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Larry King Live
Rudy Giuliani Talks About Battling Cancer; Ollie North and Steve May Debate Gays in the Military; Charles Spencer Shares His Family HistoryAired September 18, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, he says his sister's marriage to Prince Charles made his family bit players in the soap opera fantasy spun around Britain's royals. Diana's brother Charles, ninth Earl of Spencer, joins us from New York.
But first, the Big Apple's mayor Rudy Giuliani has an update on his fight against cancer and some observations about the Clinton-Lazio Senate race.
Plus, reserve officer Steve May, who is gay and who fights an Army discharge. And Oliver North, radio talk show host, decorated Marine, backs the military's bid to boot him.
They are all next, on LARRY KING LIVE.
Not only is he a friend, but all of America is involved in the health of the mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani. This is not a partisan thing, this is a matter of health. And last Friday, he underwent major treatment at Mount Sinai.
What happened, Rudy, what did you choose to do?
MAYOR RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK CITY: What I chose to do was to, first of all, take hormone therapy, which will last for about eight months, that reduces the size of the prostate. And then on Friday morning, I went in for an operation in which they placed about 90 -- I think it was 92 seeds that emit radiation right inside the prostate, they do it with needles, they give you a local -- actually they give you a spinal, and it took about two hours.
I rested for about three hours, I got out of the hospital about 2:00 in the afternoon. And now I told the press if they get close to me I'm going to zap them, now I'm live and radioactive, and they're killing the cancer cells. And then I...
KING: Is this -- this is a decision you made in lieu of surgery, right?
GIULIANI: Yes, I decided -- and there are a lot of options, and you know, when we have time I can go through all of them in as much detail as you want, but the one that I thought made the sense -- made the most sense for me, is the combination therapy which involves hormones, seeds, and then two months later I go back for five weeks of external radiation. So you -- essentially you have the seeds placed inside the prostate, that is radiation inside that kills the cancer, and then you have radiation from the outside, that hopefully accomplishes the same thing. And I brought along the seeds to show you. This is what they look like.
KING: Let me see them.
GIULIANI: Can you see them? There they are right there. They're little tiny pellets and they place them in the prostate with needles and, you know, it's an operation.
KING: Yes. Are you feeling pain during this?
GIULIANI: No, you are -- you have an anesthetic, I mean, it puts you to sleep from the waist down and you can hear some of the things that are going on, but it's totally painless in that sense, and then afterwards you have some irritation. I would describe it more as discomfort more than pain.
KING: And is there any different feeling now about you when you have radiation in you? In other words, does food taste different? Do you set off light bulbs?
GIULIANI: Well, I like to kid around about it. But no, there is no difference. I -- but I -- don't tell the people that cover my everyday daily press conference because I have them convinced that if they ask me a question I don't like I can turn around and zap them with my seeds and get them really good.
KING: Now, Joe Torre said when he heard about this he said, cut it out, get it out, he doesn't care what the aftermath would be, cut it out. And I know you had to think about that, and that of course, would seem the absolute ultimate thing to do. Why did you come out against surgery?
GIULIANI: I thought -- from my point of view, I thought this worked better. I thought the rates with seed therapy are just as good, some of the side effects are a little bit less. And I thought that I could just handle it better and it would work better, and it would be a better chance of killing the cancer. But you know, I can see people that opt for surgery, and then some people just do external radiation, and then some people just do implantation of seeds. I thought doing the three things, the hormones, the seeds, and then the external radiation, would give me the best chance of killing it no matter where it is.
KING: And as you know, Rudy, you have agreed to this, we are going to do a major show on prostate cancer, and you're going to be our bellwether type co-host of this as we delve into this disturbing disease on -- that's on the increase in America.
GIULIANI: It is. The good news is that there are many therapies, meaning four or five, that have either equal or very similar survival rates and cure rates. The bad news is there are a lot of choices to make. I mean, there is no -- this is not one of those things where surgery is definitely the answer, seeds are definitely the answer, external radiation, so you have to really do some thinking, and with doctors that you trust. And after I thought it out, it seemed to me that this was the best alternative for me.
KING: Well, we all wish you the best, we look forward to seeing you in New York.
GIULIANI: Thank you.
KING: Now, we'll talk a little politics before we meet our -- get into our panel discussions.
KING: I'm going to show you a soundbite of the debate last week between Hillary Clinton and Congressman Lazio, and then we'll get your thoughts. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), N.Y. SENATE CANDIDATE: He stands here and tells us that he is a moderate mainstream independent member of Congress -- well, in fact, he was a deputy whip to Newt Gingrich, he voted to shut the government down, he voted to cut $270 billion from Medicare. He voted for the biggest education cuts in our history.
REP. RICK LAZIO (R-NY), SENATE CANDIDATE: Mrs. Clinton, you of all people shouldn't try to make guilt by association. Newt Gingrich isn't running in this race, I'm running in this race. Let's talk about my record.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Rudy, barring this terrible thing that occurred and changed your life, you'd have been standing there. How did Rick do?
