him?” She said, “No I didn’t. How can I have a relationship with one of you lot when everybody is looking at what I’m doing? Yes, I did speak to him a lot and he was very helpful and I got to like him very much indeed, and then everyone got jealous of the relationship I had with him and in the end they got rid of him.” I believed her.’

NISH JOSHI

Holistic health practitioner

‘She asked my advice about lots of things including heart surgeon Hasnat Khan – she was a good friend of Jemima Khan’s and confided in her too. She asked me about the traditions in Pakistan – what to wear, their customs and what it was like. I remember when she got her decree absolute from Charles, she called me up in tears. I said, “You’ll be fine.” Then after a moment she collected herself and said, “Well, I suppose £21 million is not bad for an ex-nanny,” which I thought was cute.’

Hasnat Khan formed a friendship with Princess Diana

 

Princess Diana's healer said Oliver Hoare saw her only as 'another notch on the bedpost'

 

Hasnat Khan (left) formed a friendship with Princess Diana, while her healer said Oliver Hoare (right) saw her as ‘another notch on the bedpost’

DR JAMES COLTHURST

Diana’s confidant and old friend

‘I didn’t think Diana loved Hasnat Khan. I thought she liked him. She was fascinated more by what he did because she always wanted to turn up in operating theatres. She was intrigued by all that. He was a caring guy but it was his profession that was more interesting than anything else.’

DARREN MCGRADY

Personal chef

‘I cooked for Hasnat. He liked Indian food, the curries and spices, so the princess suddenly started asking for a chicken curry at the weekend. I said, “But why, you don’t eat chicken curry?” I didn’t know what was going on for a while. I’d come in on Monday and there were cigarette butts in my kitchen bin, so I knew Hasnat had been.

‘She thought the world of him. Her mother and father had split up and she was looking for a father figure in Prince Charles, who had already found Camilla. Then the princess found the person she really did love, but she couldn’t marry him as she was the wrong faith. She became friends with Jemima Khan and went to Lahore and did events there. She did her best but it was difficult. You knew what she was doing but it was not the right thing and so sad.’

Princess Diana had an extramarital affair with James Hewitt

 

She was seeing Dodi Fayed when they died together

 

Princess Diana had an extramarital affair with Major James Hewitt (left) for years. She was seeing Dodi Fayed (right) when they died together

DEBBIE FRANK

Astrologer

‘Hasnat Khan was a very important person in her life. She felt betrayed by James Hewitt, but she had adored him. She was with him when I met her in 1989. At that point Charles was with Camilla, but because we didn’t think Charles and Diana would get divorced I felt Hewitt was quite good for her in many ways. He gave her some love which she desperately needed. Hasnat was much more intelligent, and that’s what she admired: his brains. He was beyond the ego. For him, it was the humanitarian side. It was like, “I’m here to heal.” She found that deeply attractive.’

SIMONE SIMMONS

Healer

‘She wanted a bit of ordinariness, so she started going out in disguise. She loved going to jazz clubs with Hasnat. One day she was waiting for him at South Kensington Tube station in disguise and she rang me saying, “I overheard a man nearby saying, ‘Cor, I’d like to give her one,’ meaning me.” She thought it was so funny and wondered what they would have said if they’d known who she was.

Barry Manakee (centre) was the Princess' bodyguard for a period

 

Barry Manakee (centre) was the Princess’ bodyguard for a period

‘She was very much in love with Hasnat and desperately wanted to marry him and have a daughter. They were together for over two years. When her divorce came through Hasnat was ready to take the relationship a step further; he had refused to have a physical relationship while she was still married. She dreamed of living in a three-up three-down semi with Hasnat. She met all his family, and his grandmother would write to her and call her The Tigress as a term of affection.’

SARAH BRADFORD

Also known as Viscountess Bangor, royal biographer

‘I’m not sure if Diana would have married Hasnat Khan, or whether she just wanted to help his career. But it is true that when she met Dr Christiaan Barnard at a dinner she told him she wanted to marry Khan and have two daughters. Later on she contacted Dr Barnard about job possibilities abroad for Hasnat and invited him to Kensington Palace to discuss it. The problem was Hasnat didn’t want to leave England as he was finishing his PhD under Magdi Yacoub, so he was furious with her when he found out.’

