Princess Diana cheated first in doomed marriage to Charles, former aide claims

A pocket of society still 'reveres' Princess Diana says Ian Lloyd

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Allan Peters, former royal protection officer, disputed the narrative claimed in hit Netflix series The Crown which suggested Charles was the first to engage in an affair. The show, which sparked outrage over the accuracy of its portrayal of events, tells the story of the heir to the throne engaged in an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles long before Diana ever played away.

The Crown is a drama. The show’s creator Peter Morgan has said that, while it has documented historical facts, it uses “artistic licence”.

Mr Peters, the Prince’s personal protection officer for nine years, says the account of Charles having an affair before Diana is inaccurate.

He told CCN Charles only rekindled his romance with the now Duchess of Cornwall after discovering that Diana was having an affair with another protection officer, the late Barry Mannakee in 1985.

This was just four years after they tied the knot in a ceremony beamed across the world.

Mr Mannakee was Diana’s personal protection officer for a year until 1986 when rumours of their affair saw him transferred.

A year later, he died in a road traffic collision which has prompted numerous unfounded conspiracy theories.

Speaking about the pair’s affair, Mr Peter said: “The popular perception is that the Prince of Wales was straying all the way through his marriage — and that is definitely, unequivocally, not the case.

“The first person that strayed was the Princess.

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“He went back to see Mrs Parker Bowles after he learned about her affair with Mannakee.”

Diana’s affair with Mr Mannakee is believed to have started in 1985 during a fishing trip to Balmoral in Scotland.

The version of events given by Mr Peters chimed with claims by Jonathan Dimbleby in his authorised biography of Charles published in 1994.

Explaining how he discovered the affair was taking place, he said: “I started to notice her behaviour was unusual whenever we were anywhere near Mannakee, so I decided to talk to her about it.

“For the first 20 minutes, she categorically denied it.

“But then she told me exactly what was going on: she was having some sort of relationship with Mannakee.”

He claimed Charles asked him why Diana was acting differently, and Mr Peters told CNN that he replied that he had better speak to her about it.

He claims that Charles told him: “Well, I’ve tried all that, and the only thing that seems to be upsetting her is that Barry Mannakee is going back to uniform.

“And, if she’s that upset, Barry can stay.”

He added: “At that stage, I was forced to say: ‘Well, Sir, if he stays, then I’m afraid I’ll have to leave’.

“And, I think, at that point, the penny dropped. He was utterly shocked and was clearly very upset.”

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