CNN LARRY KING WEEKEND
Encore Presentation: Interview With Earl Charles Spencer
Aired August 31, 2002 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the world adored her as its fairy tale princess, and it wept when her life was cut short by a car crash. On the fifth anniversary of Princess Diana's tragic death, her only brother talks about her life and legacy. Earl Charles Spencer, next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.
Thanks for joining us. It's hard to believe, but it was five years ago to the day that Princess Diana was killed in an automobile accident in Paris. Her companion, Dodi Fayed, also; their driver died as well.
Diana was only 36 years old. Left behind two sons, William and Harry. Her ex-husband, Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne. News of her untimely death stunned the world, unleashed an incredible outpouring of grief. Her funeral was a highly emotional event, with a powerful eulogy by her brother, Charles Spencer. The earl sat down with me in May of 1999 to reflect on his sister's legacy, and we wanted to know if he remembered when Diana and Charles met.
EARL CHARLES SPENCER, PRINCESS DIANA'S BROTHER: I do remember that. I remember that weekend. In fact, Prince Charles was seeing a bit of my eldest sister, Sarah (ph), at that stage. And Diana was just somebody -- the younger sister that he bumped into then.
KING: So he was dating your older sister?
SPENCER: That's right, the eldest one of all, yes.
KING: Well, how -- what -- how did that handle inside the family to learn that he would go from one to the other?
SPENCER: Well, I think in fact there were a couple of girlfriends in between. And it wasn't an issue. It wasn't like Diana had stolen her eldest sister's boyfriend or anything.
KING: Did she fall -- was it -- was it her first great love? Was there much talk about him?
SPENCER: Yes, that was her first great love, and really, as a result of her young age. She was very young at the time. And yes, she was very in love.
I remember her telling me she had some important news and I must come around to her flat straight away in London, her apartment. So I shot around there, and she looked really, really happy. And then she couldn't contain herself, and said, yes, he had asked her to marry her and she would.
KING: Did you like him as a prospective brother-in-law apart from being prince?
SPENCER: Well, to be honest even though when I was a young child, we grew up side by side -- we lived on the royal estate in Sandringham, in Norfolk, on the east coast of England -- I really didn't know him very well at all. I mean, he was a lot older than me, and I met him a couple of times before the actual wedding, and he was perfectly pleasant and charming. So I was quite relaxed about it really. I was a sort of 16-, 17- year-old brother whose older sister was getting married. And the fact that it was Prince Charles was obviously extraordinary, but otherwise I just -- I was more interested in my exams and playing my sports at school.
KING: What was your role in the wedding?
SPENCER: Well, the night before the wedding there was a chain of bonfires across Britain, and I lit the one nearest my family's home in a big sort of televised event. And that was my role, really, and then I went to the ceremony the next day. And Prince Charles's two brothers were his sort of groomsmen, his best man or whatever.
KING: So you were not in the procession?
SPENCER: No, I wasn't, no. I was with my family. We were on one side of the church and they were on the other.
KING: You had a good seat, though?
SPENCER: Very good view of it all, that's true, yes.
KING: What's your big -- or most memorable thing about that wedding?
SPENCER: Well, I -- I think afterwards -- well, no, actually before -- before the ceremony, I went to see Diana just before she came out and it was the first time that I had really seen her as a beautiful woman -- she looked quite stunning -- and rather than just my big sister. She had really transformed overnight into something very special.
KING: And you were in school at the time?
SPENCER: Yes, I was, yes. And in fact, the same school where her sons are now in fact, pretty much at the same stage as William is now.
KING: Wow. We'll be right back with Earl Charles Spencer. The book is "Althorp: The Story of an English House." We'll be taking you inside that house later. Lots more to come. He's our guest for the full hour. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPENCER: I would like to end by thanking God for the small mercies he's shown us at this dreadful time: for taking Diana at her most beautiful and radiant and when she had joy in her private life. Above all, we give thanks for the life of a woman I'm so proud to be able to call my sister: the unique, the complex, the extraordinary and irreplaceable Diana whose beauty, both internal and external, will never be extinguished from our minds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Charles Spencer. Were you close? Did you talk a lot during the early stages and during her marriage?
SPENCER: Yes. Actually, it's a funny thing you do after somebody dies, is try and work out the important parts and the connections you had with them, and Diana's life being so public, and me traveling a lot with my job, and the past three years I've lived in South Africa a lot of the time. I worked out that we actually probably only saw each other maybe a hundred times during her whole wedding period and divorce. So it's only like six or seven times a year.
