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Princess Diana heartbreak: Devastating reason royal was dubbed ‘prisoner of war’

‘Diana: The Truth Behind the Interview’ airs tonight and is set to explore the impact her bombshell discussions with BBC’s ‘Panorama’ 25 years ago had on her relationship with her husband Prince Charles, and other members of the Firm. The Channel 4 documentary will no doubt revisit the moment she addressed the extramarital activities of her then-husband Charles, who had been having an affair with his future wife Camilla Parker Bowles. During the broadcast she famously told interviewer Martin Bashir that “there were three of us” in the marriage, claiming the relationship had become “a bit crowded”.

Among the other difficulties Diana discussed were her past struggles with bulimia, as well as how she dealt with the glaring media spotlight, which followed the Princess until the day she died.

But in another revelation before the interview aired in 1995, one year before she officially divorced Charles, author Andrew Morton recalled how Diana was also facing another battle – this time with claustrophobia.

Writing in ‘Diana: Her True Story’, Mr Morton exposed how the condition, described as an extreme or irrational fear of confined places, took hold of her life.

The author even revealed how friends of Diana’s had a devastating nickname for the panicked royal.

He wrote in 1992: “She was a hostage to fortune, held captive by her public image, bound by the constitutional circumstance of her unique position as the Princess of Wales and a prisoner of her day to day life.

“Her friends refer to the acronym POW as meaning ‘prisoner of war’.

“Indeed the cloying claustrophobia of royal life merely serves to exacerbate her genuine fear of confined spaces.”

He explained that the panic was “brought home” when she went to the National Hospital for a body scan “because her doctors feared she may have a cervical rib”, a benign growth that often traps nerves below the shoulder blade.

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Mr Morton added: “Like many patients, once she was inside the enclosed scanning machine, she felt very panicky and needed to be calmed down with a tranquilliser.

“It meant that an operation which should have lasted 15 minutes took two hours.”

Diana tragically died in a Paris car crash in 1997, and many have since reflected on the nature of the BBC interview and how it shaped the rest of her life.

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At the time, royal insiders were said to be horrified by the outcome of the interview, which reportedly infuriated the likes of Diana’s son Prince William.

Among others to comment on it were Diana’s former private secretary Patrick Jephson, who claimed in tonight’s documentary that Diana “deeply regretted” carrying out the interview.

‘Diana: The Truth Behind the Interview’ airs at 9pm on Channel 4 tonight.

‘Diana: Her True Story’ was published by Pocket Books and is available here.


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