'Diana: Case Solved': Princess Diana's butler speaks out on 'movement' to 'undermine' her (Exclusive)

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For as many people that Princess Diana inspired throughout her life, there were secretly just as many who she rubbed the wrong way.

Or, so says explosive new book, "Diana: Case Solved," which claims to be "the definitive account that proves what really happened" to the so-called People's Princess, who tragically died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

SEE ALSO: 'Diana: Case Solved': Bombshell new interview casts 'suspicious' shadow on Princess Diana's death

In an exclusive excerpt from the tell-all book, which features the first-ever interview with the man who was driving the car that reportedly hit Diana's that fateful night, available only on AOL, several experts on the late princess, including her longtime butler Paul Burell, speak out about the different sides of Diana that the public wasn't as familiar with.

Below is the exclusive excerpt from "Diana: Case Solved." To get the full story, order the book here.

Diana: Case Solved, $22.49

To understand what might have happened at Diana’s end, we have to go back to the beginning. We have to see what she was, who she became . . . and who was angered by it.

With the whole world watching, the shy young schoolteacher married her handsome prince on July 29, 1981, but this would not be her happily ever after. The relationship was plagued by secrets and infidelity from the start.

To understand Diana, we must understand the deep loneliness of Diana’s time at the palace, from her isolation from Charles to the icy royal snobbery served up to her as an outsider. We must also appreciate her bouts of depression, bulimia, and self-harming, and how after she produced the required “heir and a spare” sons, William and Harry, her usefulness was effectively over. As Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles—who was nicknamed “The Rottweiler” by Diana— resumed their affair, Diana also sought comfort in the arms of other men . . . with sometimes tragic consequences, as in the case of bodyguard-lover Barry Mannakee, who, in 1987, shortly after their affair was discovered, died in a mysterious car crash.

Outside the palace walls, however, the press provided the attention she so desperately craved and soon Diana’s every move became front-page news. The rogue princess was born—and as the paparazzi grew more insatiable, Charles’s resentment of her popularity increased.


The woman they called the “people’s princess” and the “queen of hearts” was lauded with extraordinary affection. But the final year of Diana’s life was far more complicated; behind the headlines and photos, the Princess had cultivated enemies that could have cost her life. Yet, for most of the public, these enemies were invisible and unknown. The legions of admirers knew only Diana, and could not fathom that anyone would or could want to harm such a loving and dedicated woman.

As Diana’s biographer Tina Brown put it in an exclusive interview, “Diana had charisma. . . . She had this great accessibility in which she always made everyone she spoke to feel as if she were only connecting with them.”

Put another way, people took Diana personally. She meant something to them. It went beyond being relatable; there was empathy and sympathy. She was painfully shy and had been thrust into the limelight of the world’s stage. There had been royals before—and would be royals after—but Diana was the first true superstar. What must this burden have been like? Many shuddered to imagine the burden on the poor girl’s shoulders. They felt protective of her.

And Diana touched millions in this way. Her adoring public hung on every word that she said, every item that she wore, every time she changed her hairstyle. Even her facial expressions in newsreels were powerfully meaningful to many. Explains Tina Brown:

You could tell what she thought from the flush of her face and her big, huge, luminous blue eyes that welled with emotion when she looked at you, and made you feel completely connected. She had this great accessibility in which she always meant everybody she spoke to feel as if she was connecting only to them. That was who she was. That combination of her stature, her incredibly refined beauty, that wonderful peachy skin that was just flawless. Then, this great accessibility and kindness where she was able to connect with people in this very human way. In a rope line, she would get down on her knees and bend down and talk to the children as if she was their mom, and she would have great personal conversations with people and made them feel very special.

Indeed, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that Diana’s beauty far surpassed those of other royals. She was literally stunning, sometimes rendering those who met her utterly speechless. Her grin could disarm the powerful and make people forget themselves utterly. On television it was one thing; but in person and up close, it was truly a kind of magic.

Yet the magic died forever in the early hours of August 31, 1997. Diana’s light was snuffed out forever, and in highly suspicious circumstances.


Among many other things, Diana’s death had the effect of freezing her in time. She would never grow wrinkled or old, or suffer any of the indignities that come with age. Her failing and foibles would be, mostly, concealed. She would not make a slip of the tongue or rash statement in anger that might betray a secret. She would stay as she was—as she had been in people’s minds—forever.

As Ingrid Seward, royal expert and editor of Majesty magazine, said:

It was like a Greek tragedy, the whole of her life. . . . Diana was so many different people whirled into one that she was endlessly fascinating. She was one thing to me, and she would’ve been one thing to somebody else, and it depended on her mood of the day. Because her life ended in such a terrible tragedy, she will be like Marilyn Monroe. She will be an icon forever. . . . Because certain people in certain parts of the world are determined to believe that there was a conspiracy theory, the rumblings will always go on.

