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Interview With Princess Diana Biographer Andrew Morton

Aired March 10, 2004 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: The late Princess Diana, revealing how her fairy-tale marriage became a nightmare, with secret audio and videotapes made with Andrew Morton, author of the best-seller "Diana: Her True Story." Tonight, Andrew Morton himself takes us inside the making of those tapes. And joining him to discuss the impact of these tapes, three of world's best-selling royal biographers, Robert Lacey, Kitty Kelley and Hugo Vickers. And they're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We begin the program tonight with Andrew Morton, the journalist and author of the 1992 international best-seller "Diana: Her True Story." A revised version of that book, titled "Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words," was issued shortly after her death in 1997. It included edited transcripts of audiotapes she'd done in cooperation with Mr. Morton, who's our guest in the first half hour tonight. The other panelists will join us later.

Tell me the history about this.

ANDREW MORTON, AUTHOR, "DIANA: HER TRUE STORY": Well, I was writing a biography of Diana, and we had a mutual friend called James Coldhurst (ph). And at the time that I was writing the book about her, I thought I believed in the fairy tale that Diana was perfectly happy and everything was -- in the garden was rosy. He was telling me a different story. And Diana herself suggested would I like to interview her. So I didn't need any second -- second -- second chance. And so I sent her a few questions in. I couldn't go to Kensington Palace and ask her the questions because...

KING: Why?

MORTON: ... it was all very secret, all very hush-hush. And the powers that be would not have allowed it. And so James Coldhurst, this old (UNINTELLIGIBLE) friend of hers, he would cycle to Kensington Palace, have a cup of tea with her, sit her down in her drawing room, you know, sitting room. She'd put on a microphone and she'd answer the questions that I'd given her.

KING: Now, were some audio and some video?

MORTON: Now, it was all -- all just tapes.

KING: All just audiotapes, right?

MORTON: Yes. There are videotapes that she made with her voice coach in 1993, a chap called Peter Setlin (ph).

KING: Why are we just getting them now?

MORTON: Well, NBC decided to do a documentary on how the book came about. And they approached me, and I said, Well, let's -- what a good idea because nobody's really done a documentary about the significance of "Diana: Her True Story" in Diana's life because in the 1980s, she was just seen as this kind of cardboard cutout, two- dimensional character. After the book came out, people saw her as more of a three-dimensional person, as a real human being. And for her, it was a kind of a passport to a new life. And so it was a seminal book at a seminal part of her life.

KING: The documentary is "Princess Diana: The Secret Tapes." Excerpts from the NBC documentary, we'll air some of them coming up right now. Here let's watch -- listen as Diana talks about her reaction when Charles proposed.


DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES: So he said, Will you marry me? And I -- and I laughed. I remember thinking, you know, this is a joke. So I said, yes, OK and laughed. And he was deadly serious. He said, You do mean one day -- you do realize that one day you'll be queen. And I -- a voice said to me inside, You won't be queen, but you'll have a tough row. So I thought to myself, OK. So I said yes.


KING: What's interesting is she would have been a good interview.

MORTON: She was a great interview because...

KING: Responsive, great voice.

MORTON: The great thing about her -- the first tape, intriguingly, it was like listening to a prisoner smuggling out her voice from -- you know, from inside her cell. She spoke -- she kind of galloped through every aspect of her life. And it was almost like, here's the tape, and then -- I've smuggled the tape out now. Please tell my story to the world. That's what she felt. She felt trapped inside this loveless marriage, trapped inside this institution. And she saw the book as a kind of a conduit to let her have a voice.

KING: She was very glad to have this book come out, then?

MORTON: Oh, I mean, one of the funny things, as soon as she gave her interview, she said, Right, will the book be out in a few days, then? You know, this is how naive she was. She just thought that I could just knock a book out in a matter of days. And it -- obviously, it took a year because what we decided early on is that she needed to have deniability, so that when the queen, when Prince Philip, when Prince Charles said, Did you cooperate with Andrew Morton? She could look them in the eye and say, No, I've never met him.

So we used Coldhurst, James Coldhurst, this mutual friend, as the go-between. And he was, as you were, the "deep throat." And there was a time...


MORTON: Yes. I mean, there was a time where we due to meet. We were going to have dinner together. And I was waiting -- and it was at James's house. And a paparazzi photographer was waiting outside, so we had to cancel it. So that was how dangerous it was because all the time, she was followed by the paparazzi. She had a police bodyguard with her. And in a way, it was like, for her, living in an open prison.

KING: Where's James now?

MORTON: Well, I spoke to him about an hour ago. He was at work.


