Diana: 'I have been unfaithful'

Princess says in TV interview she will 'fight to the end' before giving up royal role
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The Independent Online
PETER VICTOR

and LOUISE JURY

The Princess of Wales last night admitted before a nationwide television audience that she has had an adulterous affair.

Speaking on the BBC television programme Panorama, Princess Diana described her hurt at her husband's relationship with another woman, admitted she herself had been in love with another man, but said she did not want to divorce.

In her first ever solo television interview last night, the Princess appeared more than willing to bare her soul, speaking freely about the infidelities within the royal marriage, her depression and bulimia, her children, the media and the future of the monarchy.

BBC reporter Martin Bashir asked the Princess about her relationship with James Hewitt, who claimed to have had an affair with her. "Did your relationship go beyond a close friendship?"

She replied: "Yes it did, yes.

"Were you unfaithful?"

"Yes, I adored him. Yes, I was in love with him. But I was very let down."

Earlier, she said of Prince Charles's relationship with Camilla Parker- Bowles: "A woman's instinct is a very good one; obviously I had knowledge of it from people who minded and cared about our marriage.

"There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded. Friends of my husband's were indicating that I was unstable, sick and should be put in a home of some sort to get better so I wouldn't be an embarrassment."

The broadcast began with her speaking about herself in the third person, making it clear she had no intention of being sidelined: "She won't go quietly, that's the problem. I'll fight to the end, because I believe that I have a role to fulfil, and I've got two children to bring up."

Tanned and wearing a smart navy suit with a white blouse, the Princess always appeared composed, during the painfully frank interview.

She spoke of the problems of marrying into the Royal Family. "At the age of 19, you always think you're prepared for everything, and you think you have the knowledge of what's coming ahead. But although I was daunted at the prospect at the time, I felt I had the support of my husband-to- be."

Describing how she suffered from post-natal depression and did not want to get out of bed in the mornings, she said: "Nobody ever discussed post- natal depression; you have to read about it afterwards.

"It gave everybody a wonderful new label - Diana is mentally unbalanced - and that seems to have stuck over the years."

She went on to describe how she harmed herself and became bulimic. "I was ashamed that I couldn't cope and I hurt my arms and my legs. I suffered bulimia for a number of years. That's like a secret disease, you inflict it on yourself because your self-esteem is at a low ebb. People suggested a number of times that I was wasting food. That was pressure in itself."

Asked if a divorce would not resolve her relationship with Prince Charles in the eyes of the public, she said she did not want a divorce: "What about the children? Our boys - that's what matters, isn't it?"

She confirmed for the first time that the "Squidgygate" taped conversations with James Gilbey were genuine and that she had made a series of phone calls to the art dealer Oliver Hoare. Curiously, she was not asked about her friendship with the England rugby captain Will Carling.

The Princess described her husband's closest aides as the "enemy", a group of people causing her grief: "Well, the enemy was my husband's department, because I always got more publicity, my work was more, was discussed much more than him."

The Princess hinted that Charles was ambivalent about becoming king: "Being Prince of Wales produces more freedom now, and being King would be a little bit more suffocating ... it would bring enormous limitations to him, and I don't know whether he could adapt."

She denied she was responsible for any diminution of the Royal Family in the eyes of the public: "No, I don't feel blame. I mean, once or twice I've heard people say to me that, you know, 'Diana's out to destroy the monarchy', which has bewildered me, because why would I want to destroy something that is my children's future."

She did not think she would ever be Queen: "I'd like to be a queen of people's hearts, in people's hearts, but I don't see myself being Queen of this country. I don't think many people will want me to be Queen."

The interview, thought to have been one of the most-viewed programmes shown by the BBC, appears to have hardened views against her at Westminster. As the impact of the programme began to sink in, senior backbenchers were outspoken in their contempt for the Princess.

A former Tory whip said: "The idea the Princess of Wales can be Queen is barmy."

Inside

The Diana transcript

page 2

Gamble that raised

the stakes

page 3

Leading article

page 16

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