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Diana certain body guard was bumped off

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This is LONDON
06/12/04 - News and city section

New Diana revelations
By Robert Jobson, Royal Correspondent Evening Standard

Princess Diana considered running off with her bodyguard lover Barry Mannakee.

The princess admitted she "fell deeply in love" with the policeman and insisted she was certain he was "bumped off". A top detective has been called in to investigate the claim which appears in tapes Diana recorded for her voice coach. In excerpts to be shown on American TV, Diana said of her marriage to Prince Charles: "I was quite happy to give it all up ... just to go off and live with [Mannakee].

She added: "Can you believe it? And he [Mannakee] kept saying he thought it was a good idea too."

She admitted she "fell deeply in love" and added: "He was the greatest fellow I have ever had. I was only happy when he was around."

She also admitted to her complete devastation when the affair ended - and how she needed to see a clairvoyant to help her cope with Sgt Mannakee's death in a 1987 motorbike crash. "I should never have played with fire," she said. "But I did. And I got burned."

Diana opened her heart about her love for Sgt Mannakee in September 1992, during the first of 20 videos she made with voice coach Peter Settelen.

Now, seven years after her death, they are the most explosive excerpts from the tapes that have been sold to American TV station NBC. She also discussed her unhappy marriage, Prince Charles seeing Camilla Parker

Bowles and her troubled relationship with the Queen.

Of Mannakee, she told Settelen: "I tell you one of the biggest crutches of my life, which I don't find easy to discuss, was when I was 24, 25, I fell deeply in love with somebody who worked in this environment. And he was the greatest fellow I have ever had.

"I was always waiting around trying to see him. Um, I just, you know, wore my heart on my sleeve. I was only happy when he was around.

Asked if he provided the "intimacy you weren't getting" she replied: "Yeah."

Settelen says he believes the relationship was so important to Diana because she "needed somebody who would let her be herself, who would look out for her".

But the relationship was soon discovered after gossip spread through the royal household. "It got so difficult and eventually he had to go," Diana said. "And, um, it was all found out and he was chucked out."

She also revealed the horror of finding her true love was dead - and suggests that Charles was deliberately cruel in breaking the news to her.

She was told while they were traveling to the 1987 Cannes Film Festival together in the back of a limo. "Charles told me that he was killed in a motorbike accident," she recalled.

"And that was the biggest blow of my life, I must say. That was a real killer. Charles thought he knew but he never, never had any proof. And he just jumped it on me like that and I wasn't able to do anything."

Just minutes after hearing the news, she had to put on her public face at the festival ceremony, not allowed to show her pain. "I sat there all day going through this huge high-profile visit to Cannes," she recalled. "Thousands of press. Just devastated.

"Of course it wasn't supposed to mean as much as it did." It was during these sessions that she voiced her concerns that Mannakee had been killed to hide a royal scandal.

"I think he was bumped off," she said. "But I will never know." Settelen doubts she really meant it. "I didn't get the feeling she fundamentally believed he was bumped off," he told NBC. "She had a doubt and wished people would talk about it. But it was more about someone really close to her being taken away."

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