KING: Let's hear another tape. Here Diana talks about her bulimia, which she was already suffering during their honeymoon on the royal yacht. Listen.


PRINCESS DIANA: By then, the bulimia was appalling, absolutely appalling. It was rough. It was four times a day on the yacht. You know, anything I could find, I would gobble up and be sick two minutes later. Very tired. So of course, the mood -- slightly got the mood swings going -- intense one minute, one would be happy, the next minute, one would be blubbing one's eyes out.


KING: Why did she want to talk about that?

MORTON: I think she wanted to give people a sense of how despairing she'd been inside that -- inside that royal system and how that, in a way, she'd not been given the time and the care that she felt that she needed. Here she was, one minute a kindergarten teacher, the next minute a media superstar. And it was just too much for her to handle. She was only 20 years old. People forget this. She was so young, so naive, and she needed that kind of time. And people were bowing and scraping towards her, you know, as soon as she married inside the royal family. But inside, she was dying. And she didn't like this image that was being presented of her as being the fairy-tale princess, when she knew the real story. The real story was that her husband was basically in love with another man's wife.

KING: How did...

MORTON: And that's what killed her.

KING: How did she hook up with you? Why Andrew Morton?

MORTON: Well, I -- I'd been writing about the royal family for a number of years, and I'd met Diana on a number of occasions. It was always kind of bright, light and trite. But we had mutual friends in common, and the most significant one was this chap, James Coldhurst. And at the time, in 1991, she was just at the end of her tether and she just wanted to tell her story. And you know, it was just -- it was so naive. She said, Well, would he like an interview? As though I would say no. And so that's how it began.

And it wasn't just like a one-of. It went on for a year. And it wasn't just like it was a question of making these secret tapes. She would be on the phone to James all the time, six or seven times a day, eight times a day, asking for advice, talking about what was in the papers. We've -- I mean, I remember he was writing speeches for her. We were almost like a shadow court. I mean, on one occasion, she was in a restaurant, she rang up and said, Oh, the speech that you've written, you've got to -- you've got to cut it down. So we ended up in a pub, having a pint of beer, writing this speech out. It was so amateurish and so ramshackle, but it was very, very effective.

KING: Was she neurotic?

MORTON: Well, I think -- I'm not a psychologist, but she was terribly worried about being put into an institution by the royal family. She'd been threatened as such. She was...

KING: Really?

MORTON: There was all kind of whispering from inside those -- the circle of Prince Charles saying that she was a cracked vessel, that she was unstable. And she knew very well, in a way that nobody else did, that ultimately, the control of her children rested with the queen -- not with her, with her mother-in-law. And that was a significant thing. She was one of the most powerless people in Britain. She didn't have control over her own children.

KING: We'll take a break and come back, hear more tapes. The panel joins us at the bottom of the hour. Andrew Morton is our guest. Don't go away.


KING: If memory serves me correct, when your book came out in '92, didn't authorities -- didn't the palace go crazy?

MORTON: Not just the palace. I mean, everyone went crazy. And then -- and even today, people just kind of say, Well, was it true, was it or...

KING: Angry at you?

MORTON: Furious. Yes. I mean, I remember members of Parliament said that I should be thrown in the Tower of London and they should throw the keys away. And...

KING: Because?

MORTON: Because they said it was untrue, that I was destroying the fairy tale, I was destroying the myth. And...

KING: But you had the tapes.

MORTON: But I couldn't say that she was behind it. I was actually -- I was -- I felt like a fairground boxer, you know, where you say, I'll take on all comers. And I had one hand tied behind my back because I couldn't say that Diana was behind this. And so it was a curious thing because this was like an authorized biography. She actually read every chapter before it was -- it went to press.

KING: Yet denial had to occur after.

MORTON: I had to give her what you Americans would call "wiggle room," so that she...

KING: Boy, that's weird.

MORTON: ... she could maneuver herself inside the royal family. I think it worked very effectively. And...

KING: That had to be weird for you.

MORTON: Yes, it made the burden a lot -- a lot tougher, but it -- but ultimately, when she made her own TV program on "Panorama" in 1995, she basically confirmed everything that was in the book. So that was a great vindication.

KING: On this next portion of the tape, we learn from Diana how Camilla cast a shadow over the honeymoon and of her jealousy.


PRINCESS DIANA: We were opening our diaries to discuss various things, out comes two pictures of Camilla. And on our honeymoon, we have our white-tie dinner for President Sadat, Cufflinks arrive on his wrists, two C's entwined, like the Chanel "C."


