Diana’s ex-bodyguard reveals the moment the ‘tearful’ princess asked her if she was safe

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Princess Diana’s former bodyguard has spoken of how he was left fearing for his life following the murder of his friend, fashion designer Gianni Versace, on the 25th anniversary of his death.

Lee Sansum, a former Royal Military Police officer, private military contractor and personal protection expert, told GMB how Diana was left “in tears” after Versace was shot dead outside his Miami mansion on July 15. 1997, weeks before his own death. .

Sansum had been assigned to look after Diana and her sons William and Harry during their stay at Al-Fayad’s 30-bedroom villa in St Tropez that summer.

He has written a book about his experiences that will be published tomorrow.

Princess Diana's former bodyguard has spoken of how he was left fearing for his life after the murder of his friend, fashion designer Gianni Versace (pictured together in 1985)

Princess Diana’s former bodyguard has spoken of how he was left fearing for his life after the murder of his friend, fashion designer Gianni Versace (pictured together in 1985)

Lee Sansum, pictured, a former Royal Military Police officer, private military contractor and personal protection expert, told GMB how Diana stayed

Lee Sansum, pictured, a former Royal Military Police officer, private military contractor and personal protection expert, told GMB how Diana was left “in tears” after Versace was shot dead outside his Miami mansion on July 15, 1997, weeks before her. own death

“It was when Versace, when he was assassinated,” Sansum said. “At the time, everyone thought it was some kind of murder.

‘She was telling me she was upset. She was visibly upset, she had been crying a lot. I just bumped into her on the yacht and she asked me very seriously, “Are you going to do that to me?”

“I was a little bit surprised by the whole scene at the time. We were pretty close… I just reassured her that we were a very professional team and that we were going to take care of her and her children as best we could.’

Weeks later, on August 31, 1997, Diana was killed in a car accident along with Dodi Al-Fayed and their driver, Henri Paul.

At the time of Diana’s death, Sansum was part of the protection team of Mohamed Al-Fayed, owner of the Hôtel Ritz Paris and previously of Harrods department store and Fulham FC.

In his book, he says that he formed a close bond with Diana and the young princes, particularly Harry.

Lee Sansum (wearing sunglasses) with Diana on vacation in St Tropez, France, in 1997

Lee Sansum (wearing sunglasses) with Diana on vacation in St Tropez, France, in 1997

Burnley-born Lee said Diana woke up at 7am every day and chatted with him. She said she was concerned for her own life after the murder of her friend, fashion designer Gianni Versace, who was fatally shot outside her Miami Beach mansion in July 1997.

Lee also remembers that Diana told her that she wanted to live with Dodi in the United States, as it was the only place where she felt that people would not bother her.

The martial arts expert said he fell instantly in love with young William and Harry, who were down-to-earth and friendly, just like their mother.

He remembers that he tried to teach the two of them some kickboxing, but they were too “squeamish.”

Lee grew up in a tough part of Greater Manchester and believed that to survive you must stand up to bullies and be tougher than your opponent.

The letter that Diana sent to Lee after the trip to St Tropez, thanking him for his service, which Lee now treasures so much.

The letter that Diana sent to Lee after the trip to St Tropez, thanking him for his service, which Lee now treasures so much.

He had a career in the Royal Military Police that took him to the ‘Bandit Country’ of South Armagh, where he pulled an AWOL squad out of a honey trap moments before an IRA active duty unit arrived to kill him.

He also worked undercover in Northern Ireland and joined the SIB, the Army’s own internal affairs unit, before entering the world of private security, operating in world hotspots such as Libya and the breakaway state of Somaliland.

Lee added: “I think the security officers following Diana, possibly British or a combined British-French team, may have inadvertently caused the accident or were very close to the car when it happened.”

Lee, who now regularly participates in public speaking events, has a letter she received from the princess 25 years ago after that summer getaway, which she says she will always treasure.

The letter reads: ‘Dear Lee. William, Harry and I really wanted to write to you to thank you for looking after us so well during our stay in St Tropez. We realize that our presence, along with that of the media, made your work extremely difficult, and for that we apologize! However, we all had a magical ten days, which would not have been possible without your invaluable contribution and for that, we all send you our sincere thanks.’

The Bodyguard (Seven Dials) by Lee Sansum is out on September 1st for £9.99.

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