It’s been a minute since the Windsors brought up the fact that they’re BIG MAD about Netflix’s The Crown. The Crown producers and writers are just minding their business, filming the new season and not saying much of anything. Meaning, Prince Charles can’t stop himself from running to every friendly journalist to smear his dead ex-wife and issue third-party threats to sue Netflix. None of these people has ever heard of the Streisand Effect, and they’re just giving away millions of dollars in free publicity to The Crown and making the upcoming fifth season sound so dangerous and scandalous. LOL. Anyway, the fun’s over, because now Charles’s former protection officer Allan Peters is telling everyone that Diana cheated on Charles first, ipso facto Charles is simply a misunderstood hero and The Crown is full of slanderous lies!
Viewers of Netflix hit The Crown are left in no doubt who was to blame for the collapse of Prince Charles and Diana’s marriage: he’s shown sneaking off to renew his love affair with Camilla Parker Bowles while the Princess is left crying at the Palace. Now, however, one of the couple’s former royal protection officers has come forward to present a startlingly different version of events.
Allan Peters claims Charles did not start seeing Camilla romantically again (they had first met in their early 20s) until after he discovered Diana had been having a fling with fellow protection officer Barry Mannakee. And Peters was the one who informed Charles of his wife’s affair.
‘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,’ insists Peters, who worked for Diana for almost a decade. ‘The first person that strayed was the Princess. He went back to see Mrs Parker Bowles after he learned about her affair with Mannakee.’
This backs up Jonathan Dimbleby’s version of events. In his authorised biography of Charles, published in 1994, Dimbleby stated that Charles and Camilla renewed acquaintances in 1986. Mannakee had started protecting Diana in 1985. Their affair is said to have begun during a fishing expedition at Balmoral that year. In 1986, he was transferred from his royal role to the Diplomatic Protection Squad. A year later, Mannakee, then 39, was killed in a mysterious road accident. He was reported to have been struck by a 17-year-old driver while riding on a motorbike in East London, leading Diana to suggest he’d been ‘bumped off’.
Speaking in a new CNN documentary, Peters says of Diana: ‘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. The Prince of Wales approached me and said: ‘Why is the Princess behaving in the way she is? What on earth is the matter?’ So I said: ‘You’ve got to talk to her.’ And he said: ‘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.’
‘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.’
Peters adds of the finger-pointing of blame: ‘Nobody is the villain. In my view, everyone is the victim. [Charles] was under a lot of pressure to get married and she, too, was the victim of this whole process.’
The Barry Mannakee saga was already detailed in numerous books throughout the ‘90s. Even Diana had a lot to say about Mannakee, although she never said that they had an affair. By Diana’s account, he was a shoulder to cry on, a fatherly figure who complimented her and made her feel special because Charles couldn’t be bothered. Diana also believed that Charles had something to do with Mannakee’s mysterious death, for what it’s worth. All of that is beside the point though – it’s simply untrue that Charles was magically committed wholeheartedly to his marriage up until “Diana cheated first.” Charles was still seeing and sleeping with Camilla during his courtship with Diana. Charles continued having an emotional affair (if not a physical affair) with Camilla in the first years of his marriage to Diana as well. And Camilla was not the only one he was seeing. Kanga, anyone? I wonder if The Crown will deal with Kanga. They didn’t do anything with Barry Mannakee.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Getty.