PRINCESS DIANA: Got it in one. Knew exactly. So I said, Camilla gave you those, didn't she? He said, Yes. He said, What's wrong? They're a present from a friend. And boy, did we have a row! Jealousy, total jealousy.


KING: Was she in love with Charles?

MORTON: Absolutely. Absolutely besotted with him. And as she walked down the aisle at St. Paul's Cathedral, she felt -- you know, she saw Camilla Parker Bowles and she thought, I hope that that -- that whole episode is over. And she had -- she said -- she said to me, you know, Hope and love brimmed in my heart. So she was in love with him. And remember, she came from a broken home. She felt that by marrying the future king, she could never divorce, that the pain and anguish that she felt as a child would be assuaged by moving into this model family, the royal family that stand as an emblem for home, heart and security. And she found within days that it was all just make-believe.

KING: How do you feel about her?

MORTON: I have to say, I admire her more now than I did when she was alive because I realize, as I've got older, just how courageous she was in doing what she did, not just in talking to me but by the courage it took to go through the separation, and then (UNINTELLIGIBLE) single-handed to reinvent herself as being -- from being a Princess of Wales, really, to being a princess for the world so that she was on this humanitarian mission. She could have been just, you know, a cover girl and a glamour girl and on rich men's yachts, which, of course, was an image that was painted when she was with Dodi Fayed. But at the same time, she was -- she knew she had a mission in life. She knew that she had a destiny, and had a profound sense of destiny. And we've heard an indication of that in the tapes. And I think that she -- she stuck to that.

KING: What do you make of her lover writing a book and going forward?

MORTON: Well, I mean, James Hewitt, the butler, the detective, the private secretary, they've all come out with their memoirs. And this is what happens when you're a major public figure. Diana was one of the most significant figures of the last century.

KING: So this is to be expected.

MORTON: And it seems to me that, biographically, you always get memoirs, be it from family, friends, confidants, whoever, and then you get biographies, where it's an objective outsider tries to make sense of that life. So it seems to me entirely appropriate.

KING: The butler got racked up, but his book was laudatory about her, wasn't it?

MORTON: Yes. I think Paul Burrell, who you had on your show a few -- few months ago, he's a kind of a royal Zelig. He paints himself at the center of things where he's not really there. And...

KING: Oh, I see.

MORTON: And for me, one of the disappointing things about his book is that it's a kind of a mish-mash of exaggeration and hearsay and make-believe.

KING: On this tape, Diana talks about her self-doubts and lack of self-esteem.


PRINCESS DIANA: I hated myself so much. I didn't think I was good enough. I thought that I wasn't good enough for Charles. I wasn't -- oh, I wasn't a good enough mother. I mean, oh, doubts long as one's leg, but...

(END AUDIO CLIP) KING: Hard to believe that someone as attractive as that, bright, funny, would have that kind of feeling about herself.

MORTON: Yeas. When you actually listen to the full tapes, you get a sense of a woman who is very self-deprecating...

KING: Yes.

MORTON: ... who doesn't have a very high opinion of herself. And that was one of the enduring problems of her life. She would read an article in the newspaper, and it would hurt her, it would -- if it was a negative article, it would -- because she had very low sense of self-esteem. And she was always fighting that battle to give herself a -- you know, a sense of who she truly was.

KING: Do you think she was sorry the book came out?

MORTON: Well, obviously, in the first few days, with the furor that happened, I mean, everybody was sorry when the book came out, and it was -- it was a tough old time. But then the letters came in. Thousands of letters came to Kensington Palace, and similarly, after she made her "Panorama" program, from women, mainly women, around the world who had seen something in Diana in her admission, in her conversations, in who she was, something of themselves. And so many women came forward about their bulimia, about their eating disorders. So it kind of -- there was a step change in public perception of that, and it's now far more acceptable. It's more discussed, and I think that she's helped around the world hundreds of thousands of women with that. And she was very -- she was very pleased with that.

KING: So you think, in the long range, she did not regret it.

MORTON: No. Absolutely. In the first few days, obviously, because it was so tumultuous. But afterwards, not at all.

KING: Where have these tapes been?

MORTON: Well, they've been in a plastic bag.

KING: In your possession?

MORTON: No, no, no. They're not my tapes. I don't own these tapes. Everybody thinks they're mine, but they're not. They're owned by my publisher. And they've been in...

KING: Who is the publisher?

MORTON: Michael Morrow (ph) Books. And they've been in a safety deposit box.

KING: Why now?

MORTON: Well, it could have been any -- any...

KING: Could have been last year, could have been...

MORTON: ... broadcaster.

