Thanks to four seasons of The Crown, the general public is much more aware of the royal family’s romantic relationships. While Season 3 of the royal Netflix series dove into the romance between Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles, Season 4 has dedicated much of its time to the ebb and flow of the Prince and the Princess of Wales’s marriage, including the extramarital relationships had by both royals.
Here’s what you need to know about Prince Charles’s and Princess Diana’s affairs.
In Season 4 of The Crown, Diana’s relationship with her bodyguard was only briefly joked about by Princess Anne, played by Erin Doherty. However, in real life, Barry Mannakee was apparently an important presence in Diana’s life.
According to OprahMag.com, Diana detailed her feelings for Mannakee in private recordings with her voice coach, Peter Settelen. In the tapes, which were released following Diana’s death, the princess described the bodyguard as the “greatest love” she’d ever had. According to Diana, she’d 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.”
Although she didn’t name Mannakee in the tapes, he’s the most likely candidate, as she revealed that her “greatest love” died in a motorcycle accident in 1987, which is how Mannakee tragically passed away. According to The Associated Press, Diana revealed in the Settelen tapes that she believed Mannakee’s death was planned. “It was all found out and he was chucked out. And then he was killed,” the princess explained. “And I think he was bumped off. … We’ll never know. He was [the] greatest fella I’ve ever had.” She also said of him, “I was only happy when he was around. … I was like a little girl in front of him the whole time.”
Diana’s romance with James Hewitt was also mentioned in The Crown Season 4. It would seem that Diana’s relationship with the cavalry officer began after her romance with Mannakee ended. According to Anna Pasternak’s book Princess in Love (via OprahMag.com), Hewitt revealed that his relationship with the princess took place from 1986 to 1991. Further, the BBC reported that Lady Diana “stopped taking Hewitt’s telephone calls” in 1992.
Hewitt revealed in the 1999 book Love and War that the affair started after the Princess of Wales asked him to give her riding lessons. “Only one thing went wrong,” he revealed. “We fell in love.”
In an essay for The Daily Mail, Pasternak wrote, “Hewitt was regularly bundled into car boots and driven to Kensington Palace when their affair ensued. He told me he was terrified the first night he stayed in Kensington Palace, relieved at least that Charles and Diana had separate bedrooms. Apparently, she had 30 childhood cuddly toys lining the end of her bed.”
In a 1995 interview with BBC’s Panorama, the princess admitted to her relationship with Hewitt and addressed his involvement in the writing of the tell-all book Princess in Love. “Yes, I adored him,” Diana said. “Yes, I was in love with him. But I was very let down.”
According to Honey, Diana often turned to her old friend James Gilbey during her tumultuous marriage to Charles. Described as “the heir to a large gin fortune,” Gilbey and Diana reportedly reconnected in the late ’80s and found themselves at the center of a scandal when a recording of one of their phone conversations was leaked.
Known as “Squidgygate,” on account of the nickname Gilbey called Diana throughout the recording, the convo heard the pair speaking about New Year’s Eve in 1989. Per Honey, what started as an innocent chat seemingly became more intimate, with Gilbey alluding to “playing with himself” and asking Diana to kiss him. However, Gilbey has reportedly maintained that he was friends with Diana and nothing else.
According to The Mirror, Diana began an affair with art dealer Oliver Hoare in 1992. For reference, Charles and Diana announced their separation in December 1992. The Princess of Wales had known Hoare for quite some time when the alleged affair began, as he was close friends with her husband.
The Sun reported that Diana began an affair with Hoare shortly after her father, Earl Spencer, died in March 1992. Hoare was 16 years her senior, and the affair allegedly ended when his wife threatened to file for divorce unless he ended his romance with Diana.
Camilla Parker Bowles
Having dated in the early ’70s, Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles remained close, even after they’d both married other people. According to People, the former couple resumed their physical relationship in 1986 during their marriages.
In early 1993, the couple’s affair was confirmed when a tape recording of an inappropriate phone conversation between the pair that took place in 1989 was leaked, creating scandal for the royal family. In her 1995 interview for BBC One’s Panorama, Diana famously said, “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” Camilla filed for divorce in January 1995, while Charles and Diana finalized their divorce in August 1996.
While the prince has been linked to several women throughout his life, the majority of his alleged romances took place before he was married to Diana. However, as Town & Country noted, the book Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate, and the Throne alleged that Charles had a big crush on Barbra Streisand and that something romantic might have happened between the unlikely pair.
Author Christopher Andersen told Inside Edition that after meeting Streisand on the set of Funny Girl in 1974, “Flash forward 20 years, he’s back in Los Angeles and they had a secret rendezvous at the Bel Air Hotel that no one knows about. Something was going on and Diana knew all about it.” However, it’s unclear if there is any truth to this particular rumor.
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