But, yes, we talked a lot. She was a great one for the telephone. And, yes, often advice was sought or whatever both ways. And I think it was a normal brother-sister relationship in that respect.
KING: What work do you do, Charles?
SPENCER: Well, I used to work for one of your rival networks for about eight years, and now I do -- this writing of books is a new branching out for me, but I also work for one of the main television production companies in Britain, producing and developing scripts for them.
KING: Were you aware that trouble developed in the marriage?
SPENCER: I was aware, of course, but I assumed it might work itself out in the early stages, and I think it was a major pressure, the fact that every time there was perceived to be any sort of problem, the press would jump on it, whereas most couples would have the chance to resolve any problems in quiet and in private. There never was that opportunity really.
KING: In other words, because of the attention, you never had the chance to really get at what's problems?
SPENCER: That's my belief. That's how I see it. I mean, it's not for me to say whether those problems were resolvable or not. But the fact is that they were never given a chance to be resolved.
KING: Were you shocked to learn that there were affairs on both sides? Were you in the family -- that's a shocking thing to learn about a sister.
SPENCER: Well, I -- it's not something -- I mean, I view everyone's marriage as an entirely sort of private business really, between the two people, and it's not really for me to judge.
KING: No, but I wasn't asking you to judge at all, but just were you shocked?
SPENCER: Was I shocked? Again, I mean, it's such a personal thing. I can't remember, because I don't -- I can't remember the exact moment when I learned of either, and I've -- it's not an easy thing for me to answer, really, Larry.
KING: When she did discuss it openly and discussed bulimia and the like, how did you react?
SPENCER: Well, I think, dealing with something like bulimia, which a lot of women and men have suffered from, was a very bold move, and I think that she probably helped a lot of people by being so honest. And in fact, again, I think that a lot of people saw that vulnerability and were astonished that somebody in that position could actually be so brave as to say they had a problem like that.
KING: Was her nature, then, to be both private and open?
SPENCER: Yes, that's a very good summation of her character. I mean, she put herself out in public to help people, and that was her whole role really was one of going out there, being an ambassador for Britain and carrying for people and roles that she could help. But ultimately, she was very private. When she wasn't working, she would spend many evenings alone in her apartments in the Kensington Palace, especially after divorce, and going to bed very early, or listening to music or chatting to friends on the telephone. It was a strangely unbalanced life, like that.
KING: Are you married, Charles?
SPENCER: No, I am not. I'm single. I'm divorced.
KING: Do you have children?
SPENCER: I've got four children. I've got three girls and a boy, exactly the same order as my family, of my generation. And, yes, I have got -- aged between eight and five. I've got twin daughters in the middle who are nearly seven.
KING: Was she a good mother?
SPENCER: An excellent mother. I think that's obvious, actually. If you look at any of the footage of Diana her children, it's so natural, it was so unforced, and right from the beginning, I mean, even before she was married, she was always excellent with children; and so, to be so phenomenal with her own was not a surprise.
KING: Would you say she was doting? SPENCER: Well, doting in a positive sense, in that she genuinely cared, yes. You see, doting could have the impression of being over coddling of the children, but no, I don't think that was the case. I think she was excellent.
KING: Was she good with your children?
SPENCER: Very good with mine, very sweet with mine. And, in fact, she came to stay with us in March, the year in which she was killed, and my children really adored spending very relaxed time with her. I made sure there was nobody else around, and we had a good time. KING: When she started to see Dodi Fayed, did you like him? Did you meet him early on?
SPENCER: No, I never really met him it, and I gather they were together for a total of 17 days when they were actually with each other. So, no, I never saw them together, and I never actually met Dodi Fayed.
KING: Did she ever tell you of her feelings for him?
SPENCER: No she didn't. She wrote to me -- at the sort of peak of the press interest in her relationship, she wrote me a letter, and it didn't actually mention him. It was more interested in her work with land mines, in fact.
KING: From what you have to come learn, do you think there would have been a marriage there, just off the top?
SPENCER: Well, my family and I have discussed that, obviously, and we're all unanimous in believing that there was no prospect of a marriage there, no.
It -- I -- my personal belief is that it was a summer fling, a summer affair, and that that was all it was ever going to be.