KING: ... next year.

MORTON: It could have been CNN. It could have been NBC. It could have been ABC. NBC said, Look, we'd like to do a documentary about how you did the book because we found it a fascinating story because...

KING: Twelve years later?

MORTON: Yes. Twelve years later. It takes you -- it takes the news guy (ph) a long time to work these things out. And I said, yes, fine. Let's do it


KING: ... the publisher paid you?

MORTON: Well, NBC paid the publisher for the tapes, yes, and I gave them an interview about how I did the book. But it was -- it was -- in many respects, CNN could have done it. ABC could have done it.

KING: You're written a few books since. You wrote the coal miners book, right?

MORTON: Did that book...


MORTON: ... those Pennsylvania miners...


KING: And a book on Madonna.

MORTON: Madonna, Monica Lewinsky. We've sat here and...

KING: Remember that!


MORTON: So I mean, Diana has obviously been an integral part of my life, but not the only part of my life.

KING: I'm going to ask you -- and the panel will join us after the next segment. We'll be right back with more of Andrew Morton. Don't go away.


KING: We'll begin this segment, last audiotape we'll hear is Diana talking about the reasons she tried to harm herself. Listen.


PRINCESS DIANA: I was just so desperate. I knew -- I knew what was wrong with me, but nobody else around me understood me. I needed rest and, you know, to be looked after inside my house, have people to understand the torment and the anguish going on in my head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That it was basically a cry for help?

PRINCESS DIANA: Desperate cry for help. And I'm not spoiled. I just need to be allowed to adapt to my new position.


KING: I know you're not a doctor, Andrew Morton, but how did this happen to her, do you think?

MORTON: She was just -- she was literally overwhelmed. She'd gone from nowhere, from being this kindergarten teacher, just enjoying practical jokes with James Coldhurst -- I mean, on one occasion, she cover covered his car with eggs and flour and -- and just messed about, just like a -- just a kid, just a schoolkid. And then, within a matter of months, people were bowing to her, people were curtsying to her, people were looking at everything she wore, analyzing everything. And she thought she was going to get help from inside the royal family, but she got nothing. And it's one of the -- it's one of the -- what we know about the royal family is that they're not very warm people. I mean, you know, when Prince Charles wants to talk to the queen, he sends her a memo. So that's the way they work and that's the way they operate. She didn't get any of that, so she felt very isolated, very alone, and she felt utterly in despair.

KING: How did she meet Charles?

MORTON: She met Charles at her parents' house, Althorpe, on a plowed field, when she was a 16-year-old. Then subsequently, she was at a barbecue, and it was just after Lord Mountbatten had been...

KING: Killed.

MORTON: ... assassinated. And she was very sympathetic towards him, and he was -- as she would say, all over him -- he was all over her like a bad rash. And that's how the romance started. And do you know, Larry, people say to me, Well, Dodi Fayed was just a fling because she was only with him for just a few -- a few days. And when I look at the romance with Charles and Diana, they were -- they -- it was a very short romance. He -- they really started dating in August, 1980, and by February, 1981, he asked her to marry him at -- in the nursery at Windsor Castle, which I think is very symbolic because she was too immature and he was probably too immature. And he was being pushed into marriage by his parents, by the public, to marry a white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant. And for me, the legacy for Diana is the fact that, thank goodness, William and Harry will be able to marry who they want.

KING: They will, won't they.

MORTON: I think so. I think -- I mean -- and you've seen that with Prince Edward, that he's been able to marry who he wants.

KING: Would she have married Dodi Fayed, do you think?

MORTON: The jury's out on that. I think that he...

KING: The butler says no.

MORTON: Well, remember, Paul Burrell was -- felt that he was going to lose his job because Dodi had a butler. So -- and she -- he was the first boyfriend that she'd ever shown in public. She'd been out with him in Paris, in St. Tropez. All the other ones were hiding in the backs of cars, blankets over their heads. And so in a way, she was pushing back the boundaries. Would it have lasted? Probably a bit longer, actually. She felt very safe and very secure with him -- just what she wanted with Prince Charles, safety and security. She'd never got...

KING: Charles going to marry Camilla?

MORTON: Good question. I think the status quo will exist for some time to come.

KING: Because?

MORTON: Because the consternation...

KING: They've loved each other for a long time.

MORTON: Well, I think they should get married, quite frankly. But I think the consternation in the church and in the palace, and certainly amongst the queen's supporters, would be such that it would irrevocably split the royal family because, after all, he's going to be Defender of the Faith, and so on and so forth. So I think that, in terms of the -- his heart, he would probably end up -- he should end up marrying Camilla. In terms of the constitution, it could create something of a schism.

