Princess Diana’s former bodyguard said that the late royal’s legacy is more “clearly visible” in Prince Harry as he has grown older, in a new book to be published ahead of the 25th anniversary of her death.
Ken Wharfe was a personal protection officer to Princess Diana from 1987 to 1993 and has written extensively about his time in royal service, including the upcoming book Diana: Remembering The Princess co-authored with journalist Ros Coward.
Wharfe worked closely with Prince William and Prince Harry at Kensington Palace, heading their security for a year before being assigned solely to Diana.
In an extract from his new book, run by the Mail on SundayWharfe recounted how Diana took pity on him for having been assigned to her two sons, calling them a “bloody nuisance.”
“I was shown into a drawing room where Diana was sitting on the sofa,” he wrote of his introduction at Kensington Palace. “William was attempting to play a piano and Harry was being an entertaining pest, standing on a table, picking apart some lilies in a vase. Immediately, Diana said to me: ‘I don’t envy you, Ken, looking after my kids —they can be a bloody nuisance.'”
Wharfe has written of this exchange as an example of the informality and warmth displayed by the late princess when interacting with members of her staff.
“That candid, informal exchange set the scene for the rest of our working relationship,” he wrote. “There wasn’t this barrier between Royalty and me, the policeman, the servant or whatever. It was more as though a sister or friend was speaking to me, and that was extraordinary.”
After his five years working for Diana, Wharfe resigned during the tumultuous falling out of her official separation from Prince Charles—a period in which the bodyguard described her behavior as “erratic.”
“It was around then I decided it was probably the right time to leave,” he wrote. “I simply felt that I couldn’t keep her safe any longer as her behavior was so erratic. I didn’t know at that point that, just a few weeks later, she would decide to live without any security cover. And that would ultimately lead to her death.”
Diana died four years later in a high-speed car crash while being driven with her partner, Dodi Fayed, through a tunnel in Paris. She had been dispensed with formal royal protection officers, though a private security guard hired by the Fayed family was in the car on the evening in question.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death. Last year, William and Harry came together to unveil a statue of her at her former home, Kensington Palace, on what would have been her 60th birthday. The princes’ relationship has been reportedly strained since Harry stepped down as a working member of the royal family and moved to the United States with his wife, Meghan Markle, and their son, Archie.
On how Diana would view Harry’s new role, Wharfe writes: “There is no doubt in my mind that she would completely understand the position Harry finds himself in and would probably have been jetting across the Atlantic on a regular basis to offer help.”
“William and Harry are very much their mother’s boys in so many ways, even though there are differences between them,” he continued. “Although William has perhaps reverted to a world away from the limelight when it comes to his children from him, he does try to engage and to bring a more modernized approach.
“But with Harry, we can see Diana’s legacy more clearly – and when he returns into the Royal fold, which I think he will do, I believe that will be even clearer.”
Since moving to the US, Harry has spoken openly about his mother and how he feels she would have supported the difficult life choices he has made over the past three years.
speaking to Today show host Hoda Kotb in April, the prince said he feels the spirit of his mother constantly.
“For me, it’s constant and it has been over the last two years,” he said. “More so than ever before. It’s almost as if she’s done her bit with my brother and now she’s very much helping me. She’s got him set up now she’s helping me set up. That’s what it feels like.”
the Today show appearance followed an interview he gave to People magazine in which he described his hope that he makes Diana proud.
“I certainly hope and believe everything I do makes her proud,” he said. “In the 12 short years I was lucky enough to have with her, I saw and felt the energy and lift she got from helping others, no matter their background, ailment or status. Her life and theirs was better for it—however short theirs or hers was.”
He added: “I honor my mother in everything I do. I am my mother’s son.”
Newsweek reached out to Ken Wharfe’s representatives for comment.
Diana: Remembering The Princessby Ken Wharfe and Ros Coward will be released in the UK on August 4.