KING: Charles Spencer's book is "Althorp: The Story of an English House." We'll be taking you inside that house later. When we come back, we'll talk about that most difficult of times, that tragic night, right after this.
KING: We're back with Charles Spencer. We thank him very much for spending this hour with us.
Where were you that night, and how did you learn?
SPENCER: Well, I was in Cape Town, South Africa with my four children, just the five of us in the house, and the telephone went very early in the morning. And somebody from my property in England said, "Look, I've got some bad news. It seems as though your sister and Dodi Fayed have been in a car crash in Paris." So I went downstairs and turned on the television and was following, in fact, on CNN, and watching the broadcast, and they were quite adamant at the time that she had been seen walking away from the car and was obviously hurt, but fine. And then one of my other sisters called me a little later while I was watching this unfold on television, and she said, "Look, I'm afraid it's bad news. We think she may even have brain damage." And that was obviously a huge blow. And then I called my other sister, my middle sister, who was actually married to somebody who was working for the queen, and I say said, "Look, what's going on?" And she said, "Well, he's on the other line, right now." And then she stopped talking, and I'll always remember hearing my brother-in-law say "Oh, no," and then my sister Jane said, "I'm afraid that's it. I am afraid she's dead." So I sat up the rest of the night, and then my kids came through for breakfast and... KING: You told them?
SPENCER: Yes, my three little girls came, and I said: "Look, you know, I'm afraid I've got awful news. I'm afraid Aunt Diana has been killed." And then one of my little girls, Eliza, just looked at me, and she smiled, and said, "Not in real life, Daddy." And I said, "Yes, I'm afraid it is." And then I turned on the television, and at that stage, the car was being pulled out of the tunnel, and they saw it for real, and they realized that it was really true. And then my little boy came through and I had to tell him too, and it was just dreadful, dreadful.
KING: Was there anger, disbelief? What thoughts go through you, especially looking at that wreck, which everyone must have seen 7,000 times?
SPENCER: Yes, well, I was -- yes, I was angry, and I was very, very sad. I mean, it just seemed the most -- as for everybody, but I suppose more for her family and her friends -- but the most incredibly brutal ending to a life that had done so much good in the world. And it was awful, and then having these little children crying with me -- I mean, it was just desperate, really.
KING: Did you go to Paris?
SPENCER: I didn't, in fact. My two sisters flew to Paris with Prince Charles. I flew back to London, and it was while I was on the plane that night that -- I was in quite a state and that the lady on the plane was handing me all these tissues and things, and then I thought, "Well I better get dealing with the practicalities of this because, as head of the family, I was going to have to organize a lot of the funeral."
And it was then I decided that somebody had to make a speech, and I was going through my address book, and I got from A to Z, and I realized there was no one there who could do it. And then I had this ghastly realization that it was going to have to be me. And when I got to London, I rang my mother and I said, "Look, am I right about this? Should it be me?" and she said, "Yes, it's got to be you. And thank goodness you've worked it out for yourself."
KING: Why -- do you know why you didn't go to Paris?
SPENCER: Well, I couldn't get there in time Larry, because I was in Capetown. I wouldn't have got there before Diana's coffin was brought back to London. So no, I went straight back to London. KING: We'll talk about that memorable speech and more when we come back with Charles Spencer right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, September 6, 1997)
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 role, 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 you would have expected nothing less from us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Charles, that brilliant speech and that reference to blood family and respecting royalty, but other things to do -- obviously, carefully noted. Did you get criticism for that?
SPENCER: Well, I believe I did. But I mean, I took a view with that speech that, if I was going to make it, it had to be honest, and it had to be straight, and I stand by every word I said, Larry. I mean, I wrote it in an hour and a half on the Wednesday morning between Diana's death and the actual funeral. And it came from the heart, and -- I mean, I can't -- I'm not going to excuse myself, I'm not going to apologize. I stand by it.
KING: Was your family happy with it?
SPENCER: Yes, very. In fact, extremely so, and very complementary and sweet about it. They didn't -- I hadn't read it to them beforehand. But yes, they were, and still are, very happy about it.
KING: Did Charles say anything to you?
SPENCER: Not about the speech, no, but he was -- you know, he was perfectly polite all day. We all caught the train from London together to go to the burial at my family home, and nothing nasty has ever been said about it by him to me.
KING: As you look back at the tragedy, do you have any complaints about the way either the hospital authorities or the Paris police dealt with it?