KING: Did the hierarchy, the family, ever come to love Diana?

MORTON: I think that Margaret, Princess Margaret, who was her next-door neighbor, was quite a fan because they shared the same kind of metropolitan interests, ballet, and so on. But after -- you know, after the separation, blood stuck with blood and she was out. She was -- and they knew that she was dismissive of them, and they were equally dismissive of her.

KING: Fergie was her friend, though.

MORTON: Fergie was a friend, but in and out. She -- Diana's friends were very in and out, very -- she was, as somebody said, very tidal, and one minute you could be in, one minute you could be out.

KING: Why?

MORTON: Fergie, she was -- she fell out with over her autobiography, where she made some remarks about -- she got Veruchas (ph) from Diana's shoes. And Diana never really forgave her for that. But... KING: She was very sensitive, then.

MORTON: Diana tended to compartmentalize her friendships. She tended to not trust anybody because, after all, for most of her life, she'd been conspired against, not just by Prince Charles and Camilla, but by the courtiers, by the police, by the valets, and so on, so that she never really trusted anybody. So she put them in compartments. And if she felt you had gone over the line, then she would dismiss you.

KING: Did you like her?

MORTON: I have enormous respect for her. I liked her a lot. I think she was a vibrant spirit. I think that she was -- great sense of humor. And she's a great loss, not just to the world, as a beautiful young woman in the full bloom of life, but also for the humanitarian causes that she supported.

KING: Why does the interest in her remain so high?

MORTON: Because she's an icon, because she tells us something about ourselves. When people -- when people knew that -- when she died, people responded to her because they saw in her loss their own loss. And I think that was, in a way, her profound effect that she'd had on the world, that they saw her journey from 1992 onwards, this woman struggling to come to terms with the demons inside herself and also with the family, with the -- and I think she was -- she was going forward. She was going -- she was making the best of herself.

KING: In retrospect, anything you would have liked to have asked you didn't?

MORTON: I think I'd like to have explored, face to face, more of her relationship with the queen and with Prince Philip and other members of the royal family. But remember, at the time, I was still in the thrall of this. I still thought -- you know, I...


MORTON: ... believed in the fairy tale. And how far can you go with a princess? What can you really ask? And -- and remember, it was always one removed. I was asking her questions, and somebody else was saying, Well, OK, tell me how many times you've tried to commit suicide. Well, let's go on to the next time. Do you remember so-and- so? So it was -- it was -- it -- I mean, I asked her about her suicide attempts, just for example. And you know, I was very kind of nervous about putting those questions down. And after she answered them, she said, Well, Andrew's pretty well written my obituary, then, hasn't he. So she didn't really -- she never really took herself too seriously.

KING: We'll take a break, and when we come back, we'll be joined by Robert Lacey, Kitty Kelley and Hugo Vickers. Don't go away.



PRINCESS DIANA: And I thought my bulimia was secret. Obviously quite a few people in the house recognized it was going on, but nobody mentioned it. And this went on and on and on and on, and really it was only a year and a half ago that I suddenly woke up and realized that I was on the way down fast.


KING: We're back. With us remaining is Andrew Morton, the journalist and author of the 1992 international best-seller, "Diana: Her True Story." Revised edition shortly after her death. And now these tapes.

Joining us now in London is Robert Lacey, best-selling author, veteran royal watcher. His book, "Great Tales From English History: The Truth About King Arthur, Lady Godiva, Richard the Lionheart and More" is due for a release in the United States this summer. His book, "Monarch: The Life and Reign of Elizabeth II" is out in paperback. In Washington is Kitty Kelley, best-selling biographer. "New York Times" best-sellers include "The Royals." Her new book, "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty" scheduled for publication by Doubleday later this year. And in London, Hugo Vickers, best-selling biographer, veteran royal watcher. His current book is the "Unexpurgated Beaton: The Cecil Beaton Diaries as he Wrote Them."

Let's start with Robert Lacey. What do you make of these tapes, Robert?

ROBERT LACEY, ROYAL BIOGRAPHER: Well, of course, we read them, as Andrew said in the second edition of Andrew's book that came out after Diana's death. In a way, of course, we read them the very first time in the book as mediated through Andrew's words.

And I have to say that although I was one of those who was shocked and outraged by what Andrew did in the early '90s, I've come to see that, as he suggested, my rage, and I'll confess it now, is misplaced. I mean, the rage we have to feel -- if we feel rage about the book -- is actually at Diana, and who's repeated the incredible system of deception, which she worked out in order to sabotage the royal family, fight her battle.