GIULIANI: I thought Rick did very well. I thought he did exactly what he had to do. I mean, she is nationally famous, world famous, he stood on the same platform with her. I think he debated more effectively than she did, I think he was more comfortable than she was. And I think he displayed a greater knowledge of New York issues, which you know, in all deference to Mrs. Clinton, she really doesn't understand New Yorkers, she's not from New York.
She turned at one point to the mayor of Buffalo and said something like, you know, "he understands the high cost of Medicaid," because she doesn't know that mayors don't pay for Medicaid; county executives do in New York. So, I mean, there are a lot -- I could give you 10 examples of that.
Rick is a very knowledgeable congressman, he's come from the state of New York, he's represented us, and I thought he displayed it. And he was a little aggressive, I probably would have been more aggressive but -- given my personality -- but you know, look, they are running for the Senate, she is not in a glass house. KING: Yes.
GIULIANI: I mean, she is running to represent a state she doesn't know, doesn't come from, he has a right to challenge her.
KING: It is -- is it a close race?
GIULIANI: Absolutely. I said that when I was in it. I will say it again, this is going to be a very, very close race. And this is a state that can go either way, it can go Republican, we have a Republican governor, a terrific one, George Pataki, we have two Democratic senators, very often we've had a Republican senator, Al D'Amato, Pat Moynihan, a Democratic senator -- this is a state that loves to split tickets, and it's going to be very, very tight, and it -- the presidential race will affect it, but not as much maybe as in some states.
KING: So with Gore ahead, Lazio will need split ticketing, right?
GIULIANI: Yes, but remember, back in '92, Bill Clinton carried the state by over a million votes, and D'Amato was re-elected by something like 70,000 votes. So this state -- you know, this state can swing by a million votes, Republican to Democrat.
KING: Rudy, we wish you nothing but the best of health, we'll see you in a couple of weeks.
GIULIANI: Thank you, Larry. Looking forward to it.
KING: Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the mayor of New York.
When we come back, our old friend Oliver North is here, radio host, is the co-host of his own television show as well; and Army Reserve Lieutenant Steve May, who's involved in a bit of a controversy. We'll talk about that.
And then, the Earl of Spencer. Don't go away.
KING: Joining us now in Phoenix, Arizona is Army Reserve Lieutenant Steve May. He is the openly gay member of the Arizona legislature. The Army has recommended honorable discharge, saying that he violated don't tell policy on homosexuality.
In Washington is Oliver North, the nationally syndicated radio host, columnist, TV host and a combat-decorated Marine.
To get you up to date, on Sunday a military panel recommended May's discharge. The panel of three colonels recommended honorable discharge. Army attorneys argued for a general discharge. May was on this show a little over a year ago.
Steve, you came out a long time ago. Why is this now a story? LT. STEVE MAY, GAY RESERVIST FACING DISCHARGE: Larry, you're right. I actually came out when I first ran for public office in 1996, when I was an honorably discharged veteran and a private citizen. And the Army called me back into service in February of 1999, two and half years after I came out as gay man. So it's a little bit strange that they are prosecuting me for this now.
KING: Now what do you want? You want an honorable discharge and you want out of the reserves...
KING: ... or you want to stay as a reserve?
MAY: No, not at all. I think I should stay as a reservist. That's my obligation to my country. I am still under an obligatory period until May 2001, and I intend to continue to serve in uniform with honor until that date.
KING: Ollie, what's the argument against that noble gesture?
OLIVER NORTH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, it's against the law, for starters. I mean, we do have a law that's been in effect since 1994 that says, don't ask, don't tell. It's not, don't see, don't listen. I mean, and unfortunately Mr. May broke the law.
MAY: Well, Colonel North, you know that's not true. The fact of the matter is that I was a civilian at the time that I told, and the Army broke its own law when it called me back into service, even though my private life was already public record.
NORTH: Well, I mean, first of all, Mr. May, what -- and you and I discussed this before, so we have to disclose that...
NORTH: ... but the reality of it is you should not expect, first of all, that the Army is immune to knowing what's going on in rest of the world. No. 2, we ought not to expect real-time response to every one of those disclosures. But the requirement...
MAY: But, Colonel, let's talk about...
KING: Hold on, let him finish, then you go.
NORTH: The requirement is -- the requirement is, Steve -- and you and I both know this and all of our viewers ought to know this -- the requirement is that you cannot, if you're a homosexual, under the policy that's been in effect since Bill Clinton was -- became president, the policy is you cannot disclose that you are a homosexual. If you do, you have to go. That's what you did, and you have to go.
MAY: Actually, that's not true.
NORTH: Pack your bags and go home. MAY: Well, that's not true, Colonel, and you know that. I didn't disclose it after I was in the service, I disclosed it while I was not in the service. And the service called me back into duty. So it's really a little bit more complicated than you make it out to be.
NORTH: But this is why...
MAY: But sir, the real question is, what was the honorable thing to do? The fact is, in February of 1999, our nation was preparing go to war in Kosovo. I was fully capable serving as a peacekeeper or a combatant. My country called me back into uniform and I reported for duty. Would it have been better, in your opinion, if I shirked my duty to my country and refused to report? Would that have been the honorable course...
