Princess Diana’s former bodyguard has revealed he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder while guarding the royal and her two sons.
Lee Sansum, who had in a career as a military police officer, endured flashbacks from his emotionally grueling service in Northern Ireland during the Troubles while protecting Diana’s young princes William and Harry.
Mr Sansum, 56, now wants to be reuninted with recently married Harry, 33, so they can raise awareness of the mental health condition.
The ex-Royal Military Police officer told the Mirror: ‘Nobody knew it but I had PTSD even when I looked after the princess and her sons.
‘When I left the military there was no help whatsoever for people with any mental health problems.’
But despite the ex-serviceman’s glittering military career, he feared the stigma attached to mental health struggles would impede his work as a bodyguard.
Mr Sansum admits that he avoided seeking help or getting an official diagnosis at the time over fears it would affect his career – and become a permanent stain on his medical record.
The serviceman reached the rank of sergeant before leaving the Royal Military Police in 1995 and going on to guard a host of a A-List celebrities.
While working for wealthy tycoon Mohamed Fayed, whose son Dodi was in a relationship with Diana, Mr Sansum was appointed to look after the princess, William and Harry during their 1997 Saint-Tropez holiday – just weeks before the horror crash that claimed her life.
Shortly after his posting in Saint-Tropez, Diana wrote to him thanking him warmly for this work which allowed the family a ‘magical ten days’.
Mr Sansum told the Mirror how how he suffered from nightmares and flashbacks which were becoming worse by the time he was assigned Diana as a subject.
At least 23 ex-personnel have died in suspected suicides this year, Mr Sansum hopes to raise awareness about the dangers of poor medical health among former servicemen and women with the help of Harry.
Along with his friend Major Joe Sheppard, 54, Mr Sansum has set up his own veterans’ support group on Facebook called Improve Your Lifestyle With Lee And Joe.
Mr Sansum added: ‘PTSD is like a dark cloud. It can be triggered by anything, like a smell or a time of year.’