I myself don't criticize Andrew at all for what he did as a journalist in making that possible. I think historians will thank him for it, and I found what he said tonight fascinating because he's revealed some interesting aspects about Diana, which I think raise certain questions. This question, for example, of her lack of self- esteem. Here she is in her tapes all the time talking about her lack of self-esteem. And we've always thought, well, this is because of the rotten royal family.

When you listened to what Andrew just said and think about the tapes, you'd say, well, wouldn't this woman have had a problem in any family? You hear about her bulimia. Well, didn't she suffer from the bulimia before she got involved with the royal family? The unkind royal family didn't understand, but Andrew himself has said that nobody in the 1980s understood about bulimia. So, I welcome this program. I welcome the evidence.

KING: Does he have a good point, Andrew?

MORTON: Well, thank you for those points, Robert. I mean, let me just show you the pictures. You look at the pictures of Diana before she married, and the pictures of her after she married, which I put in the book deliberately to show this thing, that Diana was slightly plump, slightly overweight before she married, and then within a matter of months she'd lost several stones in weight.

KING: Doesn't Robert have a point? Something had to be wrong intrinsically -- now the marriage may have exacerbated it, but something had to be wrong there to begin with.

MORTON: Oh, it's ludicrous to think that, I mean, that Diana didn't have problems before she married Prince Charles. After all, her parents have gone through an acrimonious divorce. Her sister Sarah, Sarah McCorquodale, she suffered from anorexia nervosa. So it was something that was in the family. Her mother herself has said that she suffered...

KING: A combination.

MORTON: ... from slightly wobbly feelings when it comes to eating food. So, yes -- there was -- but the trigger was going into that family. And if she had gone into a different family, I don't think she would have suffered quite the same. It was because of that sense of isolation that really was the one that triggered it.

KING: Kitty Kelley, it's quite different hearing her say them than reading them, right, when you hear the voice.

KITTY KELLEY, ROYAL BIOGRAPHER: That's true. It is. You know, Larry, I think the thing what makes this so fascinating is that Diana, Diana's story is the story of a majority of young women today. It's a very modern female story. And I think it's probably hard for men to identify as much as women. Women out there, who are pretty, are chasing after an ideal that is -- you can't be thin enough, you can't be pretty enough, you can't be rich enough. And Diana seemed to have it all, and yet, she really didn't. And I think this is what makes her story so gripping, especially to women. And making these tapes was a huge gamble for her. She really just threw the dice and wanted to see what would happen.

KING: This is, in a sense, Andrew, a great tragedy.

MORTON: Absolutely. I agree with everything Kitty said, because she was actually effectively putting up a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) spike through the bottom of her boat when she spoke to me. She didn't know me. I mean, I wasn't a great friend of hers. She was handing hours of her innermost thoughts to me. I could have gone out from day one and put them on and just produce them on a TV show or whatever.

KELLEY: Larry, will this be shown in Britain? KING: Andrew?

KELLEY: Will these tapes be shown...

MORTON: I have no idea. Maybe. It may not. I don't know. The -- I know there's a lot of interest from British media to...

KING: Doesn't NBC have the worldwide rights?

MORTON: Yes, these belong (ph) to NBC.


KING: ... or sell them to Sky or BBC?

MORTON: They can do whatever they want. It's their documentary, obviously.

KING: Hugo, what are your thoughts on what we've heard?

HUGO VICKERS, ROYAL BIOGRAPHER: Well, I'm rather saddened by the whole thing. I'm sad that these things are coming out now, because they don't tell us anything new, I don't think. I don't blame Andrew Morton for doing it, because I think that the princess of Wales had many, many good qualities, I was a great fan of hers, but she was very manipulative and in a sense she was manipulating him, she was using him as her way of telling her story. I don't believe that it was a passport to a new life. I think in the end, it was a passport to disaster, and I do think that she actually did regret it. And she certainly regretted the Panorama interview later on.

I would like to take him up on a couple of points. He talks about Prince Philip not having been sympathetic at all. Well, we know a certain amount about these letters that Prince Philip wrote to the princess of Wales, I'd actually read these letters, and if you've read those letters you cannot suggest that he was not trying to do anything possible to help her. And at the same time, he gave her the benefit of the doubt that she hadn't helped him because that's what she told him.

And secondly, just a small point, but Princess Margaret once told me that after the separation, she went to Prince Charles and said, I've always been a great friend of hers and I hope you wouldn't mind if I continue to be so. And he immediately said, well, absolutely, I completely understand. So these are two particular points I wanted to make.

