How Diana's affair with Oliver Hoare, 'the first man' who aroused her physically, stumped Prince Charles
A new book about what has gone on behind the walls of the Kensington Palace is all set to reveal details about the love affair between Princess Diana and Oliver Hoare. During his research for his upcoming book, 'Kensington Palace: An Intimate Memoir from Queen Mary to Meghan Markle', which is releasing on May 14, British author Tom Quinn spoke to quite a number of Kensington palace insiders, who dished out several never-before-heard secrets of the royal family.
One of the secrets included the juicy details about an alleged affair that the People's Princess had with a married man, Oliver Hoare, when she was still married to Prince Charles.
"Diana became seriously obsessed with Oliver Hoare — almost to a deranged extent," a palace employee told Quinn, as revealed by him in an op-ed published by the Daily Mail. "She'd wander around Kensington in disguise, looking for telephone boxes from which she made hundreds of calls to him. The affair eventually petered out. But it must have been heart-rending for Diana when a small parcel arrived — it contained a beautiful pair of her dead father's cufflinks that she'd given to Hoare as a present."
Hoare was a dealer in Islamic antiquities, who found himself in the highest echelons of society due to his good looks and charisma. He married French oil heiress Diane de Waldner in 1976 and struck up a friendship with Prince Charles in 1984. Diana began an affair with him in 1992 when the romance had already fizzled out from her marriage and there were rumors of the couple sleeping in separate bedrooms and going on vacations alone.
Diana and Charles officially split in December of the same year.
Despite being 16 years her senior, Hoare had a devastating effect on Diana. “She needed him at every conceivable moment. She confided to me that he was the first man who had ever aroused her physically. That admission did much to explain the humiliating events that followed," her former royal protection officer Ken Wharfe told The Sun.
She had been looking for a mature and supportive man. She didn’t have that in Charles and seemed to find it in Hoare. And so began the ritual of sneaking him into the Kensington Palace in a car boot.
“You knew when Hoare would be coming to visit because it was one of the few times Diana would order in champagne. She didn’t drink, but she’d always get a bottle of Krug on ice for him," a friend of Diana told Mirror. “They would love a quiet dinner together. They were quite boring when they got together, but Diana liked that. She liked having someone by her side, who worshipped her. She would dream of setting up home in Italy, then she wanted a chateau in France. For a while it was America. But when she realized all his toys were paid for by his wife, she knew it would never happen.”
During one such visit, Hoare was found huddled half-naked in the corridors of Kensington Palace. Apparently, Diana had kicked him out of her room at 3.30 am when he lit his cigar because she detested smoking.
"The fire alarm went off. Standing at the front of the house behind a huge potted plant was Oliver Hoare smoking. The cigar set the alarm off," Wharfe said.
They even exchanged gifts. Hoare bought Diana a gold bracelet that she kept until she died in 1997. On the other hand, Diana had gifted him a pair of her late dad's cufflinks.
A year into the relationship, both Charles and Diane de Waldner came to know about the secret affair going on between their partners. While Waldner was beyond furious, Charles was simply perplexed, hardly being in a position to comment on the affair since he was having his own dalliances with Camilla Parker Bowles at the time.
Curious about Diana and Hoare's relationship, however, Charles once asked a friend, “What on earth can they talk about?”
Diane de Waldner eventually agreed to keep her marriage with Hoare, who was also a father-of-three, if he broke things off with the princess. This became especially difficult since Diana started bombarding his phone with anonymous calls so badly that it led to an investigation by the Metropolitan Police in 1995.
She began making 20 calls a week to Hoare's house, sitting outside his house, using a mobile.
“Diana was very naughty. She would drive to his house and park up outside and then call his house phone from her mobile," one of her closest friends revealed. "She’d do it in the middle of the night, so she could watch the lights in the house go on as he scrambled to the phone. She would be there for hours, watching and calling. She knew she couldn’t be with Hoare, because he was married... So she would enjoy taunting him and reminding him she was there."
The friend added: "She even asked her staff to ring his house number for her. She’d say, 'Ring that number and then hang up’. Of course, no one knew what they were doing then. Diana was playing games in the relationship, but she enjoyed it. He was playing with fire when he started dating a princess, and he should have known he could get burnt.”
Diana admitted in the Panorama interview with Martin Bashir in 1995 that she had called Hoare after their breakup "a few times, but certainly not in an obsessive manner.”
However, royal biographer Lady Colin Campbell claimed in her bombshell book 'The Real Diana,' that "Day and night... she’d sit on that telephone calling Oliver’s house 30, 40, 50 times" because the princess was “almost unhinged with misery and grief” over having gotten pregnant at the time. Although the book did not reveal who the father could have been, Campbell said Diana was desperate to keep her baby, saying to friends: “Suppose it’s a girl.”
She reportedly ended up getting an abortion.
Royal biographer Sarah Bradford said that when their affair ended, Hoare “wrote her a characteristically charming letter thanking her for all the happiness she had given him and returning her present of a pair of her father’s cufflinks.”
While Diana died in a tragic car crash in 1997, Hoare passed away in 2018, after a long battle with cancer.