SPENCER: Well, to be honest, I would wait to see how the whole inquest pans out before judging anyone on that issue, including the driver and the photographers. I mean, the fact is there's so much that still has to be resolved, and it's not for me to criticize until the French legal authorities -- who I'm sure are very capable -- have come up with their findings.
KING: Are you concerned that Dodi Fayed's father thinks it was not an accident?
SPENCER: Well, I'm not concerned that he thinks that, and he's entitled to that view, and I think somebody who's lost their son in such a way will look for such reasons. All I can say is, from my point of view, as a brother of the other person who was killed in the passenger seats, I have no evidence at all -- I have seen no evidence that it was anything other than the condition, maybe, of the driver, and their pursuit through a tunnel. But not a -- I'm not a conspiracy theorist on this at all.
KING: What happened to all of her belongings? I know it was auctioned off and a lot went to charity.
SPENCER: That was before she died, a lot of her dresses went to auction.
KING: I know that, but I mean after.
SPENCER: They're all in my house -- well, most of them are in my house in England, where...
KING: They're there now?
KING: Are they going to be part of any memorial to her, or...
SPENCER: Well we have a memorial in the grounds of the house. The house has to be opened for 60 days a year, and so it seems fitting to actually celebrate her life in a positive way. And so we have turned over one of the main buildings in the grounds to show her -- six parts of her life, really: her childhood, her wedding, her charity work, the funeral, and then the biggest room is a sort of celebration of her life with a lot of her dresses, but not just as a fashion show; these are dresses that are in context. We have even her land mine outfit, which she made so famous in her last crusade really. All of that, all in context, all explained.
And then the last room is perhaps the most moving of all, which is just bank after bank of condolence book behind glass cases. And I think we've got over 30,000 there from around the world.
KING: Did you realize how much she was cared about worldwide?
SPENCER: Not only did I not, but I'm pretty sure she didn't as well. I mean it's an extraordinary thing that we're talking about someone who was very unsure of her position, really, in the world's affections, largely because large elements of the -- say, the British press were very negative about her the whole time, constantly criticizing her. And it used to make her very, very sad, as I said in the speech. But I don't think she had any idea that she was of such global significance. I mean, she must have noticed how, wherever she went anywhere, she lit up a room or an arena or whatever. But to know she had that phenomenal popularity which we all saw the September before last, I don't think she could have any idea of that.
KING: We'll take a break, and when we come back we'll talk about how the kids are doing, and about the press, and we'll take your calls. The book is "Althorp: The Story of an English House." The author is Charles Spencer. He's our guest. Don't go away.
(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 you to tearful despair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Charles Spencer, has that worked? Have they been spared that?
SPENCER: Yes, I think so. I mean, I went, two or three days after the funeral, to see the prime minister in Downing Street, in England, and I did express my concern about the boys' privacy, and he said, no, you needn't worry about it, because, for a start, the British public wouldn't put up with their privacy being intruded upon in the same way. And very soon after that -- I am not saying it was the result of me -- but after that, the Press Complaints Commission, who supposedly keep an eye on the press, although they rarely do, actually put in a new code of conduct clause, which said that the boys must be left alone while they're at school and receiving further education.
KING: How old are they now?
SPENCER: Well, William's birthday is in June. He'll be 17 now, I think. And then Harry's in October. And, yes, they're both doing very well. I saw them last month at their school. And I -- they're incredibly well balanced, good, mature boys with a very realistic grasp of life.
KING: They talk about their mother a lot?
SPENCER: Well, I always make it clear that they're more than welcome to ask anything or say anything or whatever with me, and I think that's a healthy way for it to be.
KING: Do you think they will handle well -- or have handled well the Camilla Bowles aspect of all of this? SPENCER: Well, to be honest, that's not an issue I've ever brought up with them, so -- but the fact is, they're both so mature, and they're both so well-grounded that I think they can cope with anything, really.
KING: Do you have any thoughts about her, by the way?
SPENCER: None at all. None of my business, and no, I don't really find any interest in it, to be honest. KING: Do you still bear the hard feelings you have toward the press?
SPENCER: Well, for what they did to my sister in her life, yes, I do.
KING: What is it? It's especially -- I mean, it's everywhere in the world -- but especially in Great Britain -- why?