KING: You want to respond?

MORTON: Yes. Well, certainly with Prince Philip letters -- people will say that -- and Hugo is right, they are very vicious in tone. But I remember, remember, they were -- he wrote those letters because of the book. And I remember -- and I'll tell you this, Diana phoned and asked for advice on who -- on a lawyer to speak to so that she could respond to those letters. That's how agitated she was at the time. That's how concerned she was at the time. And she contacted a mutual friend, who contacted me and asked me for that advice at that time.

So just to put the historical record straight, that's the specifics. He's quite right about Princess Margaret, they were quite good friends all the way through to the separation, and then after the Panorama program, then the drawbridge came down.

KING: We'll be right back with Andrew Morton, Robert Lacey, Kitty Kelley and Hugo Vickers on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: Robert Lacey, assuming they get to hear it and see it, what do you think the effect will be on the two boys?

LACEY: I think that they will, perhaps surprising, be much happier to hear their own mother's voice through Andrew Morton's tape recorder than they will to hear what Paul Burrell says that their mother has said.

These boys, we talk about them as boys, we like to think of them as boys, they're men. And they're men who've grown up in the pretty tough school of life, they're used to the media. They absolutely despise the media, of course. They are absolutely convinced that it was the media that chased their mother into that tunnel. So, I should have thought that there won't not be the shock horror that we might expect.

KING: Andrew?

MORTON: I think he's absolutely right, they are young men now. And at the same time, they've heard their mother talking about the fact that Prince Charles should never become king. That she has a lover

KING: They love their father.

MORTON: They've seen their father saying that he had an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles and that he was forced into marriage. So they've gone through all this. That trauma for them is over and they've moved on.

KING: Kitty, how well did she do with those boys up until the time of her death?

KELLEY: Oh, I think that she was an absolute magnificent mother. From everything we've seen, everything we know, she seems to be loving and nurturing. I'm curious to know, the pictures show, yes, she was in the throws of bulimia, it's a dangerous, dangerous disease, but at the end of her life when she was working out and going to the health club, she looks so vibrant and healthy, like she'd really conquered it. And yet we're told by Burell that she hadn't conquered it all. That he went to great lengths to help her. He encouraged her in her bulimia. But she seems to have been on top of it.

KING: Andrew? MORTON: Kitty's absolutely right. She was on top of it. And you look at the pictures of her in 1981, '82, rather, just after she married and how gaunt she looked and then you look at her in '96, '97. She was sleek, sophisticated. The whole way she held herself was quite superb. And she was at her most vibrant, at her healthiest towards the end of her life and at her most confident. Meeting people like Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger and Larry King.

KING: She met me and Colin on the same night.

MORTON: Absolutely. Rubbing shoulders with you in a way that she would never of done a decade ago. So, I would totally agree with Hugo Vickers, as far as I was concerned, she became a new person, she really came into herself as soon as she separated from Prince Charles.

KING: Hugo, you can comment on that and also tell us why you think the fascination with her remains.

VICKERS: Well I think the fascination remains, as Andrew Morton has said earlier on, she's an icon. It's like Marilyn Monroe, all these different characters, people will always be interested in her.

But, I'm sorry, I think that towards the end she was spiraling into a dangerous sort of chaos. I don't think she knew what she was doing and where she was going. One minute she was on a rich man's yacht, the next minute she was worried about what the press was saying, so she was rushing off to do something for the Red Cross. She actually asked the Red Cross if she could come out for that.

She was so obsessed with the newspapers. She was telling stories to the press. She was very manipulative. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but there she was, she was the mother of these two boys, one of them is going to be King of England one day, should she not have considered this a little more?

I mean, Andrew, I think seems to think that the royal family kind of a whole group of monsters and perhaps he feels they should be got rid of all together, and that they shouldn't be there anymore.

But, I'm sorry, she was very bad in the way that she reacted to the very unfortunate situation, and I agree, very difficult situation in which she found herself.

KING: Andrew?

MORTON: Well, I think it's absurd proposition. Diana did her -- I think she was very amateurish about her manipulation because she tended to do it herself. Prince Charles employed a number of people to do his spin doctoring for him. I mean, after her death, he wasn't spin doctoring against Diana anymore, he was spin doctoring against the queen. So, manipulation inside the royal family is part and parcel of where they've been.

As far as Diana's concerned, the humanitarian mission she was on with land mines generally spoke to her as a human being and she was really into it. But she realized two things that her position and her beauty and her iconography could be used to do good. And that's why she used the mass media to that effect.