INGRID STEWART

Author and editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine

‘In June 1997 we discussed if she’d get married again. She said Harry was always asking her to have another baby because he was fed up with being the youngest. But it was a bit difficult, she told him, because she wasn’t married. She said she’d love more children, and she didn’t see herself being single forever. Harry wanted her to get married again, but William didn’t. He wanted Diana to be all there for him. Then she said, “Well, I have to marry someone who’s prepared to cope with me.” Meanwhile, of course, she had the idea of marrying Hasnat Khan all the time in her mind, but hadn’t told me about this. We talked about the sort of person she could marry, and I said she needed a young American with a huge estate. She said she didn’t want to take any favours from anyone by using their place to go with her children but she did say, “I’m going to take them to America this summer. They love America, and the people are nice to us there.”’

SIMONE SIMMONS

Healer

‘The biggest mistake she made was to use a go-between when things went wrong between her and Hasnat. The first was Martin Bashir, who we called The Poison Dwarf. He said to her butler Paul Burrell that if she liked Pakistani men that much, why didn’t she go for him? Then Paul became the intermediary, but in my view he tried to keep everyone out of her life. There was a dresser she loved who always put everything neat and tidy in the right drawers, then suddenly everything was in the wrong drawers, as if she’d been sabotaged. Diana didn’t know this so she sacked her. I believe it was Burrell. Anyone Diana got close to he tried to stop it. He tried to end our relationship too. He photocopied every letter she wrote and even practised her handwriting. She found him photocopying once and tried to get rid of him, but he was there the next morning begging for his job back. I’m convinced he eavesdropped on our phone conversations too, we could hear the clicks on the line.’

Princess Diana watches on in a Middlesex operating theatre while a child is undergoing surgery

 

Princess Diana watches on in a Middlesex operating theatre while a child is undergoing surgery

NISH JOSHI

Holistic health practitioner

‘I remember when it was revealed in an article that she was having an affair with Will Carling. I was cupping a patient [upturned cups are placed on the skin to create suction and increase blood flow] and she was saying she thought it odd that Diana could have an affair with him. I was a bit cheeky, and I rang Diana while the cups were in place waiting to work, and put her on speakerphone. “Darling, is it true you’re having an affair with Will Carling?” I said. And through the speakerphone she said, “Absolutely not.” The cups nearly flew off my patient’s back when she recognised the voice!’

SARAH BRADFORD

Also known as Viscountess Bangor, royal biographer

‘Diana was a great self-dramatiser and could be self-centred because in her unhappiness she was often desperate, like when Oliver Hoare’s wife had thrown him out. One evening his wife was away so Oliver had to be with their sick daughter. Diana was so jealous that she suspected it was an excuse to see his wife so, as he was driving her home she jumped out of the car in a traffic jam in Sloane Square and disappeared. Oliver was so worried he spent three hours driving around looking for her and never got to see his daughter. He finally found Diana crying her eyes out in Kensington Gardens.’

SIMONE SIMMONS

Healer

‘I would tell her the feedback I was getting at our sessions, often about her relationships; she didn’t always want to hear what I had to say but I told her anyway. “You don’t have to say it like that,” she would say. And I would reply, “But there’s no other way of saying it.” I was very blunt. I told her there was someone in her life who was no good for her, who treated her like another notch on his bedpost – that was Oliver Hoare. I told her that she shouldn’t expect him to make any commitment to her and she looked at me daggers.’

DEBBIE FRANK

Astrologer

‘A big draw for her with Dodi was the family set-up because she longed to be part of a family. She spent time with them because there were very few places she could go to. Various Hollywood stars had lent their Malibu mansions to her in the past but there was always an issue. You’re living a Hollywood life, and she didn’t really want that. Hollywood stars used to make her giggle. She saw them as children because they’re just so taken in by the glamour. She thought it overwhelming, and said, “It’s just too much, Debbie.”’

DR JAMES COLTHURST

Diana’s confidant and old friend

‘My last conversation with Diana was about three months before she died, and she was almost incoherent because she was crying with laughter. She’d been given a silver tablet, which I assume was from Dodi, with a poem engraved on it, which she regarded as the height of ridiculousness. When the words poem, then tablet, then silver came out she was howling with laughter. She’d known Dodi since they were children and their dads were mates, so I think the relationship was pumped up to more than it was but it wasn’t how she talked of it all.’

Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed pictured together just days before they died in a Paris car crash

 

Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed pictured together just days before they died in a Paris car crash

 

 

 

The pair were lounging on a boat owned by Dodi's father - billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed

 

The pair were lounging on a boat owned by Dodi’s father – billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed

ROBERT LACEY

Biographer and historian

‘I don’t believe Dodi was a love match in the long-term sense. The few comments she made about it before her death to her girlfriends suggest it was a summer fling. And, perhaps, the idea of sticking it to the Royal Family appealed to her sense of the mischievous. I don’t believe anybody who knows anything about Dodi can believe it would have lasted, but one can see how it appealed as a summer fling.’

DEBBIE FRANK

Astrologer

‘That last summer Diana wasn’t ostensibly discombobulated. She wasn’t crying down the phone, she wasn’t falling apart. But something inside her was distressed. She was on the hop thinking, “How do I manage this? What do I do?” She was in a sort of reactive state, and part of that was getting into this relationship with Dodi Fayed. I think she would have ended up with Dodi. Diana was very astute at assessing people. She said to me about Dodi, “You know what? He’s got all the toys but he’s actually a very kind, gentle, sensitive soul.” And that fascinated her because I think she was comparing him to Charles. Charles may be a kind, gentle, sensitive soul, but she did not experience him as that.’

SIMONE SIMMONS

Healer

‘Her relationship with Dodi wasn’t serious, they’d only known each other 15 days. He was a cocaine addict and was being manipulated by his father. Diana was trying to get him off drugs. Besides, she didn’t like hirsute men. She was not attracted to his hairy back.’

DARREN MCGRADY

Personal chef

‘I never cooked for James Hewitt – I was just the chef so all I know is what I saw and what I heard. She never talked about her love life and I never asked, but I do believe that she was just trying to play Dodi and make Hasnat jealous so he’d say, “I want you, I want you.” Dodi had his own problems, and I heard her saying, “This isn’t right, I didn’t enjoy being there.”’

ANDREW MORTON

Author of Diana: Her True Story

‘She told me she regretted the Martin Bashir Panorama interview. It was the James Hewitt part that very much upset William and Harry because, in all innocence, they thought he was her riding teacher and he taught the boys to ride, so they didn’t realise they’d been used as pawns by their mother. William didn’t speak to her for a few weeks afterwards.’

JENNI RIVETT

Personal trainer

‘We went skiing in America together for a week at New Year 1994. Diana was very upset. It was going to be the first time she would be away from her boys for much of the Christmas period as they stayed with Charles at Sandringham after Diana left, so I suggested we go to Vail in Colorado. I never thought she would say yes. So I organised everything and we stayed with some American friends of mine who had a lovely private house on the mountain.

That was the week I really got to know Diana, but best of all it took three days for the Press to find us. It was the first time she didn’t fly British Airways. We flew NorthWest Airlines and she had no bodyguard. We were travelling incognito. She was fed up at the time and wanted to escape everything.

‘We were up at 8am every morning and skied all day. She had her own ski clothes but we got the skis and boots there. It was so funny as one woman came into the ski hire shop and asked her, “Are you Princess Diana?” but the owner stepped forward and said, “No ma’am, you’re mistaken.” Everyone wanted to protect her.

‘She was in touch with the boys but she didn’t get emotional or upset. She was very relaxed and even did the washing-up after supper. We went out one night and the rest of the time she just wanted to stay in the villa — we got takeaways. I got a lovely note from her later saying, “Dearest Jenni, this comes with lots of love and a million thanks for organising such a wonderful time in Vail and for being so kind and supportive to me”.’

CHARLES RAE

Former royal correspondent

‘At Christmas 1994, two years after Diana had separated from the Prince of Wales, I was told the princess would not be at Sandringham for long. So I headed for the Knights Hill Hotel, which had a wonderful view of the roundabout and the A148, the road to Sandringham. We had a gut feeling it wouldn’t be long before the princess would come into view heading back to London. Soon we saw a police car and behind it was Diana’s blue Mercedes. She was alone.

Major Hewitt with the Princess. It is believed that they became close after he helped her with riding lessons in May 1989

 

Major Hewitt with the Princess. It is believed that they became close after he helped her with riding lessons in May 1989

‘I joined the convoy and as it reached the M11 the police vehicle peeled off and Diana stepped on the gas — 60mph, 70, 80, 100, 120. As we reached the M25, Diana suddenly manoeuvred onto the hard shoulder and stopped. She got out and as we drove by, much more slowly, she recognised me and gave me one of her famous smiles and a wave. We interpreted that she could not stand to be near the royals for that long and in particular her husband.

