Princess Diana ‘battered into submission’ by public marriage collapse, says ex-bodyguard

Lee Sansum guarded Princess Diana on her holiday to St. Tropez (Image: REX/Shutterstock)

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A bodyguard who watched over Diana in her final weeks has told how the People’s Princess had been “battered into submission” by the brutal breakdown of her marriage being played out in public.

Lee Sansum said criticism and intrusion into her life – which intensified following her TV interview and subsequent divorce – had left her like a prizefighter who had taken too many blows.

The former military cop, who guarded Diana and her sons on a holiday in St Tropez in July 1997 – the month before she died – said: “It was like when a fighter is knocked down for the last time and they are just done.

“She’d been screwed over badly.”

Sansum, 58, was employed by tycoon Mohammed Al-Fayed and struck up a rapport with Diana.

Princess Diana

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He says the princess sent a personal note – also signed by sons William and Harry – thanking him for taking care of them.

Sansum reserved stinging criticism for Martin Bashir over the Panorama saga which has engulfed the BBC.

He said: “There are absolutely grounds for an investigation – she was used.”

Sansum was one of 278 witnesses who gave evidence to an inquest into the tragedy in 2008.

It concluded Diana, 36, and new boyfriend Dodi Fayed had been unlawfully killed by drunk chauffeur Henri Paul – who also died – and the driving of the paparazzi photographers who followed them through the Alma tunnel in Paris on August 31, 1997.

Princess Diana and Trevor Rhys Jones in Saint-Tropez
(Image: Alpha Photo Press Agency Ltd)

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Looking back, Sansum said he is troubled by how Diana’s sanity was continually questioned while she was exploited by others for their own gain.

He said: “A lot of people said the princess was crazy but I’m trained in various things such as human behaviour.

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“I didn’t see any signs of the craziness she was alleged to have. She was just a normal person. Can you imagine being told you’re crazy but you’re not? It must be an awful feeling.

“She was the most balanced, lovely, caring woman. She was a wonderful mother. She was witty and fun.”