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Details About Princess Diana’s Alleged Affairs That ‘The Crown’ Brought To Light

Updated December 18, 2020 49.6k views13 items

It's taken four seasons, but Netflix's The Crown has finally reached the Princess Diana years. Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, has fascinated the world ever since her engagement to Prince Charles was announced in 1981. Almost immediately after she was first introduced, she eclipsed her husband's fame and became the most photographed woman in the world. Her fans loved her for her humanitarian work and her impeccable sense of style. But they loved her even more because of her sympathetic personal life. 

Diana and Charles's relationship was never a happy one. Charles never fully got over his relationship with his ex, Camilla Parker Bowles, which cast a pall over their entire marriage. Charles carried on an emotional affair with Camilla throughout his marriage with Diana, and it crossed over into a physical affair in 1985 (if not earlier). Meanwhile, Diana struggled with both a loveless marriage as well as her sudden, unwanted celebrity status. Since Charles didn't respect their marriage vows, Diana began having affairs of her own. 

James Hewitt is probably the best known of Diana's lovers, but he was by no means the only one. Here are all the details about the other men in Princess Diana's life. 

  • Diana Had Serious Reservations About Marrying Charles

    Although the royal family was enthusiastic about the heir to the throne marrying a daughter of nobility, Diana was reluctant to tie the knot. And so was Charles. When they announced their engagement in the spring of 1981, a journalist asked them if they were in love. Diana replied, "Of course," and Charles added, "Whatever 'love' means."

    Their personalities were a mismatch. Although Charles had grown up in the public eye, he was reserved and brooding. Diana was magnetic, but didn't seek fame. They also had little in common. They had a 12-year age difference. Diana was barely 20 when they married in 1981, and they had only been together 12 times before he proposed. 

    Diana's friend, astrologer Penny Thornton, claimed Charles told Diana the night before their wedding that he didn't love her, and was only going through with it out of a sense of duty. Diana wanted to call off the wedding, but her sisters talked her out of it. 

  • Diana Struggled With Stress And An Eating Disorder

    Besides their fundamental incompatibilities, another factor that strained their marriage was Charles's on-again, off-again relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles. Early in their marriage, Charles continued an emotional affair with Camilla.

    Diana was aware of their affection for each other. At one point, Diana overheard Charles in the bath having a phone conversation with Camilla when he told her, “Whatever happens, I will always love you."

    Charles and Diana fought often. With her difficult marriage, and feeling the pressure of her newfound celebrity and royal status, Diana developed bulimia. "My husband put his hand on my waistline and said: 'Oh, a bit chubby here, aren’t we?'" she later told biographer Andrew Norton. "And that triggered off something in me - and the Camilla thing, I was desperate, desperate.” 

    According to Diana, the royal family was completely unsympathetic. They blamed Diana's bulimia for all the turmoil in their marriage. Some members of the royal family even considered it to be a waste of food.

    Diana struggled with her eating disorder for several years before getting professional help, and she was open about it in the press. 

  • She Allegedly Had Her First Affair With Her Bodyguard

    The first person Diana had an affair with was probably her 39-year-old married bodyguard, Barry Mannakee. The Crown doesn't mention Mannakee by name or show him onscreen, but one scene does refer to Diana's dalliance with him. 

    The affair began in 1985, and the royal family soon heard about it. In response, they transferred him to the Diplomatic Protection Squad in 1986, effectively ending their relationship. Mannakee lost his life one year later in a motorcycle crash. 

    According to a videotape recorded by Diana's voice coach and released to the press in 1992, Diana was deeply in love with Mannakee and was "only happy when he was around." She believed his demise was no accident. When the tapes went public, police took another look at Mannakee's case and reconfirmed that it had been an accident.

    Authorities investigated Mannakee's passing once again after Diana's fatal collision in 1997, and reached the same conclusion. 

  • Diana's Next Affair Was With James Hewitt, And Began In 1986

    By 1986 at the latest, Charles and Camilla had resumed a physical relationship. After Barry Mannakee was transferred, Diana moved on to James Hewitt.

    He was a British Army officer and member of the Household Cavalry. When he and Diana met at a party in 1986, she was in the middle of a 39-day trial separation from Charles. Diana admitted to James a fear of horses, and he agreed to become her riding instructor. 

    Shortly after, Diana invited him to dinner at Kensington Palace, and they began seeing each other. Hewitt later claimed Diana initiated it.