In 1987, Ken Wharfe was appointed a personal protection officer to Diana. In charge of the Princess’s around-the-clock security at home and abroad, in public and in private, Ken Wharfe became a close friend and loyal confidant who shared her most private moments. After Diana’s death, Inspector Wharfe was honored by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace and made a Member of the Victorian Order, a personal gift of the sovereign for his loyal service to her family. His book, Diana: Closely Guarded Secret, is a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller. He is a regular contributor with the BBC, ITN, Sky News, NBC, CBS, and CNN, participating in numerous outside broadcasts and documentaries for BBC--Newsnight, Channel 4 News, Channel 5 News, News 24, and GMTV.
It was a strange sensation watching her walking away by herself, with no bodyguards following at a discreet distance. What were my responsibilities here? I kept thinking. Yet I knew this area well, and not once did I feel uneasy. I had made this decision--not one of my colleagues knew. Senior officers at Scotland Yard would most certainly have boycotted the idea had I been foolish enough to give them advance notice of what the Princess and I were up to.
Before Diana disappeared from sight, I called her on the radio. Her voice was bright and lively, and I knew instinctively that she was happy, and safe. I walked back to the car and drove slowly along the only road that runs adjacent to the bay, with heath land and then the sea to my left and the waters of Poole Harbour running up toward Wareham, a small market town, to my right. Within a matter of minutes, I was turning into the car park of the Bankes Arms, a fine old pub that overlooks the bay. I left the car and strolled down to the beach, where I sat on an old wall in the bright sunshine. The beach huts were locked, and there was no sign of life. To my right I could see the Old Harry Rocks--three tall pinnacles of chalk standing in the sea, all that remains, at the landward end, of a ridge that once ran due east to the Isle of Wight. Like the Princess, I, too, just wanted to carry on walking.
Suddenly, my radio crackled into life: “Ken, it’s me--can you hear me?” I fumbled in the large pockets of my old jacket, grabbed the radio, and said, “Yes. How is it going?”
“Ken, this is amazing, I can’t believe it,” she said, sounding truly happy. Genuinely pleased for her, I hesitated before replying, but before I could speak she called again, this time with that characteristic mischievous giggle in her voice. “You never told me about the nudist colony!” she yelled, and laughed raucously over the radio. I laughed, too--although what I actually thought was “Uh-oh!” But judging from her remarks, whatever she had seen had made her laugh.
At this point, I decided to walk toward her, after a few minutes seeing her distinctive figure walking along the water’s edge toward me. Two dogs had joined her and she was throwing sticks into the sea for them to retrieve; there were no crowd barriers, no servants, no police, apart from me, and no overattentive officials. Not a single person had recognized her. For once, everything for the Princess was “normal.” During the seven years I had worked for her, this was an extraordinary moment, one I shall never forget.
Larry King (The People's Princess: Cherished Memories of Diana, Princess of Wales, from Those Who Knew Her Best)