Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With India Hicks, Prince Charles's Goddaughter
Aired March 25, 2004 - 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, exclusive, Prince Charles's goddaughter, India Hicks. She was a bridesmaid at his wedding to Princess Diana. She's here tonight exclusive. Inside Britain's royal family with one of their own, India Hicks. A rare television interview with a royal family insider is next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We'll have a panel get together later, as per usual when we discuss the royals. But what a great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE India Hicks, Prince Charles's goddaughter. She was bridesmaid to Diana at her wedding to Prince Charles. We'll talk about the Diana tapes and lots of things. She's granddaughter to Lord Mountbatten, one of Prince Charles's closest relatives -- one of my all-time heroes, by the way -- who was killed by the IRA. She's a model and an author, and new book, written with her partner, David Flint Wood, is called "Island Life: Inspirational Interiors." There you see its cover.
I guess you live in the islands.
INDIA HICKS, PRINCE CHARLES'S GODDAUGHTER, DI'S BRIDESMAID: I do.
KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) prompting -- how did you get named India?
HICKS: I was named India because my grandfather was the last viceroy of India and I was the last grandchild.
KING: So it was he, Lord Mountbatten, that influenced the naming?
HICKS: I think he was very much behind the naming.
KING: Did you know him?
HICKS: Yes, I did. I knew him well. He was very much the center of our family. He was an extraordinary character.
KING: He was kind of a hero of mine. What kind of a -- before we get to all the royal thing, was kind of guy was he?
HICKS: He was extremely charismatic. He'd walk into the room and you'd notice him at once. He was absolutely the backbone to our family. We grew up in all of his houses. He was a complete family man. He had a castle in Ireland, where we spent every summer. He had a large estate in the English countryside, where we spent every Christmas. Every Easter, we were all out in the Bahamas together. KING: How old were you when he was killed?
HICKS: In '79, I was about 11.
KING: You remember it?
HICKS: I remember it. I was there.
KING: You were with him?
HICKS: I was.
KING: Tell me about it.
HICKS: It was during one of our summer holidays, where we go every year. And he had gone out on a very small fishing boat that he had, and for some reason that day, I didn't join them. Most of my cousins were there and several other members of the family. And my immediate family, for some reason, weren't there. And I stayed behind in the castle, although I heard the bomb go off.
KING: You heard it?
HICKS: I did.
HICKS: And for several years afterwards, every time I walked into a room or a door slammed or a window slammed down, I would jump.
KING: Was anyone else killed with him?
HICKS: Yes, my closest cousin, Nicholas Knatchbull, who was 14 at the time. He has a twin, a remaining twin, called Tim Knatchbull, who I'm very, very close to to this day.
HICKS: Tim Knatchbull's grandmother, Doreen, Lady Brabourne, and one of the local fishing boys from the village.
KING: That's a horrific thing for an 11-year-old to deal with.
HICKS: It was horrific for the entire family.
KING: Yes, but...
HICKS: But I was at an age where at least I was able to express myself. I was able to get the emotion and the anger out of me.
KING: How did you -- you and Prince -- how did you get to be Prince Charles's goddaughter?
HICKS: I don't know. My mother asked him, and he agreed and...
KING: They were close friends? HICKS: Yes. Yes. And I've been very lucky to have such a good godfather.
KING: What does it mean, in the English concept, when someone is a goddaughter? Is there a -- some -- some sects or groups, godfathers have responsibilities, specific responsibilities. Some, of course, it's just a name.
HICKS: I think that depends on the person who's taken over the title. I think -- I think Prince Charles takes it very seriously. Obviously, he has, I'm sure, an enormous amount of godchildren, but I think he takes -- I think he takes the position very carefully. He considers it before, and he is very...
KING: Takes an interest?
HICKS: Takes an interest, absolutely, right from the beginning. Always remembers birthdays and Christmases, always sends personal notes, follows your career. At every occasion he comes across you, or we happen to be together, he will make a -- a -- you know, a time to be with me.
KING: You've been close to him, then, throughout growing up?
HICKS: Yes, I think as close as one can to be a member of the royal family.
KING: Did you speak to him or talk with him or be with him soon after the Mountbatten assassination?
HICKS: I was probably too young to be particularly close to him at that stage. But he was a great support, I know, to my family, but he was equally devastated. He was very, very close to my grandfather and, in fact, called him Uncle Dickie...
HICKS: ... and I think considered him a real confidant. And I think it was a terrible blow to Charles when my grandfather was murdered.
KING: In regard to your book, I believe you have a letter.