But to tell the story in this book, we are forced to tell the story of another Diana. The one behind closed doors. The one whose life was—to put it indelicately—a complete mess. Diana doubted herself. She was self-conscious about her own body, and feared that those who admired her were insincere. Further, she believed she had alienated herself from the very people she desired to be closest to, including husband Charles, Prince of Wales (the heir apparent to the British throne), whose wandering eye—and hands—would stab Diana in the heart.

Interviewed exclusively for this book, Diana’s butler of many years, Paul Burrell, expounded on the alienation Diana felt.

I think the royal family take the view that things happen. The queen knows. She’s never interfered in any of her children’s relationships. Her attitude is they make their beds, they lie on them, and they have to get on with it.

These things aren’t spoken about. They happen but they happen in private and very quietly.

I stood beside the queen for a long time. I know how she performs, and I know what her attitude would be. The queen would say to Diana, “It’s your husband. You have to sort out this situation. It’s nothing to do with me.”

She does not interfere until it upsets the apple cart, until it comes to a situation where it involves the constitution of the monarchy—or the country.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles together
See Gallery
Princess Diana and Prince Charles together
BALMORAL, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 06: Prince Charles With His Fiance Lady Diana Spencer During A Photocall Before Their Wedding While Staying At Craigowan Lodge On The Balmoral Estate (exact Day Date Not Certain) (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
BALMORAL - AUGUST 19: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Princess Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a suit designed by Bill Pashley, pose for a photo on the banks of the river Dee in the grounds of Balmoral Castle during their honeymoon on August 19, 1981 in Balmoral, Scotland. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 29: On July 29, 1981, Lady Diana SPENCER (aged 19) married Prince CHARLES (aged 32) at Buckingham Palace. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 29: Prince Charles And Princess Diana On The Balcony Of Buckingham Palace On Their Wedding Day. The Princess Is Wearing A Wedding Dress Designed By David And Elizabeth Emanuel. The Prince Is Wearing Naval Dress Uniform. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
LONDRES, ROYAUME-UNI - 10 MARS: Lady Diana et le Prince Charles discutant avec la Princesse Grace de Monaco au Goldsmith's Hall, le 10 mars 1981 a Londres, Royaume-Uni. (Photo by Keystone-France\Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Queen Elizabeth joins the Prince and Princess of Wales on a Buckingham Palace balcony following their London wedding. (Photo by � Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
The Prince and Princess of Wales arrive back at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland after their honeymoon, September 1981. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
The Prince and Princess of Wales at the Braemar Highland Games in Scotland, September 1981. She wears a tartan suit by Caroline Charles and a tam o'shanter hat. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
Prince Charles Prince Charles and the Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997, later Diana, Princess of Wales) at Caernarvon Castle during an official tour of Wales, 27th October 1981. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 22: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales leave St Mary's Hospital in Paddington with their baby son, Prince William (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Prince Charles and Princess Diana at Uluru, Northern Territory on 21 March 1983. . (Photo by Gerrit Fokkema/The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 04: The Prince And Princess Of Wales With The Queen Attending The Braemar Games In Scotalnd (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Melbourne, Australia: Princess Diana and the Prince of Wales share a joke with Australian comedian Paul Hogan at a gala performance in Melbourne, April 14th.
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) and Prince Charles arrive for a state reception in Hobart, Tasmania, 30th March 1983. The princess is wearing the Spencer family tiara and a dress by Bruce Oldfield. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 28: The Prince And Princess Of Wales Attending A Charity Ball In Sydney During A Trip To Australia (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) and Prince Charles leaving St Mary's Hospital, London with their new-born son Prince Harry, September 1984. The Princess is wearing a red coat by Jan van Velden. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) and Prince Charles at an Italian naval base at La Spezia, 20th April 1985. Charles is wearing a naval Commander's uniform, while Diana is wearing a white coat dress by Catherine Walker. (Photo by Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
The Prince and Princess of Wales visit a church in Florence during their tour of Italy, April 1985. The Princess is wearing a suit by Jasper Conran. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
VATICAN - APRIL: Diana Princess of Wales with Prince Charles have an audience with Pope John Paul II in the Vatican, Rome, Italy in April 1985 during the Royal Tour of Italy.Diana wore a black lace dress designed by Catherine Walker. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) and Prince Charles on a skiing holiday in Malbun, Liechtenstein, January 1985. The princess is wearing a Head ski suit. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
WINDSOR - JUNE 29: Princess Diana, Princess of Wales kisses Prince Charles, Prince of Wales as she presents him with an award following a charity polo match at Windsor Great Park on June 29, 1985 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 9, 1985: (FILE PHOTO) In this file photo issued October 31, 2005, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and Princess Diana, the Princess of Wales meet President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Mrs Nancy Reagan at the White House on November 9, 1985 during an official visit to America in Washington DC, USA. Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales is taking his new wife Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall on a visit to the United States which begins formally on November 1, 2005 (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, CANADA - MAY 03: The Prince And Princess Of Wales During A Visit To Vancouver, Canada. She Is Wearing A Suit Designed By Fashion Designer Bruce Oldfield (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
LONDON - AUGUST 4: Prince Edward, Viscount Linley, Prince Charles, Diana, Princess of Wales and the Queen at the Queen Mothers 87th birthday celebration on August 4, 1987 at Clarence House in London, England. Diana wore a dress designed by Catherine Walker. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 26: The Princess Of Wales Presents A Medal To Her Husband, Prince Charles, After A Polo Match At Windsor (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 30: Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales at the Central Coast Surf Carnival at Terrigal Beach, Sydney, Australia (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MARCH 15: The Prince And Princess Of Wales attend a desert picnic on March 15, 1989 in Adu Dhab, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MARCH 16: The Prince And Princess Of Wales On A Walkabout In Dubai On The Gulf Tour. Diana's Outfit Is By Fashion Designer Catherine Walker And Hat By Milliner Philip Somerville. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997), wearing a Belville Sassoon dress, presenting Prince Charles with a trophy after competing at the Hola Cup polo match at the Guards Polo Club, Windsor, 29th June 1988. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
PARIS - NOVEMBER: Prince Charles and Diana Princess of Wales meet guests arriving at a dinner in the Elysee Palace in Paris, France in November 1988, during the Royal Tour of France. Diana wore a dress designed by Victor Edelstein. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)