At the same time, she didn't want them intruding into what she considers to be her private life. But obviously, with my book, and with the Panorama interview and so on, people thought that, well, she had crossed the line.

KING: Robert Lacey, is that inquest in progress concerning the death?

LACEY: Yes, we've seen photographs, news reels here of the coroner, who is actually the British coroner, who's gone over to Paris. Made a point of having himself photographed in the tunnel with the French police then making a big point to the fact that now that the delay was caused by the delay of the production of the French documents. And the delay seems to be down to the fireds (ph). But I don't think it will be until next year that we actually get results from this.

KING: We'll be right back with Andrew Morton, Robert Lacey, Kitty Kelley and Hugo Vickers on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


PRINCESS DIANA: My husband made me feel so inadequate in every possible way that each time I came up for air he pushed me down again.



KING: We're going to play a what if game now in our remaining moments with Andrew Morton, Robert Lacey, Kitty Kelley, and Hugo Vickers. Robert, what would have happened had she lived? What would -- where would -- how would the Di story play out?

LACEY: I think she would have ended up less respected in British public life than Fergie has. I have seen the newspapers published on the night of her death. The first editions before people knew she was dying and I have to say, those newspapers entirely bear out what Hugo has been saying this evening. It may have only been the view of the British journalists, but they were describing a woman who was out of control, who was making herself ridiculous, veering from one thing to the other. I think she was out of control and I think that would have got worse and I think, this is a tragic and maybe cynical thing to say, her death was the best possible thing that could have happened for her reputation.

KING: Kitty?

KELLEY: Robert -- I think that she would have gone on to be more of what she was. I think she saw that the humanitarian efforts that she made were the efforts that brought her the greatest amount of respect, admiration and affection. She was smart enough to know that and I think she derived something good out of doing good. So, I hope that she would have done that. And I'd like to think that -- I would like to think that she would have found some kind of happiness.

KING: Hugo?

VICKERS: Well, I've often wondered what would have happened if she had survived that Saturday night and had come home to Kensington Palace the following next day. She would have found a lot of invitations inviting her to do things and would have found out, I suspect, more interesting than being on a millionaire's yacht. I think the last images of her are distressing, but naturally, of course, I also agree wholeheartedly with everything that Robert said. I still think she was spiralling into chaos. I don't think it was going to get any better. I think it might have been a very sad middle-age for her.

KING: What was her impact, Andrew, on the royal family, good or bad, do you think, in total?

MORTON: I think that the impact on the royal family has been that they have had to loosen the stays a little bit, but I think essentially the garments are the same. In terms of her life, if she had lived, I would totally disagree with Robert on his contention that she had died at the best possible time. For me, analyzing her life in the way that I have done, it seems to me that she was on an upward trajectory and there was light at the end of the tunnel. The light sadly, was the paparazzi flashlights but at the same time, I think she was focusing on the future, she was looking to trips to Vietnam, to Cambodia, and elsewhere on her land mines mission and, for me, I think that she had actually gone through the worst of it and she was reaching those (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: Robert Lacey, is Charles going to marry Camilla?

LACEY: I used to think so, I don't think so any more. I don't think the man's got the guts for it and from what I hear Camilla is not very interested in it either.

KING: What do you hear, Kitty?

KELLEY: I still think that they're going to get married. What else are they going to do?

KING: Interesting panel tonight. What do you think, Hugo?

VICKERS: I think she makes the decisions, that's what I think. But I'm afraid if I just get back to that business about what Andrew was saying about the light at the end of the tunnel, to use an expression used by Robert Lowe (ph), I think the light at the end of the tunnel was the light of an oncoming train.

KING: And you, historically, are going to say what about her, Andrew? What is history going to say? What are kids going to be reading 50 years from now?

MORTON: I think the legacy for her is Prince William, for a start off, but also, I think there is a wider legacy. I think it made us think about who we are as human beings, what we are as a society and it's a debate that's still going on. Certainly in Britain where we talk about the move from enlightenment, our belief in irrationality and emotional intelligence, there's a great debate going on at the moment about who we are as a society and where we are going. I think in a way Diana's death, Diana's funeral initiated that debate and made us more aware of where we're going.

KING: Thank you, all, very much. Thank you, Andrew, good seeing you again. I thank Robert Lacey, Kitty Kelley, Hugo Vickers and Andrew Morton. I'll be back in a couple moments to tell you what's coming ahead on LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: Thanks for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Back tomorrow night with more guests and interesting conversation. Speaking of things interesting, stay tuned for the most interesting and trusted name in news CNN. Good night.


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