MAY: ... No, of course not.
NORTH: Steve, the fact of the matter is the reason why you are getting an honorable discharge instead of a convenience to government or a general discharge is because the Army screwed up by calling you back to active duty after you disclosed that you were a homosexual. The law is very clear in this. The law says you cannot be a declared homosexual in the ranks and continue to serve. You have to go.
KING: By the way, do you agree with the honorable part? Is that correct?
NORTH: Well, given that the Army screwed up -- and I'm not here to point fingers at the Army. My daddy was in the Army, I had a brother that was in the Army, and I served in the Marines, I've got another brother in the Navy. But the Army screwed up in this case. They should never have called him back.
KING: Therefore, it should be honorable, not...
NORTH: Sure, yes.
KING: All right, you agree with that. Why do you want to stay, Steve, with an organization that, because of what you did, whether circumstances when you did it -- doesn't want you?
MAY: Larry, I'm proud to be part of this institution that I've been a part of for 11 years, and I've have been honored to lead American troops. The fact is I've been willing to give my life for my country and I continue to be willing to do so. But my life is no less worthy to give for my country just because of the person that I love. This policy is an insult to the American people.
KING: And every review of his said he was an exemplary officer.
NORTH: And I have absolutely no quarrel whatsoever with how well, Steve, you performed your duties. But the reality of it is that for the good order and discipline of the armed forces United States -- here we are, we're teaching young guys in every -- soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, in every branch of the service -- we're teaching them the laws of physics. We teach them ballistics, we teach them electronics, we teach them the most sophisticated sciences possible, and then we expect them -- we're going to ignore the laws of biology. Well, you can't do that.
The reason why the policy is -- and it's a bitter compromise, I'll be the first to admit it. And Steve's caught in the middle of it -- but that bitter compromise was the best you could get between the old policy of thou shalt not serve if you're a homosexual -- for very good reason...
NORTH: ... and don't ask, don't tell, which is that compromise. And we all agree it's a lousy compromise, Steve.
MAY: And I agree, Colonel, and you're right, it is a lousy compromise. But I'm wondering what biology has to do with serving your country in uniform?
NORTH: Well, let's deal with reality here. There are no private bedrooms in a Marine battalion, an Army regiment, an Air Force squadron or a U.S. Navy ship. The reason why...
MAY: But, Colonel, Colonel, I experienced...
NORTH: Let me finish, let me finish -- let me give you a little bit of my experience, young fellow. I did do 22 years.
MAY: But you're not a gay man, sir...
NORTH: No, you're right.
MAY: Sir, you're not a gay man serving, and I am.
NORTH: You're absolutely right about that. But let me make an observation. When I found a homosexual Marine officer, I had him court-martialed and thrown out of the United States Marine Corps, because he accosted a young United States Navy sailor as a superior to an inferior.
MAY: And I have never done that.
NORTH: I understand that.
MAY: And, sir, I had many men -- sir, I had many men who did that to women in my own units when I was in active duty in the Persian...
NORTH: Well then they should have been thrown out as well.
MAY: And they were. But the point is exactly this, sir, we should punish people for conduct, and not speech. And my conduct has never once been questioned. NORTH: Steve, here's the problem. And I say -- I want to go back to the laws of biology. The reality of it is the reason we give separate bunk spaces to women on Navy ships, the reason we have separate and segregated showers and heads, is so that temptation, the laws of biology, does not become overwhelming and we create even bigger problems than we already have today, given that this administration wants to use the military like a bunch of lab rats in a radical social experiment.
MAY: Sir, are you saying that if you and I shared a bedroom in the barracks that you would succumb to some strange laws of biology?
NORTH: No, I would strangle you Steve before you could get away with it. I'm saying...
MAY: What makes you think...
KING: No, let me get a break here. We'll come right back with Army Reserve Lt. Steve May and Oliver North.
And then we'll meet Charles Spencer, get his thoughts on this.
Don't go away.
KING: Lt. May, where does this stand right now? Is it A recommendation? Where are we?
MAY: Well, I have been recommended for an honorable discharge, and now I will appeal that first to my commanding general, then to the secretary of the Army. And I will also ask the president to intervene. And if I fail there, I will file an appeal in civilian court.
KING: Is it also true that they used tape of your appearance on this show against you?
MAY: Larry, you figured very prominently in the government's prosecution against me. It was rather interesting.
KING: I just found this out tonight. How?
MAY: Well, they felt that it was inappropriate that I come on your show and talk about what the Army has done to me and how the proceeding has gone. They were very frustrated. They felt that I in some way gave the Army a black eye and misled the American public, which is obviously not true and was easily disproven in a matter of minutes. But...
KING: Ollie, can we safely say...
NORTH: Can we safely say we're vulnerable when we come on the show with you? Yes, Larry.
KING: Can we safely say that at Normandy there are gay people under the ground?