The one area where Diana really came into her own was in her tireless devotion to charity work. Millions benefited in real, tangible ways from her crusades against land mines and the spread of HIV. And Diana always insisted that she should not be a figurehead only. She insisted on being in the trenches, sometimes literally.

As Burrell noted, “I remember the Red Cross once said to her, ‘We would like you to become an executive member of the board,’ and she said, ‘No, that’s not what I want. I want to be on the factory floor. I don’t want to be in the boardroom.’”

And truly, Diana moved mountains in the course of her charity work. But not everyone in power was pleased by the particular causes she championed. And some felt that such work might not be the proper place for a princess at all.

Observed Tina Brown:

There were people who felt that this is not what a royal person should be doing. She was constantly changing the rules and breaking the rules, and I would argue they were upset. [They felt] the rules that should not have been broken. Of course, since Diana, we have seen so many celebrities try to leverage their own fame in the same way that Diana did . . . but no one has had the same kind of global effect that Diana had.

Put bluntly, Diana’s charity work—the most rewarding and straightforward part of her life—eventually became yet another place where she ruffled feathers and made enemies.

Powerful enemies.

According to Paul Burrell:

There were factions around the world who said that Diana was meddling in something she didn’t understand because the land mine campaign was worth billions to certain countries, and the manufacturer of these land mines, and she was getting into very hot political and diplomatic water.

Land mines. HIV. These were highly sensitive areas with huge sums of money tied up on them. And Diana was successful at what she set out to do. This made her dangerous to the brokers of power.

But if Diana was making enemies in the powerful international arms trade, she was also angering those at the very top of the British establishment. When her feud with Prince Charles spilled from the private to the public arena, Diana became an embarrassment . . . and a liability.

Adds Paul Burrell:

Immediately, there was Team Prince of Wales and Team Diana. I was happily—by now—on Team Diana, and I thought I was on the winning side. I thought I was on the side that mattered most, but a lady-in-waiting whispered in my ear, “Oh, don’t you realize? Diana will be gone and forgotten within a couple of years, so you’re backing the loser. Remember who pays your wages. Remember where the money comes from. Remember who’s going to be king.”

All of that was being drilled into me as I gave my allegiance to Diana. Soon Diana was being undermined, seriously undermined, by Charles’s people. There was a movement.

For any person in a royal family, going through marital difficulties would come with the added strains of being in the public eye.

But to say Diana was merely “in the public eye” would be a gross understatement. She was the most photographed woman in the world, probably the most photographed in all of human history. Media outlets were building an empire on her. She had created an entirely new level of interest in and adulation for the royal family. Even the most hardened journalists and photographer realized that something uncannily special was going on.

Darryn Lyons owned one of the largest international photo agencies in the world and photographed Diana personally many times. Testifying as to the eerie power of the princess, he said:

Really, the hairs on the back of your neck stood up when the princess of Wales was in your presence. . . . It was just an extraordinary experience. . . . She was truly hypnotic for a photographer, and truly an extraordinary experience to photograph.

