Diana's "greatest love" became her shoulder to cry on when things were just going downhill in her personal life with her failing marriage with Prince Charles.
Sometimes we think we love somebody and dedicate our lives towards feeling the same forever. Eventually, the sparks die because since the beginning it was a lie or we lose them to something inevitable. But somewhere along the way, we meet someone who brings back the tingles in our bones, makes our heart race. We find love, again. Diana found love, but no, it wasn't who you think it is.
When Prince Charles and Diana exchanged vows, while the world rejoiced, their 15 years together weren't filled with love. According to The Sun, Diana revealed her "greatest love" in a documentary Diana: In Her Own Words and it wasn't Prince Charles, Dodi Fayed, or James Hewitt. It was Barry Mannakee, her bodyguard. But as they grew closer, he was removed from his position.
Broadcasted on Channel 4, while speaking to her speech coach and actor Peter Settelen, she revealed, "When I was 24 or 25 I was deeply in love with someone who worked in this environment [security]. But then he was chucked out and he was killed," reported Independent UK. She continued, "Eventually he had to go and then three weeks after he left he was killed in a motorbike accident. He was the greatest love I've ever had, and that was a real killer."
Mannakee, a police officer, was Diana's bodyguard from 1985 to 1986 and was responsible for driving her around to venues, protect her from unwanted attention, and accompany her wherever she goes. Talking about him she admitted that she would have been "quite happy to give all this up and to just go off and live with him. And he kept saying he thought it was a good idea too." She said she was "deeply in love" with him.
The bodyguard who strikingly looked like a Bond character became a support system for Diana when her marriage was crumbling down. Their closeness and “over-familiar behavior” was said to be the reason for Mannakee's transfer to the Diplomatic Protection Squad, in 1986. According to Diana, he was “chucked out” because many suspected that they shared more than a friendship.
"If senior officers suspect even a whiff of overfamiliarity between the principal and PPO, then that officer will be reassigned to desk duties," explained Editor of Royal Central, Charlie Proctor. Though Diana stood firm in stating that Mannakee was a “father figure” in her life and their relationship was “never sexual," there were pictures of them that stated otherwise. They could be seen smiling and pretty close to one another.
Mannakee was just 39 when he passed away in an accident in 1987. He was riding on a motorcycle with his friend PC Steven Peat when a Ford Fiesta car collided with them on the A11 in Essex. He had been married to a reflexologist, Susan, at that time and had two kids. Even though all evidence stated that it was an accident, Diana believed that he was “bumped off” which gave rise to conspiracy theories of the duo's relationship being behind it all.
In the book, Diana: Her True Story, royal biographer Andrew Morton revealed that Diana had her suspicions about the incident. In 2017, he wrote in The Sunday Times magazine, “The princess suspected that he had been killed in an establishment plot and asked me to find out if her ideas had any credibility,” according to The Sun.
He added, “Diana was never entirely convinced [that it was an accident] and later visited a clairvoyant. ‘I hesitated about asking her [the clairvoyant] questions about Barry because — well, I don’t know — I just hesitated, but I’ve always had a question mark about his death,’ the princess explained."
He also revealed that Diana had confessed that Mannakee meant “an awful lot to me... and looked after me," adding further that she used to make annual visits to his grave at City of London crematorium in Redbridge wearing an oversized headscarf. After her tragic and fatal accident in 1997, as part of Operation Paget, Mannakee's death was reinvestigated during the inquiry which was overseen by police commissioner Sir John Stevens.
In the candid recording, Diana revealed some intimate details about her relationship with Prince Charles as well. She said, "He would ring me up every day and then not contact me for weeks, he wasn't very consistent in his courtship." She continued by giving details of her sexual intimacy with her husband and said, "Once every three weeks, and then it fizzled about seven years ago, six years ago."
The filmed recordings were in preparation for her infamous and sensational Panorama interview with Martin Bashir where she commented about Prince Charles' affair with then-Camilla Parker Bowles, reported Independent UK. It is also where she made the statement which is still remembered as iconic. "I lead from the heart and not the head. I do things differently because I don't go by a rule book."