NORTH: I have no doubt. I have no doubt that they've been there since the days of the revolution. Here's the problem, Larry -- and, Steve, you need to fess up on this, because what you're basically arguing for is a change in the policy that Bill Clinton tried to get through back in 1994...
KING: Through a Colin Powell recommendation and others.
NORTH: No, but Colin Powell recommended this policy called don't ask, don't tell as the compromise, because the policy had been, with good reason...
KING: But he supports it now.
NORTH: ... no homosexuals.
KING: He did the last time he was on this show, he supports it.
NORTH: Well, he does, but he also supports enforcement, which is why, Steve, your tenure in the Army is going to be abbreviated no matter how often you appeal. The reality of it is it's not don't ask, don't -- it is don't ask, don't tell, it's not don't see, don't listen -- and talk, even on this show.
MAY: Well, Colonel, there's actually a principal of constitutional law that's important, if that matters to you. And that is that the clause of speech -- the speech and debate clause in both the federal and Arizona Constitutions, which protects actions by a state legislator in the course of doing state legislative work. And the Army's investigation was initiated because of an action I took as a state legislator.
Further, McVeigh vs. Cohen established in federal court two years ago that all the media appearances that I did subsequent to the illegal investigation can also not be used against me. And that was the entire military's case.
NORTH: But, Steve -- and I grant you there is -- I -- very, very important, you talk about the Constitution of the United States. You and I both took an oath to support and defend. I believe you did so honorably up to the point where you expect them to obviate the law itself, which the military can't do.
MAY: Well, actually, what...
NORTH: They made a mistake by calling you back on active duty.
MAY: And I agree.
NORTH: And so what ought to happen now, is you ought to take your honorable discharge and not try to work a change in policy that the Congress of United States doesn't support, even this commander in chief couldn't get through.
MAY: I'm not sure the Congress of the United States wouldn't support it now -- or maybe not in the next Congress. But I think also you should know, sir, that within the don't-ask-don't-tell statute, there is a provision -- actually, it's the Department of Defense instruction -- that says an officer can be retained for the good of the service. And that, we believe, is where my commanding general should take action to retain me.
NORTH: Steve, I would submit that the best thing you can do at this point in your career is to pack your bags, salute smartly, and say thanks for having the opportunity to serve.
KING: Something you do not intend to do, correct, Steve?
MAY: Absolutely not. Quite simply, the policy is immoral. The policy is wrong. I -- and I'm not going to just walk away from this without a stronger fight.
KING: I thank you both very much. Always good seeing you, Steve.
MAY: Thanks, Larry.
KING: And, Ollie, I made you a star. Never forget, Ollie, never forget where it started.
NORTH: You did indeed, vulnerable as we all when we come on this show.
KING: Army Reserve Lieutenant Steve May and Oliver North. We thank them both for being with.
Charles Spencer, the Earl -- ninth Earl Spencer will be with us. He has got a book out called "A Personal History of an English Family."
Don't go away.
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Charles Spencer. He is brother of Diana, the Princess of -- the late Diana -- Princess of Wales, the ninth Earl Spencer author of the new book, "The Spencers: A Personal History of an English Family." There you see its cover. It's always good to have him with us. He joins us from our bureau in New York.
What prompted the writing of this book, Charles?
EARL CHARLES SPENCER, PRINCESS DIANA'S BROTHER: Well, I grew up in the family home in Althorp in Northhampton in England. And I was surrounded all those years by all these portraits of my ancestors. And I was a tour guide, actually. I used to earn pocket money on the holidays as a teenager by taking people around, the visitors who used to come around.
And I guess the curiosity just got the better of me, Larry. I studied history at university. And I came to the stage where I just wanted to look back at what these people had really been like, what they had done, and to put it down in a book.
KING: Is it, for want of a better term, a little weird to be born royal?
SPENCER: Well, I'm not. So I wouldn't know. But I mean, I know that there is a difficult distinction for Americans. But I wasn't born royal. My sister married into the royal family.
KING: Well, I mean, as you have gotten to know them.
SPENCER: Well, I -- yes, I suppose getting to know them on a certain level. But really, this book is about an aristocratic English family. It's certainly not about the royal family, although they were a strong theme throughout the Spencer family history, I suppose.
KING: So this just your family. And then as it relates to royal, that would be through the marriage and the like.
SPENCER: Yes through the marriages and through service to the country -- I mean, rather like your two previous guests, a strong military connection, but also, political, and diplomatic as well.
KING: Where in the scheme of things is an earl?
SPENCER: An earl -- it's about midway in the English lords. There is four or five grades of lord. And the earl is the middle one. So I think there is about 50 of them in England. And I'm one of the younger ones, still.
KING: Is it fortunate to be born an earl?
SPENCER: Well, it is largely irrelevant now. In the year 2000, I don't think it means an awful lot. I mean, you asked me what an earl is. And I think a lot of English people just know it as something vaguely anachronistic. And really, I suppose that is part of the theme of this book. I have looked at the way that my family has always reflected the qualities and the values of their age.