It was a penny for her thoughts, the world around her. Although, the penny turned into a multimillion-dollar business of photographing her every movement, of every minute of every day. I think she was the first of the great royal supermodels as well.

Yet crucial to understanding her life and death is to understand that Diana was not only under the surveillance of photographers looking to get the next great cover shot. She was under almost constant surveillance by the secret services. She received the kind of security attention usually reserved for the leader of a nation. We know for certain that agencies such as the CIA kept files on her, but those spy agencies have always refused to make any of their collected information public.

For more, order "Diana: Case Solved" here.

9 secrets about Princess Diana no one knew about until after her death
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9 secrets about Princess Diana no one knew about until after her death

She recorded her thoughts on tape

Much of what we know about Princess Diana’s personal life is thanks to audiotapes she recorded herself. Once she recognized her marriage to Prince Charles was falling apart, she documented her side of the story on a tape recorder and gave the tapes to her close friend, Dr. James Colthurst. He, in turn, gave them to journalist Andrew Morton so her words could get out to the public. From those tapes, Morton published the biography DIANA: Her True Story—In Her Own Words in 1992. No one knew Diana had a hand in the book’s production until after her death. Here are some more surprising facts you probably didn't know about Princess Diana.


Her sister dated Prince Charles

There are definitely ways to improve your relationship with your sibling, but we’re not sure if sharing a boyfriend is one of them. Before Diana and Charles started going steady, he dated her sister, Sarah. She introduced the two when Diana was just 16 and takes credit for their falling in love, calling herself Cupid.


Her grandmother worked for the queen

As prominent a public figure as Queen Elizabeth is, there’s still a lot that the public doesn’t know about her. One of those more intriguing bits of trivia is that the Queen Mother was close friends with Princess Diana’s grandmother, Ruth Fermoy. She was one of Her Majesty’s ladies-in-waiting and later held the title Woman of the Bedchamber, which meant that she was the Queen’s right-hand woman and assisted with important social engagements. Here are some more facts (and scandals!) you never knew about Queen Elizabeth II.


She and her husband were related

The royal family tree can get pretty complicated, but don’t worry, there’s nothing incestuous about this marriage. Princess Di and Prince Charles were distantly related. Specifically, they were 16th cousins once removed, through King Henry VII.


She had a poor sex life

In her tape recordings, Princess Diana discussed her married life in great detail, even calling her wedding day “the worst day of her life.” Specifically, she talked at length about her lack of a sex life, saying that she and her husband had sex but it was “very odd.” By the time she made the recordings, their sex life had been going downhill for seven years. She went on to say, “There was no requirement for (sex) from his case. Sort of once every three weeks… and I kept thinking it followed a pattern. He used to see his lady (Camilla) once every three weeks before we got married.” Learn more about the real story of what happened between Charles and Diana.


She messed up her wedding vows

In hindsight, Princess Diana messing up her wedding vows may seem like a sign her marriage was bound to fail, but in reality, she just caught a case of wedding day jitters. During the vows, she called her husband “Philip Charles” instead of “Charles Philip,” mixing up his first and middle names. Here are some more little mistakes that happened on royal wedding days.


She ate in the kitchen

It was against royal family etiquette to eat in the kitchen with staffers and not in a dining room, but Princess Diana was no stranger to breaking protocol. Her personal chef, Darren McGrady, said she would just walk into the kitchen and eat at a countertop while he tidied up, which was unheard of coming from any royal. She would even make coffee for the two of them. Check out these stunning, rarely seen photos of the People's Princess.


She attempted suicide

One of the most troubling revelations from Princess Diana’s audiotapes was that she struggled with depression and even attempted to take her own life. She said in her recordings, “I was so depressed, and I was trying to cut my wrists with razor blades.” She also talked about having bulimia and that the eating disorder started after Prince Charles put his hand on her waist and said, “A bit chubby here, aren’t we?”


She was harassed by the paparazzi

With three new documentaries about Princess Diana set to premiere, Prince William and Prince Harry are opening up about their memories of their mother. Some are uplifting, like how she involved them in her charitable work. But their recollections of Diana dealing with the paparazzi are disturbing. As Prince William says in the ITV and HBO documentary, Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy: “If you are the Princess of Wales and you’re a mother, I don’t believe being chased by 30 guys on motorbikes who block your path, who spit at you to get a reaction from you and make a woman cry in public to get a photograph, is appropriate. Harry and I, we had to live through that.” Here's how Prince Harry and Prince William are keeping their mother's memory alive twenty years after her death.



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