Princess Diana’s Former Lover, Art Dealer Oliver Hoare, Dead At Age 73

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Art dealer, and the former lover of Princess Diana, Oliver Hoare, has died in France, aged 73, from cancer, according to the Daily Mail.

Oliver Hoare was an art history student at the Sorbonne before he went on to join Christie’s and begin his career in dealing with fine art in 1967. In addition to dealing in art, Hoare became “embroiled in the inquiry into the financial dealings of Sheik Saud Al Thani of Qatar, the world’s biggest art collector” in 2005 according to the Daily Mail.

During the inquiry into his dealings with the sheik, invoices showed that Hoare had sold him more than £20 million ($USD26 million) in artworks. It was also alleged that Al Thani was “embezzling funds from the country by getting vastly inflated invoices sent for art he was buying for the Qatar state,” according to The Sun. Both parties maintained their innocence in the matter and charges were eventually dropped.

However, arguably, it is his affair with Princess Diana that has brought him the most fame.

Oliver, who was also a friend to Diana’s then-husband, Prince Charles, was 16 years her senior when the affair reportedly began “after the death of Diana’s father, Earl Spencer, in March 1992,” according to The Sun. While still married at the time, Hoare reportedly broke off the affair after his wife, French oil heiress Diane de Waldner, threatened him with divorce and the affair reportedly ended in 1994.

It appears that Princess Diana was infatuated with Oliver. During their affair, Diana has been reported as telling Lady Bowker that she “daydreamed of living in Italy with the handsome Hoare.”

While they were together, the Daily Mail reports that Princess Diana once smuggled Oliver Hoare into Kensington Palace inside the boot of a car. It is also alleged that “security staff once found him half-naked and hiding behind a bay tree as he tried to sneak out after a fire alarm went off in the middle of the night.”

This affair has never been confirmed by Oliver Hoare. However, Princess Diana’s former bodyguard, Ken Wharfe, did talk extensively of the relationship. Diana later spoke of her relationship with Hoare during her infamous Panorama interview, according to The Sun.

Rumors at the time abounded that saw Diana obsessed with Oliver and sending him repeated messages and bombarding him with calls after they broke up. However, Diana later stated in the Panorama interview, which the BBC transcribed, that she called him “over a period of six to nine months, a few times, but certainly not in an obsessive manner, no.”

Oliver Hoare leaves behind his wife and three children.