And really, for the last 80 years, since the end of the first World War, the aristocracy in Britain hasn't meant an awful lot to anybody. I mean, it's lost its power and influence. And I only really use my title when I'm at home, similar to being CEO of a company. It's -- you know, that is what I use there. But as an author, I'm just Charles Spencer.
KING: All right, let's talk about Princess Di. What kind of sister was she?
SPENCER: Wow, let's get straight in the deep end, Larry. I -- in the fact, in the book, I don't really cover her. And that's because I don't want to cash in on that aspect. But as a woman, she was a -- obviously a hugely important world figure in the late 20th century. Being a beautiful humanitarian, I think she was in a subset all of her own there.
But as a sister, well, I -- she was a great sister. I was very fortunate to have three wonderful sisters. And she is the one that the public know all about. And she had an immense appeal to the crowds who used to flock to see her.
KING: Why do you not write about her as a sister? It is called "A Personal History of an English Family," so you tell us the whole history. Wouldn't that relationship between you and her be part of that?
SPENCER: Well, it could have been. It could have been if that was the point of the book. But really, this was more a history book. I didn't want to intrude on anything in the modern age, really. That wasn't the point at all. I'm not here to -- I actually explain that in the book. I'm very happy to put Diana in context.
I think it's important for people to see where she came from, because, in fact, in her moments of most deep distress, when the press were really hammering her, or her marriage was unraveling, or whatever, her rallying cry to herself was often: "Remember you are a Spencer." Well, I realized to most Americans, they don't know the first thing about the Spencer family.
But to her, it meant an enormous amount. Because like me, she had grown up with these portraits of ancestors who had done reasonably good things.
KING: But you also realize, Charles, that the appeal you would have, this book would have, the interviews would have, would be centered around fact of who she was.
SPENCER: Absolutely right, Larry. And that is the point I make in the book, quite candidly, that books sales would be much less. But I have no problem with that, because, you know, I -- this is a book I'm very proud of. And it's one I would like to do well. And I believe people will enjoy reading it. It is a good read.
KING: And you expect to be asked about your sister as well.
SPENCER: I'm very aware that that is a common theme. It is not the -- not every interviewer does it. But everyone is entitled to ask whatever question they want. And I'm entitled to answer them as fully as I can.
KING: All right, we will cover a lot of bases -- her and others, too -- with Charles Spencer. The book is "The Spencers: A Personal History of an English Family."
We will also entertain your phone calls. And we will be back right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPENCER: Diana was the very essence of compassion, of duty, of style, of beauty. All over the world, she was a symbol of selfless humanity, a standard bearer for the rights of the truly downtrodden, a very British girl, who transcended nationality, someone with a natural nobility, who was classless, and who proved in the last year that she needed no royal title to continue to generate her particular brand of magic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPENCER: On behalf of your mother and sisters, I pledge that we, your blood family, will do all we can to continue the imaginative and loving way in which you were steering these two exceptional young men, so that their souls are not simply amassed by duty and tradition but can sing openly as you planned.
We fully respect the heritage into which they have both been born and will always respect and encourage them in their royal roles, but we, like you, recognize the need for them to experience as many different aspects of life as possible, to arm them spiritually and emotionally for the years ahead. I know would you have expected nothing less from us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Our guest is Charles Spencer. The book is "The Spencers: A Personal History of an English Family."
What was the effect on the family of your sister's entrance into royalty?
SPENCER: Well, it was fairly major. I remember the day that Diana got married in '81, and we all assumed, the rest of the family assumed, we'd just turn up for the day and then go home, and life for us would carry on as normal, because at that stage nobody realized how huge Diana's appeal was going to be internationally and what -- I mean, she became possibly the most famous woman in the world, during her life -- the last half of her lifetime.
And I remember that day very well and being there and seeing my father bravely walking Diana up the steps. And he did a great job, because he had recently had a stroke. And I remember all the different family elements of the day. It was grand pageant, and Diana looked stunning in her wedding dress. I do remember all of that. But at the same time, we were just, you know, we were just part of the chorus. We weren't some major part, and we just assumed life would go back to normal.
KING: But it did not?
SPENCER: It certainly did not. I mean, the media hunger for Diana was so huge throughout her public life that, really, she lost all pretenses of privacy. And that unfortunately continues during her death as well with her own private secretary going public with his memoirs.
KING: What do you make of that? Patrick Jephson is writing a book called "Shadows of a Princess." In fact, the queen and Prince Charles have issued a statement, "a matter of immense regret that Patrick has decided to exploit for personal profit his period of employment with the royal family." How do you feel about it?
SPENCER: Well, I fully agree with that statement, really. I mean, you -- by definition, he was a private secretary. He's not exactly acting very honorably in that role or as a man, and I think it's deeply regrettable.
Also, I think the main -- well, the problem people have in Britain with it is the effect it's going to have on William and Harry. And, you know, as their uncle, I join in that. I mean, it is -- he's not thinking of anything except his bank balance.
KING: By the way, do you get to see them, Charles?
SPENCER: I do, indeed. Yes, thank you, Larry.
KING: How are they doing?
