“YEAH, I’ve watched it but I’ve got no more to say.”
With those words, the most unexpected character to be featured in Netflix hit The Crown this week shut the front door of his terraced house on The Sun.
Peter Cross, a former royal protection officer turned insurance salesman, had claimed to have had an affair with the then-married Princess Anne.
And he was once not so shy about telling his story, asking us for £600,000 to spill the beans after we broke the world exclusive about their apparent romance 40 years ago.
“She made all the running in our friendship.”
The Sun’s late legendary royal reporter Harry Arnold previously said: “I was told from an amazing source he was having an affair with Princess Anne.
“I couldn’t use the word ‘affair’, so I invented the phrase that he became ‘over-familiar’ with Princess Anne.”
He told a 2002 Channel 4 documentary that two years after The Sun first reported on the relationship, Cross got in touch and confirmed the story.
The reporter revealed that Cross said: “When you wrote that story I was still married and I couldn’t admit it, but yes, it was true.”
Cross then sold his story to The News of the World.
He confirmed the affair began in August 1980, while he was protecting Anne at her country seat of Gatcombe Park, Gloucs.
Cross, 37, and married with two children at the time, had formed an unlikely bond with Princess Anne, then a 30-year-old married mother with a young son.
Cross’s ex-wife Linda once said: “He couldn’t resist women and they couldn’t resist him. Over the years of our marriage I had two of his girlfriends weeping on our front door.
“But with Princess Anne it was different. It was obvious he was playing with fire there and could get seriously burnt.”
Described as a “good-looking ladies’ man”, Cross would later tell The Sun’s former sister paper, The News of the World, of the first time they began to confide in one another amid the splendour of Gatcombe.
Cross, who was at that point estranged from his wife and living with a girlfriend, revealed: “We started to talk. Then somehow we were sitting together on the back stairs which led from the kitchen up to my room.
“Her arm, I noticed, was leaning against my knee.”
A month later the officer was transferred back to uniformed duties in Croydon, Surrey, after suggestions he getting too close to the Princess.
At the time Anne’s husband was Captain Mark Phillips, an Olympic equestrian and retired military officer.
Prince Charles’s nickname for Mark was “Foggy” because he was “thick and wet”.
Mark branded allegations of an affair “rubbish and fantasy” and added: “Nevertheless, they are hurtful. You’ve just got to be able to take these things in your stride.”
'HE REALLY THOUGHT HE WAS IN LOVE'
After Cross left her service, the Princess is said to have retired to her room and wept.
Gillian Nicholls, a later girlfriend of Cross’s, said: “When he was transferred to uniformed duties he said he was absolutely shattered and so was she.
“Peter told me she wrote to him saying how sorry she was that he was no longer working for her. He really thought he was in love with Princess Anne.”
Being back in police uniform was not to Cross’s liking and he quit the force in January 1981 to work in a London insurance office. He said: “I’d realised my police career was finished.
“I’d offended the establishment and it was taking its revenge.
“I didn’t hear from Anne and I didn’t try to contact her.”
Linda, who divorced Cross in 1982, says losing his royal protection career hit him hard.
She said: “He loved the job but he threw it away. It was terrible for him when they sent him back to Croydon.
“He knew how the others were enjoying themselves with nudges and winks, taking the mickey behind his back.”
Then, in January 1981, Cross said Anne asked, through a police intermediary, to meet him at Gatcombe once more.
He later insisted the affair continued for another two years, until February 1983.
Linda recalled that the Princess often rang their home to speak to Cross long after he had stopped working for her.
She remembered one occasion when one of their children answered while Cross was working under their car.
Their daughter knelt down and said: “It’s Princess Anne.” Cross also boasted the Princess would call his insurance work-place using the code name Mrs Wallis.
It is believed to be a joke, name-checking Wallis Simpson — the American divorcee for whom Edward VIII gave up the throne in 1936. And he said the pair would meet at Gatcombe once a month.
Cross added: “Often I went for lunch. It seemed strange sitting there in the dining room with her, being waited on by the butler. Before, I’d always sat in the kitchen with the staff.”
‘WHY SHOULD SHE BE INTERESTED IN ME?’
He said that on several occasions they met at a friend’s three-bed semi in a cul-de-sac in Ewell, Surrey.
He added: “A detective would drop her off and Anne would say she was making a private visit to a friend. She’d be picked up two or three hours later.
“Was I in love with her? I was enamoured. To be truthful I was flattered. I often used to think, ‘Why should she be interested in me?’. I thought it was fantastic.”
Cross, now of Bushey, Herts, even told The Sun in the 1980s that Princess Anne telephoned him the day before she gave birth to daughter Zara in May 1981 and again the day after the birth. He claimed: “I was the second person she told.”
Cross added to the News of the World: “Despite our close chats at Gatcombe, I never forgot she was a princess.
“I always called her Ma’am in public. If we were alone I didn’t use any name. The charm of Princess Anne is in her directness, her openness. She can be grand and sniffy. But the real Anne is Princess Ordinary, with her feet (usually in boots) firmly on the ground.
“She doesn’t like pomp or sycophantic flunkies.”
Anne’s marriage to Captain Phillips survived the scandal. But she would later have an affair with Naval officer Commander Timothy Laurence, whom she married after divorcing Mark in 1992.
Cross married dental nurse Angela in 1985 and the pair had two sons. Supporting his young family, he worked gruelling hours as a financial adviser.
Now a pensioner in the suburbs, he is known to millions from a new generation watching The Crown.
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