SPENCER: Well, I think it's just down to market forces, Larry; it's as brutal as that, really. You're dealing with a country the size of Texas with 12 national newspapers or whatever, all fighting for a very tight market, and very long ago, the British press gave up any concept of dealing in truth when they could sell a newspaper through lying. And, you know, it's just the way it is. And I know it's a worldwide reputation the British press have, and it's very sad that that is so.
Having said that, there are some very good English journalist who work for some of the papers, but it's just the overriding impression they give is one of putting money before ethics.
KING: I know you're waiting for the final results of the inquest and everything, but do you harbor any blame toward the paparazzi for her death?
SPENCER: Well, as I said, and as you've picked up, I will wait for the inquest to decide on that.
KING: But you do know they were following her. I mean, you don't know if they caused anything, but you know they were on the trail, so to speak.
SPENCER: Well, these are all fair questions, but for me to give answer now would be unfair. I think we've got to wait for the inquest.
KING: Did she detest them, because there were some critics who said she used them when she wanted them?
SPENCER: Well, it's a very difficult thing, because I think we're talking about her public life and her private life. If she was happy to see them when she was promoting charitable work, or putting focus or a shot light on a difficult cause or whatever, or during the work for which she was expected to do, then I think that fine; she had no problem with that. But in her private life -- everyone needs privacy; I mean, It's a fundamental human right, and she was denied that right. KING: Do you have any idea when the final inquest, final results will be in?
SPENCER: No, I mean, it keeps getting put back, and I've got no problem with it being put back, as long as the findings are full and fair.
KING: How about visitors to when it is open to the grounds?
SPENCER: Well, we're open just two months of the year. In fact, by complete coincidence, Althorp, as with other stately homes, had to negotiate how many days it would be open to the public. And it is open from the 1st of July, which is Diana's birthday, to the 30th of August, which, is the day before death. And I just limit it to try to keep it dignified to 2,500 people a day -- sounds a lot, but you're talking about a 550-acre park. And we just try and monitor it to make sure that it's respectful, and...
KING: What do they -- do they get, in advance, tickets and the like? How does it work?
SPENCER: Yes, that's right. They call up a number and then they get allotted a ticket. It's sent to them with all the instructions of where -- when they're expected and what they can do. They go around the house if they want to. They go around the large exhibition, which I've already mentioned. They go around the lake, where Diana's body is buried in the island there, but not onto the island. Of course, the whole thing is underpinned by respect for what the place is.
KING: Was that a place chosen by you, by the way, the exact burial place?
SPENCER: Yes, it was. What happened was, the obvious option was to be in a church in the local village. That's where 20 generations of my family are buried, in a vault there. But unfortunately, because Diana stipulated in her will that she wanted to be buried without being cremated, it was impossible to have her in that vault, because it would have needed ventilation; sounds very morbid, by but these are the technicalities I had to take in to mind -- in to consideration. And with ventilation came access. Also, it would have been the end of that village. It would have been overrun by people. And one of the most important considerations was that William and Harry wouldn't have been able to visit their mother's grave in peace at any time.
So I then decided to move Diana into the park. I consulted my family. They agreed it was a good positive step. And then, because water was very much Diana's element, it seemed the most natural place to place her remains were on the island, which is protected by water, but also one of the most beautiful spots I've ever seen.
KING: Have you spoken with the queen?
SPENCER: No, I haven't, no.
KING: Was she hurt, by the way, when she was stripped of her title? SPENCER: Who, Diana?
KING: Yes -- did that bother her?
SPENCER: I think it probably did, yes. I think, partly, I mean, as far as I can gather, it was partly because she felt it was almost insulting to, not only herself, but her sons, but, I mean, that was her interpretation of it.
KING: Have royalty visited the grave site?
SPENCER: Well, royalty in the shape of sons, yes, and...
KING: I mean, like, has Fergie been there?
SPENCER: No, but you're stretching it. I don't think she's royalty anymore. I know what you mean. I know what you mean.
SPENCER: The -- no, it's been very private. In fact, I only allow immediate -- well nobody else has asked to -- but I only allow immediate family on to the island to pay their respects.
KING: We'll be back with more. We'll include your phone calls for Earl Charles Spencer. The book is "Althorp: The Story of an English House."
This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEEN ELIZABETH: First, I want to pay tribute to Diana myself. She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness.
I admired and respected her for her energy and commitment to others and especially for her devotion to her two boys.