SPENCER: They're both doing exceptionally well. And, yes, I mean, I never betray confidences at all, but, I mean, I stay in touch, and they're doing -- I think they're remarkable. They've come through the most public tragedy, and they are strong and well.
KING: Yes, they look it. Are you still a resident of South Africa?
SPENCER: No, I've moved back to England now. I've got so many things on there, and I've lived there for the past year or so. But I did -- you're right -- I lived in Capetown for four years. But now I'm back as a resident of the U.K.
KING: You must miss Capetown, arguably the most beautiful city in the world. If it ain't the most beautiful, it ain't third or fourth either.
SPENCER: That's right. No, it's up there. It would be vying with Sydney, I imagine, which we are all seeing a lot of at the moment, as most beautiful city in the world. But I think Capetown has it over Sydney, because it's that much more compact and more beautiful.
KING: You were in Capetown when you learned of your sister's death, right?
SPENCER: That's quite right. I got a call in middle of the night, and at first it just was meant to be a car crash. And then everything -- and people had seen her walk away. And it escalated from there. But, you know, yes, that was a desperate night.
KING: What do you make of the Mohammed Al-Fayed suit against -- about the deaths, suing the United States government, as well, to release information upon which he believes how Diana's life was taken from her?
SPENCER: Well, you know, again, I mean, I have always felt sorry for Mr. Fayed for obviously sharing in the tragedy of losing his son there. But it would be much less painful for the rest of us, on our side, my family, if he could just bury all his conspiracy theories and let everyone move on.
KING: What do you make of your own and the other Spencers who have become tabloid fodder, that you're -- I know in the United States we don't go a month without you somewhere in one of the weekly tabloids. I imagine it occurs more often in Great Britain, maybe I'm wrong. How do you handle that?
SPENCER: Well, really, I mean, I look back at my family -- this has always been the case in a lesser way. I mean, we had -- one of the ancestors I wrote about is called Georgina Devonshire. She was the original tabloid fodder in England in the 1780s, and she...
SPENCER: Yes, she kept 11 London newspapers alive just on her goings-on. I mean, she was quite an outrageous figure, I mean, she sold her kisses for votes, and she behaved in quite an unusual way. She was very high spirited -- I think that's a polite way putting it. So I suppose my family's always been used to being somewhere near the public eye. But obviously, the association with Diana has been in a different league to anything else.
KING: And how did you get termed "Champagne Charlie"?
SPENCER: Well, that's a child -- almost a childhood thing. I mean, that was from about 20 years ago. I think because my friends used to call me Charlie, and the British tabloids tried to think of something that went with that. And that's what they came up with, so here we are.
KING: You've also said that being a Spencer helped you get through all of this. How do you mean?
SPENCER: Well, I think if you're lucky enough to be able to draw on 500 years of family history and realize -- I mean, by reading this, I have realized how when I was researching the book how incredibly human my family was. I mean, I have always -- I was always brought up to think of them as these great achievers, and I must follow that line. But reading their letters, their diaries, they went through the same disappointments we all go through. And the fact that they're prominent means that their memories are preserved and their written records are preserved. But I think that the lesson of this book has always been -- has been for me that these are very, very human people.
I mean, I mentioned the portraits which I grew up surround by. Now those portraits were always painted when the men were at their most powerful and most splendid and the women were at their most beautiful. But by going into the research which I went into and reading these letters, you get to learn that the man who is very dashing in a military uniform ended up being an incontinent family embarrassment whose head was lolling around after he had a stroke.
And I think that you draw strength. I mean, a lot of people go back to their roots. Geneology is very popular in this country, I know, in the United States, and I think people want to know where they came from. And by getting to know your roots, you actually gain strength from that.
KING: We'll be right back with Charles Spencer. We'll include your phone calls. The book is available everywhere, "The Spencers: A Personal History of an English Family."
Angie Dickerson tomorrow night, and Governor Jessie Ventura on Wednesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPENCER: Of all the ironies about Diana, perhaps the greatest was this: A girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting, was, in the end, the most hunted person of the modern age.
She would want us today to pledge ourselves to protecting her beloved boys, William and Harry, from a similar fate. And I do this here, Diana, on your behalf. We will not allow them to suffer the anguish that used regularly to drive to you tearful despair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Charles Spencer. The book is "The Spencers: A Personal History of an English Family." We will include your phone calls.
Tulsa, Oklahoma, hello.
KING: Hi. Go ahead.
CALLER: My question for Mr. Spencer is this: What is your current relationship with the boys? And do you spend much time with them?
SPENCER: Well, it is a fair question. And I'm here open to questions. But it is one area I really don't talk about in public, except I will reassure you that I do have contact with them, regular contact. And they are doing extremely well. But I -- beyond that, I'm sure the caller will understand, I -- you know, my role is one of being able -- I think they ought be able to confide in me.
And anything I say in public is going to compromise that position.
KING: Are they very Spencer-like? They are indeed half Spencers.
SPENCER: Well, I mean, that is not for me to judge, really. I mean, people have said that they look very like their mother. And I suppose, in that way, maybe. But, again, Larry, it's just so difficult for me to talk about them, because...