‘Nearly two months later, on an official visit to Japan, she came in to the press reception and headed straight over. We shook hands and I said, “I hope you realise the enormous favour I did you when you left Sandringham at Christmas?”

‘ “What was that?” she said. I replied, “Well, I didn’t mention the 120mph you were doing.”

‘She laughed. “Yes I know, and thank you. I could have got into some serious trouble.” I had to ask the obvious question. “What’s puzzled me is why you were driving so fast to get back to London?” And the answer, “I had to get back to KP because I wanted to watch the omnibus of EastEnders. I love it.”

‘I felt a bit sad for her, spending Christmas Day away from her boys, sitting alone in her rooms, apart from servants. Here was the world’s most glamorous woman, who could ring anyone and spend the day with whoever she wanted, and she was spending it alone.’

MARK STEWART

Royal photographer

Princess Diana at Royal Ascot with Oliver Hoare and husband Prince Charles

 

Princess Diana at Royal Ascot with Oliver Hoare and husband Prince Charles

‘They called the trip to South Korea in 1992 The Glums Tour because basically they didn’t want to be there with each other – there were a lot of long faces and it was very clear things were not right. I remember one moment when they were signing a visitors book and Prince Charles went to give his pen to her. She always used to take the pen, but that day she made a point of not taking it and picking up a pen off the table. There were little moments like that throughout the tour, it was very sad to see.’

JAYNE FINCHER

Photographer

‘I remember when we were in Korea she turned up at a banquet and she looked lovely, her usual elegant self in a beautiful dress. But her make-up was patchy, which was unusual for her, and her eyes were red-rimmed. She just sat there with her eyes cast down. You could tell she’d been crying her eyes out, she looked awful. My heart went out to her.’

KEN WHARFE

Former bodyguard

‘She was at the Taj Mahal in India in 1992 alone, because Charles had a pre-engagement in Bangalore.There was this hum of press requests for a photo and she said, “I’d better do something”, which was typical of Diana. She turned on this seat and faced the press. Then a TV reporter asked what it felt like to be there and she turned to me and asked, “What should I say?” I said, “How about it’s a healing experience?”, which she said. Then somebody chirped up and asked what she meant by that. She then said very quickly, “Work it out for yourself.”

The Princess greets the English rugby team at Cardiff Arms Park, Wales in 1995

 

The Princess greets the English rugby team at Cardiff Arms Park, Wales in 1995

‘Charles would never have agreed to go to the Taj Mahal, which is a monument to love. I don’t think he would have done something so hypocritical. There would have been a permanent grimace across his face if he’d gone.’

JENNI RIVETT

Personal trainer

‘She had good and bad days. There were days when she would walk into the gym the day after I had seen the news and I knew it was going to be a bad day, so I was sensitive to that and was gentle with her. But she never cancelled no matter how she felt, and I was with her for nearly seven years.’

DARREN MCGRADY

Personal chef

‘She wanted comfort foods when she was going through her bulimia and it wasn’t good for her. That was the dark side, but what I really admired was that she confronted the bulimia, she sought help and reached out to other people and said, “If you have bulimia, ask for help as I did.” A lot of people said she had eating disorders up to the end, but she didn’t.’

FRANCES SHAND KYDD

Diana’s mother, speaking before Diana’s death

Princess Diana attending the Red Dragon Ball

 

Princess Diana attending the Red Dragon Ball

‘I saw the eating disorder immediately because I’d had previous experience with my eldest daughter Sarah, who’d had anorexia. I recognised the symptoms very quickly with Diana. There are an enormous number of reasons for anorexia and bulimia to take hold, and one of the main reasons is unhappiness.’

DR LILY HUA YU

Acupuncturist and herbalist

‘She had bulimia when I was treating her in 1996. She did not have enough nutrients in her body because of it and she had become anaemic. Losing weight quickly can result in osteoporosis because you don’t have enough nutrients. Diana was bordering on having osteoporosis. I prescribed 20 different herbal combinations for Diana and put them in capsules – she would take four capsules of each twice a day.’

JANET FILDERMAN

Beautician

‘She had a touch of bulimia, but it was not consistent because her skin was good, she had excellent teeth and very good hair. Those are the first to go.’

NISH JOSHI

Holistic health practitioner

‘She had a few eating problems when I met her in 1993 – cravings and starving all day and bingeing all night – and we managed to control them. Healthy eating was the way to go. When she was in control of her diet she had no issues.’

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