Princess Diana’s former bodyguard has shared 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 Netherlands Marechaussee officer, private military contractor and expert on personal protection, told GMB how Diana was left “in tears” after Versace was shot and killed outside on July 15, 1997, weeks before her own death. his mansion in Miami. .
Sansum had been assigned to care for Diana and her sons William and Harry during their summer stay at Al-Fayad’s 30-bedroom villa in St. Tropez.
He has written a book about his experiences that will be published tomorrow.
Princess Diana’s former bodyguard has shared 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 Netherlands Marechaussee officer, private military contractor and expert on personal protection, told GMB how Diana was left “in tears” after Versace left his home on July 15, 1997, weeks before her death. mansion in Miami was shot dead. own death
“It was then Versace, when he was killed,” Sansum said. “At the time, everyone thought it was some kind of murder.
“She told me she was upset. She was visibly upset, she had cried a lot. I just ran into her on the yacht and she asked me very earnestly, “Are they going to do that to me?”
“I was a bit shocked by the whole scene at the time. We were very close… I just assured her that we were a very professional team and that we would take the best care of 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, the owner of Hôtel Ritz Paris and formerly Harrods department store and Fulham FC.
In his book, he says he had a close relationship with Diana and the young princes, especially Harry.
Lee Sansum (wearing sunglasses) with Diana while on holiday in St Tropez, France in 1997
Burnley native Lee said Diana would wake up every day at 7am and chat with him. He said she was concerned about 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 remembers Diana telling him she wanted to live with Dodi in America because it was the one place she thought people wouldn’t try her.
The martial arts expert said he immediately caught a glimpse of young William and Harry, who were level-headed and friendly, just like their mother.
He remembers trying to teach the two some kickboxing, but they were too “worried.”
Growing up in a tough part of Greater Manchester, Lee believed that to survive you have to face bullies and be tougher than your opponent.
The letter Diana Lee sent after the trip in St Tropez, thanking him for his service, which Lee now cherishes very much
He had a career with the Royal Netherlands Military Constabulary that took him to South Armagh’s Bandit Country, where he retrieved an AWOL squad from a honey trap just before an IRA active duty unit arrived to kill him.
He also worked undercover in Northern Ireland and joined the SIB, the military’s own internal affairs unit, before entering the world of private security, operating in the world’s hot spots, such as Libya and the breakaway state of Somaliland. .
Lee added: “I believe that security officers following Diana, possibly a British or a combined British-French team, either accidentally caused the crash or were near the car when it happened.”
Lee, who now speaks often in public, has a letter he received from the princess 25 years ago after that summer vacation, which he will cherish forever.
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, has made your job 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 thank you all very much.’
The Bodyguard (Seven Dials), by Lee Sansum, will be out September 1st for £9.99.