Ex-bodyguard: Security lapses led to Diana death
PUBLISHED: 16:25 05 August 2009 | UPDATED: 15:37 16 August 2010
A FORMER bodyguard of Princess Diana says she would still be alive if he had been providing security for her on the night she was killed. Ken Wharfe, who was accused of betraying the Princess of Wales after publishing his memoirs, is set to talk about t
A FORMER bodyguard of Princess Diana says she would still be alive if he had been providing security for her on the night she was killed.
Ken Wharfe, who was accused of betraying the Princess of Wales after publishing his memoirs, is set to talk about the 13 years he spent protecting the world's most famous woman at Croydon's Fairfield Halls this month.
Speaking to the Times, he described Mohammed Al Fayed's security on the fateful night as a "massive c**k-up" but said the idea she was killed by MI5 was "absolute nonsense". He added: "In the 13 years Diana received protection from the Met, safety was never once compromised. Within seven weeks of Al Fayed providing security she was dead. It was an accident that could have been avoided. That charade in Paris, it was mismanagement, a massive c**k-up."
SAS-trained Mr Wharfe, 61, a former police officer, was appointed as Diana's personal guard in 1987. He says he spent years as a close friend and confidant who "shared her most private moments".
After being made a member of the Victorian Order by the Queen in 1997, just months after Diana's death, he sparked a furore in 2006 by publishing Diana: Closely guarded secret, which included accounts of her affairs and private life.
He faced the wrath of the royal family, including Princes Harry and William, and former Met colleagues, but defended his decision to tell tales of the time he spent with her. Mr Wharfe said: "I received a lot of flak for that book but I wanted people to know the truth. I was like 'what is the problem here?' I had a fantastic time with Diana, travelling all over the world. I wanted people to know about the woman who significantly changed the face of the Royal Family. The establishment didn't like what I did. They wanted me to go quietly."
He recalls his time working for Diana as some of the best years of his life. He has a wealth of memories which he looks back on fondly, among them the time the two of them travelled to Dorset in 1992.
Mr Wharfe said: "I had a house down there and she used to say to me: 'I want to come down. It must be great fun doing normal things.' I asked her what she wanted to do and she said: 'I'd love to walk on a beach in this country.' So we went down, just the two of us. Sometimes that is the best protection when nobody else knows.
"I gave her a radio and said: 'Follow the shoreline and I shall see you round there in about an hour.' After a while my radio crackled into life and I could hear her laughing. I asked her if she was okay and she said: 'You didn't tell me about the nudist beach.' It was a great day, nobody knew we did that."
Mr Wharfe resigned as her protector in November 1993 and four years later he was back in the same house in Dorset when he received a text telling him to ring his boss urgently.
He said: "He told me he had some bad news - Diana had been involved in a car accident. I drove back to London that night."
Despite his resignation, Mr Wharfe was still held in high esteem by the Royals and was called in to head up the security in Westminster Abbey during Diana's funeral. He said: "It was a sad day but a warming day. It was a privilege to work with Diana in the good times and the bad times. It was a terribly sad loss. You try to remain professional but it was very easy to step over that line. Maybe I got too close to that line. You did become a friend because that was Diana's personality."
He is no longer in contact with the Royals, but is reluctant to speak of any possible ostracism. He said: "They're an odd lot. Once you go, you go. Nobody is irreplaceable, no matter how good you think you are at your job. Paul Burrell was a good butler but he was possessive, which often happens with domestic staff, particularly in royal households. They are all vying for the eyes and ears of the boss. He fantasised about the role he played."
Mr Wharfe now spends his time heading up his own security consultancy and is still involved in the media.
He appears at Fairfield Halls at 1.05pm on August 25. Tickets cost £5 and can be booked at www.fairfield.co.uk.