KING: I understand. We will respect that. SPENCER: Yes, OK.
KING: Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, hello.
CALLER: Hi, I have a question for Mr. Spencer.
CALLER: Well, first of all, I've got a comment. I just want to tell you how much I admire you and admired your sister, Princess Diana. And my question is: How does your family, the Spencer family, commemorate the anniversary of her death?
SPENCER: Well, what we did this year was -- we all did our own thing. We -- my house in England is open in July and August to the general public. And I hasten to add, all profits go to Diana's memorial fund. But on the 30th, we closed the gates. And the 31st of August, as the caller may know, is the anniversary of Diana's death. And then the -- we have the flag half mast.
And, it is -- I must admit, it's a very, very overpowering day for me personally. And I have noticed both the previous two years, I do tend to go into quite a deep depression. And that is really the way. I mean, it is -- you know, at the end of the day, I know Diana was such a public figure, but she was a sister, she was a daughter, and she was a mother.
And it is difficult for people to remember that, I do appreciate that. But it is a very personal thing.
KING: Necedah, Wisconsin, hello.
CALLER: Hi, do you communicate with Prince Charles at all, or the grandparents, concerning your nephews?
SPENCER: Wow, we're on theme tonight, aren't we, really? I respect Prince Charles very much as the boys' fathers. And with the grandparents -- well, my mother is one of the grandparents. And, yes, very much so. In fact, my mother and I were both left by Diana in her will as guardians -- not that that is really relevant, because they still have a very active and able parent looking after them.
But it did mean that Diana wanted to us have something to do with their upbringing in event of a tragedy. And it is a responsibility that I'm sure all my family take -- take very seriously.
KING: Charles, what do -- what do you think the effect on you has been the fact you are born with a title, that you are born with property, that you are born with money? Maybe it's very hard to self- examine that. What is that like?
SPENCER: Well, it is a very good question, Larry, because it is a difficult one. But I suppose I can hypothesize to a certain extent. I mean, if I was born without those things, I don't know. I mean, there would have been the odd advantage. But I have to be totally honest and say it has given me a fantastic head start in life. And it would be very spoiled for me to say otherwise.
I mean, I used to be very daunted by taking on the inheritance of the house at Althorp. I mean, I remember I was 5 when I first told that this was going to come my way. And it was so impossible for me as a little boy to see a house the size of a museum -- with the atmosphere then of a museum -- and think: That is going to be home.
It was a terrifying thought. It is a fantastic house. It is very grand. It's set in beautiful, beautiful English park land. And it has got wonderful art collection, some of it quite modern, and mostly of my family. And I just think, well, you know, it is a wonderful, wonderful place. And when we open it in July and August, people come from all over the world. We had over 10,000 Americans this summer.
And they remind me, when they speak to me, about how lucky I am. So I'm certainly not going to sit here and winch about it.
KING: No. How do you resist snobbery?
SPENCER: Well, I -- it's -- I reckon it's in the upbringing. And my parents made it very clear that you don't feel superior to somebody just because of your bloodline. You judge people for who they were. And then I think Diana demonstrated that. But it has been a common theme throughout my family's history. I mean, I look back on it, and we have always been left of center in terms of politics.
I mean, we have not been traditional establishment figures. And we never have been. And it's just the way it is. We have always been very down to earth and wanted to do our best, I think. I mean, that sounds rather pious, but that is the way it is.
KING: Spencers have generally voted Labor.
SPENCER: Well, no, they've -- well, they've generally been liberal. When there were two parties -- I suppose liberals would be similar to your Democrats. But they have been more Democrat than Republican in the English sphere, yes.
KING: Going all the way back.
SPENCER: All the way back, yes. And, in fact, it has ended us in a lot of trouble. I mean, we have always been fiercely loyal to the crown. Before our own civil war, which was a couple hundred years before yours, my family fought very strongly for the rights of the people in Parliament.
But when it actually came to civil war, when the people -- when Parliament was against the king, we reluctantly sided with the king, because however great the people's course was, my family felt we couldn't actually draw our sword against the king -- and actually ended up dying for the king for a cause we didn't believe in, which I think is one of the most extraordinary ways to go: dying for a cause you don't believe in.
I wouldn't want to do that. KING: We'll be back with more of Charles Spencer on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE right after this.
KING: With Charles Spencer.
We go to North Kingstown, Rhode Island, hello.
CALLER: Thank you for taking my call.
CALLER: Mr. Spencer, could I have your honest opinion about what you really think of Camilla Parker Bowles? And also, do you think your former brother-in-law will ever marry her and become king?
SPENCER: Well, I have never met Camilla Parker Bowles. And I have no opinion on her. People who have met her say she is extremely nice. And that is all I know. And as for whether she should marry Prince Charles, that is totally a matter for them. It has nothing to do with me whatsoever.
KING: Is he going be king?
SPENCER: I assume he will king. I mean, he is the heir. And...
KING: Why not?
KING: Macon, Georgia -- hello.
CALLER: Hi, and thank you for taking my call.