KING: The queen speaking of -- upon the death of Di. We're going to go to phone calls. We're also going to be seeing scenes from Althorp as well.
By the way, was she close to her sisters? There were reports that she was not.
SPENCER: No, she was. In fact, my eldest sister, Sarah, worked for her as a lady in waiting, which is like a court position, but traveling around the world with her and helping her with her engagements. And my sister Jane was always there for advice when needed as well. So, no. I mean, these are just reports which are there, I suppose.
KING: Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, for Charles Spencer. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. Charles, I would like to compliment you for your wonderful speech at Diana's funeral and for memorializing her at Althorp. She was beautiful beyond any recollection I can think of, inside and out.
My question is, does the survivor of the accident, Trevor Reese- Jones, have any recent revelations as to what happened and do you keep in touch with him?
SPENCER: Well, thank you very much for those lovely things you said about Diana to start with. But going to your question, I have never had any dealings with him, actually, myself. And I don't know what he can remember or what he can't remember from the accident. And I -- I assume that the Paris authorities have spoken to him. And I don't know whether he has to keep everything under wraps until after that. I have no idea I'm afraid.
KING: You would not be curious about speaking with him?
SPENCER: Well, to be honest, Larry, it's just -- you know, for me, Diana is dead and really...
KING: What's it going to accomplish?
SPENCER: Recriminations are useless.
KING: Cranston, Rhode Island, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. How are you today?
CALLER: My question is, when someone passes away, especially being a mom, it's so close to you and you just need extra help, how are the boys really handling her death behind the scenes?
SPENCER: Well, from what I see, they're in a very good place at the moment in that they're at a school which is very supportive of them. It happens to be a boarding school. And they both seem extremely solid and together.
And it's a tribute really to their mother that she built up two boys to be in such a strong position when she could no longer be there herself.
KING: Concerning Althorp, were you -- nobody lives there, right?
SPENCER: No, I do, actually, Larry. I've moved back to England recently, and that is my home, yes.
KING: Is it -- is it weird to live there? By that I mean Di lived there, she's buried there. It is remote; it is castlelike.
SPENCER: Well, I mean, it would seem that way, I'm sure. But it's not. And in fact, everyone who goes there comments on what -- not only on what a beautiful place it is, but also -- it's very grand, as you can see from this footage, in many ways -- but that it has an incredibly easy, welcoming atmosphere about it.
In fact, this room we're looking at now is surrounded by family portraits, up to the present day.
So yes, it's huge. Yes, it's very sort of imposing in places. But also, it's an incredibly warm place for such a large place.
KING: In other words, you never feel stuffy there?
SPENCER: No, I would never allow that, I can assure you. And my children wouldn't either. It's amazing what four children running around -- and also biking around -- that's one of the advantages of such a huge house. My kids can bike inside. They bike to bed.
But there -- it's like a -- it's what you make of it. As I said -- actually, I said it in the book. It was very difficult when I went there, when my grandfather was there. It was an old man's house. It wasn't always easy with my stepmother there.
But now I am there with my kids and I can make of it what I want. It's home.
KING: We'll be back with more of Charles Spencer. This is all in the book "Althorp: The Story of an English House" -- on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Charles Spencer. We go to Nogales, Arizona. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, yes. Hi, Larry.
CALLER: I wanted to ask Mr. Spencer if Diana ever confronted Camilla Parker -- hello?
CALLER: If she confronted -- if she ever confronted Camilla Parker Bowles. And if she didn't, was it because of her royal status and because she had to act a certain way?
SPENCER: Well, I'm not being evasive; I simply don't know. And you know, there are certain aspects of everyone's life and everyone's marriage which are private. And that would be one that she would have kept to herself, I'm sure. And I honestly can't answer you. I'm sorry.
KING: When she would confide in you, it was over -- she did confide in you about the bulimia, though, did she not?
SPENCER: Oh, yes -- you know, about various things.
KING: How did she get help for that, by the way? Did she seek out medical help?
SPENCER: Yes, she did, which shows strength. I always think anyone who can confront a problem like that is halfway to recovery really. And she did seek it out herself and took it -- took the recovery process very seriously.
KING: Grapevine, Texas, for Charles Spencer, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hello. This is Sally calling from Grapevine. Since you have pledged to be close to the upbringing of the boys, what do you think of the recent allegations of William's mentor -- Tom Parker- Bowles' recent allegations about the drug abuse?
