Princess Diana’s former bodyguard has spoken out about how she feared for her life after the murder of her boyfriend, fashion designer Gianni Versace, on the 25th anniversary of her 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 shot him outside his Miami mansion on July 15, 1997, weeks before her own death had been .
Sansum had been hired 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 out about how she feared for her life after the murder of her boyfriend, 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 was left “in tears” after Versace was shot dead outside his Miami mansion on July 15, 1997, weeks before her was own death
“That’s when Versace was murdered,” Sansum said. “Back then, everyone thought it was some kind of assassination.
“She told me she was upset. She was visibly upset, she had cried a lot. I just met her on the yacht and she asked me really seriously, “Are you going to do this to me?”
“I was a bit shocked at the whole scene at the time. We were quite close…I just reassured her that we are a very professional team and that we will do our best to look after her and her boys.”
Weeks later, on August 31, 1997, Diana died 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 Hôtel Ritz Paris and former department store Harrods and Fulham FC.
In his book, he says he formed a close bond with Diana and the young princes, especially Harry.
Lee Sansum (wearing sunglasses) with Diana as she holidayed in St Tropez, France in 1997
Burnley-born Lee said Diana would wake up at 7am every day and chat to him. He said she was concerned for her own life after the murder of her fashion designer friend Gianni Versace, who was fatally shot outside his Miami Beach mansion in July 1997.
Lee also recalls Diana telling him that she wanted to live in America with Dodi as it was the only place she thought people wouldn’t try with her.
The martial arts expert said he immediately fell in love with young William and Harry, who, like their mother, were down-to-earth and friendly.
He recalls trying to teach the pair some kickboxing but they were too “timid”.
Growing up in a difficult part of Greater Manchester, Lee believed that you have to stand up to bullies and be tougher than your opponent to survive.
The letter Diana sent Lee after the trip in St Tropez thanks him for his service, which Lee now appreciates greatly
He had a career in the Royal Military Police which took him to ‘bandit country’ of South Armagh where he pulled an AWOL squaddie out of a honey trap just before an active IRA unit arrived to kill him.
He also worked covertly in Northern Ireland, joining 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 believe security officers who were following Diana, possibly British or a combined British-French team, either accidentally caused the accident or were in close proximity to the car when it happened.”
Lee, who is now a frequent public speaker, has a letter he received from the Princess 25 years ago after that summer vacation that he says he will always cherish.
The letter reads: “Dear Lee. William, Harry and I just wanted to say thank you for looking after us so well during our stay in St Tropez. We are aware that our presence together with that of the media has made your work extremely difficult and we apologize for that! However, we all had a magical ten days – which would not have been possible without your invaluable contribution, and for that we send you all our heartfelt thanks.”
The Bodyguard (Seven Dials) by Lee Sansum is out September 1 for £9.99.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-11163847/Dianas-former-bodyguard-reveals-moment-tearful-princess-asked-safe.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Diana’s former bodyguard reveals the moment the ‘tearful’ princess asked him if she was safe