CALLER: Certainly Princess Diana certainly had an impact on so many things worldwide, yet she had such a human element in the way that she connected with the common, everyday people. And what I would like to ask you, sir, is what are you doing to continue with that legacy that she has left for us, and to ensure that both of her sons continue to share in that love and concern with everyday people.
I commend you for everything that you're doing with the book and just ask that even as a resident here in Georgia, we got up at such an early morning to watch the funeral procession and how our hearts were just touched and moved by...
KING: All right, there it is. What is the family doing to continue that legacy, Charles?
SPENCER: Well, I suppose the main thing I try and do is -- I mean, people in England say they haven't got anywhere to go to remember Diana. And I've turned over a large part of the estate to the exhibition of her life. And people come from all over the world to be -- we had 120,000 people came in July and August to see it. And we have hits on our Web site from all over the world, We had over 7,000 hits a day just from the States to look at it.
So my part in keeping the legacy alive is giving some -- giving somewhere where people can go as a focal point to Diana and where they can learn about her early life. We have silly footage there from her as a little girl. And that's what I want to do. And then we fund -- we give regular funds to her memorial fund, which gives money to the charities which the committee there thinks she would have supported.
And the activities at my house since Diana's death, we've raised over a million dollars for her funds, and I hope we'll continue to do that. And that's -- that's really my contribution, and I hope that's -- I hope that's enough.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with our remaining moments, get another call or two in, as well, for Charles Spencer.
Don't go away.
KING: Toronto, Canada, for Charles Spencer -- hello.
CALLER: Hello, Mr. Spencer. It's quite a personal honor for me to be able to speak with you this evening.
I wanted to ask you if, at the time that Diana was aware that she had problems with her marriage, was she able to speak with you? I know you were a great distance away, but was she able to speak with you and rely on you for support, yourself and your sisters in the family?
SPENCER: Well, I was living in England at the time, actually. I hadn't moved to South Africa. Yes, of course, I can remember these conversations where it became clear there were problems. But, you know, I have a great respect for the privacy of people's marriage, even when one like that is so public. And, you know, you just give advice as a brother as you would to any sibling who is going through a very difficult patch.
And yet we were always there for Diana. And, you know, we took the strain sometimes, because out of all people in her life, we were the ones she could really, you know, chew our heads off, because we were never going to say anything. And -- but we were always there for her, and we took it turns, really, to be the one who could emotionally support her. You know, it was -- she was in a very, very pressurized position, and it wasn't always easy.
KING: Charles, how are your sisters doing?
SPENCER: They're very well. That's very kind of you to ask, Larry. They're both doing extremely well. And I suppose, as is often the case with such tragedies, I think it's brought us even closer together. I've always been very close to my sisters, and we see each other far more now. And I think when you've lost someone that close, you appreciate whoever's left. And, I mean, now, for the first time in my life, in the past month or so I have now become older than Diana ever was, and that's a very, very odd thought. She was always my elder sister.
KING: What was first Earl of Spencer like?
SPENCER: He was OK, I mean, he was a -- he was the richest man in the kingdom at the time. And, in fact, his buckles on his wedding shoes for the day of his marriage were worth two million pounds or so, $3 million die by today's standards. And he got through money quite quickly and he wasn't the most responsible figure, but he was very romantic.
He got married secretly in the house at Althorp. It was his 21st birthday, and so he was able to follow his own destiny then, and he took his childhood sweetheart upstairs into one of the bedrooms there with his tutor, who was a priest, and a few very close members of the family. And they got secretly married there. But he was an OK guy, but he was very ill the whole time. And I think that was a problem. He was never a healthy man.
KING: Do we only have about a minute left? Do you have a favorite Spencer in all this history?
SPENCER: Yes, there's one slightly mad one who was in the 19th century, and he was told, look, you're the fourth son, and you've got to do the traditional thing and become a priest. And he shocked my family by actually becoming deeply religious. He became a monk, and he's two-thirds of the way to becoming a Catholic saint. And he was very unusual man. I mean, I deeply respect him, but at the time he was a severe family embarrassment because he was just a bit too religious.
KING: Yet on the way to being a saint...
SPENCER: Yes, the...
KING: ... while an embarrassment.
SPENCER: They thought of him as an embarrassment. But today, I'm very proud of him. And they considered him deeply eccentric, which he was, but he was a very, very genuinely good and sincere man. So he's a bit of a hero in my book.
KING: Charles, it's always great seeing you. I thank you very much for joining us, and best of luck with the book.
SPENCER: Larry, it's a pleasure. Thank you.
KING: One of the good guys, Charles Spencer, the brother of Diana, princess of Wales, the ninth Earl Spencer and the author of "The Spencers: A Personal History of an English Family."
Friday night's going to be very special around these parts: Dick Van Dyke for an hour with phone calls.
Tomorrow night, too: Angie Dickerson -- it's legends week.
And on Wednesday night, Governor Jesse Ventura of Minnesota, plus a big panel discussing politics. We'll talk to Jesse, and then Jesse will be part of the panel.
Thanks for joining us. For all of our guests, from Washington, good night.
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