SPENCER: Well, as far as I'm aware, these were made in the British press, and I've already made my views clear on where they see truth lying. So to be honest, I'm sure, first of all, that William is capable of making his own decisions in this matter as to who his friends are and who they aren't. And I really wouldn't rely on the testimony of the British papers as to what Mrs. Parker-Bowles' son is supposed to have done or not done. So, again, I can't give any better answer than that, I'm afraid.
KING: You're not very trustworthy of the press to begin with?
KING: What do the boys want to, do by the way? What are their goals?
SPENCER: Well, I think in the medium term William wants to go into the armed services in some form. This is a traditional part of the royal upbringing, but he'd actually liked to do it of his own volition, so that's great.
And as for Harry, well he's still very young, and he's only just done his first year at his, sort of, senior school, so there's plenty of time. But he's actually a very gifted sportsman, and I'm sure he'd love, at this moment, to be playing soccer for England, but I don't know if that's possible.
KING: William is 17; is he interested in the other gender?
SPENCER: Of course. You don't have to be 17; it starts before that, Larry.
KING: Harry is also then.
SPENCER: I would hope so.
(LAUGHTER) KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Charles Spencer. The book is "Althorp: The Story of an English House." St. Martin's Press is the publisher. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: Charles, we have about four minutes remaining; what do you think is going to be her legacy?
SPENCER: I hope that Diana's legacy will be one of, certainly, making people think what they can do for others. That is what she dedicated her life to. And I think that that's what everyone was so shocked by, that somebody who'd done so much with their life for so many other people could have it -- and have their life ended in such a brutal way.
I also think that what she has done, through her death, is make people realize how mortal we all are. I mean, if there was -- if you'd taken a poll in the world two years ago as to who was the least likely person to die, it would have been Diana -- young, vibrant, beautiful, superstar princess. I mean, it was unthinkable that she would die.
KING: We also -- the collective we -- liked her very much. Why do you think that's true? I mean, we didn't -- I met her once -- I met her once. It was charming to meet her. She was funny.
KING: Why did we, collectively -- the world -- like her so much?
SPENCER: Because she was warm, because she put herself out for others less fortunate than herself, because she was clearly dealing with people on the same level as themselves and didn't -- wasn't standing on some pedestal, and because she was -- she had a very, very special quality that -- the clip you showed of the queen's tribute to Diana...
SPENCER: ... talked about that, that she had a gift with people. It was the most extraordinary thing to see. I saw it for myself when she was in a room for charities, or whenever it was, and she just lit up a room. She had amazing presence.
KING: And when she was involved in a cause, it was not just, "Put my name on the paper," right?
SPENCER: That's right, and frankly, she could have got away with that, but that was completely the opposite of what she did. And also, the causes she chose -- I mean, if you look at this -- HIV and AIDS, leprosy, land mines, the homeless -- these are not easy causes. They are really substantial causes which a lot of people wouldn't want to get involved with. They're difficult issues, but she got stuck in and she really -- every time she went somewhere and dealt with these causes, she put a spotlight on things that really mattered in all our lives, but which we could really probably prefer not to have to recognize.
KING: What feelings do you have toward your brother-in-law? Your ex-brother-in-law.
SPENCER: Well, remarkably few really. I mean, nothing positive, nothing negative. I respect him very much as the father of my two nephews, and that is how I view him really. And I always think after a divorce the most sensible thing is to view the parents as the parents of the children first, and as anything else afterwards. And so really no hard feelings, really.
KING: And your own life, Charles -- I mean you're going to write more, you're a broadcaster, but it will always be intertwined with your sister, right? Your sister's name when you pass on, hopefully 120 years from now, is going to be in the first paragraph of your obit, right?
SPENCER: Well, that's no problem to me. I mean, what a wonderful person to be associated with. I mean, that is -- that's a privilege. I mean, as long as I do my own things in my own right as well, so at least they get into the second paragraph of my obit, then I'll be fine.
KING: Thank you, Charles. Thank you very much.
SPENCER: Not at all. It was my pleasure.
KING: All in all, an insightful but often sad hour with Princess Diana's brother Charles Spencer.
We're keeping tabs on the British royals, of course, and we'll keep you updated on palace affairs.
Tomorrow, a very frank conversation with actor Matthew Perry. We'll talk about everything from making $1 million an episode on "Friends" to addictions that almost destroyed his life. Thanks for watching. I'm Larry King. Good night.
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