HICKS: I do. I have a lovely letter...
KING: Written by?
HICKS: Yes, written by...
KING: By Charles.
HICKS: Written by Charles quite recently, in February. I sent him one of the books, and he wrote a letter thanking me. And in fact, he says in it that he's going to use some of the colors as an inspiration for a project that he is doing down in Cornwall.
KING: May I see it? Let's see if I can read it.
HICKS: Yes. Let's see if you can read it.
KING: "Dearest India, just to say that I did receive your lovely book of `Island Life,' and I'm so sorry not to have sent a word of"...
HICKS: "Godfatherly love."
KING: ... "godfatherly gratitude"...
KING: ... "long ago. Please forgive me. Can't quite"...
HICKS: "Can't quite cope any longer with everything that surrounds my desk."
KING: "I love the interiors"...
HICKS: ... "of the book and"...
KING: ... "of the book, and especially the colors and those houses. They have given me some inspiration for new development on the"...
HICKS: ... "on the edge of Newkey (ph) in Cornwall.
KING: ... "Cornwell, which the Lord of Cromwell (ph) will" -- he's very interested in architecture, right?
KING: "This comes with my blessings and thanks." And it's signed?
KING: That's Charles?
KING: OK. It don't look like Charles. I mean, it -- he has an unusual handwriting.
HICKS: He does a lot of letters...
KING: For example, that's -- that is Charles. Looked like "Nanny."
KING: No. Anyway... HICKS: This is our future king.
KING: From Highgrove House. Is that -- that's one of his residences?
HICKS: That's his primary residence.
KING: Have you saved letters from him?
HICKS: I have, obviously, and I think it shows what a considerate man he is to be able to take the time to write a letter like that to one of his many godchildren, who's done another project.
KING: It's a three-page letter. And instead of dictated...
HICKS: He's written it himself.
KING: ... handwritten.
KING: Says a lot about a guy.
HICKS: Yes, it does.
KING: How did you come to go to the wedding?
HICKS: My great fortune. I was invited to be a bridesmaid, I think, by virtue of the fact that I was his goddaughter. I hadn't met Diana, so it was very much from the Prince of Wales's side that I was invited to have that position.
KING: So you met her the day of the wedding?
HICKS: I didn't. I met her before because we had several rehearsals leading up to the wedding. And in fact, they were quite intimidating, the rehearsals, from the fact that I had never, up until that moment, really experienced press and the interest of the press. And I can remember one of the rehearsals coming out of boarding school being driven up to the cathedral, where we got out, and we were just inundated with cameras everywhere. And it's the first time I'd ever really taken note.
KING: And you were just 13?
HICKS: Yes, and I was a tomboy.
KING: You were what?
HICKS: A tomboy. Hated the whole thing.
KING: Oh, a tomboy doesn't want to be a bridesmaid!
KING: Wants to go out and play cricket. HICKS: Exactly. Yes. And I had to wear that dress!
KING: You hated it.
HICKS: Oh! Awful, that dress. It was dreadful.
KING: Was it a lot of pomp and circumstance?
HICKS: Yes, it was. It was a lot. But then, I think the English are so good at that. And now, as an adult, I appreciate enormously that I was part of a bit of history like that.
KING: But then, were you bored?
HICKS: I wasn't bored because Sarah Armstrong-Jones (ph) and I had a lot to do. We were in charge of the veil, and the veil was 35 feet long, which I think is probably one of the longest in history.
KING: You had to hold the veil?
HICKS: We had to hold the veil. We had to fold the veil. We had to get it in and out of these wonderful carriages. That was an important part.
KING: Boy, the veil-holder!
HICKS: Yes. Kept me busy.
KING: Our guest is India Hicks. Her book is "Island Life: Inspirational Interiors." Going to be a big party for that tomorrow night at Nathan Turner's (ph) store in Los Angeles. We'll talk a little bit about that later, as well. Back with more. What a life! Don't go away.
KING: We're back with India Hicks. Her book is "Island Life: Inspirational Interiors." She's not a professional, by the way. This is, like, a labor of love, right?
KING: This is a flair you have.
HICKS: Yes. Well, that's a nice way of putting it. We were approached by an English publishing house to do this book on the several projects that we've done, David and I have done together in the Caribbean and...
KING: But neither of you are professional...
HICKS: Absolutely not.
KING: American Association of Interior Designers.
HICKS: No. KING: No. All right, India, about the wedding -- was she nervous?
HICKS: I think extremely nervous, but in an excited, joyous kind of way. I spent the whole of that day with her, from beginning to end. I'd seen her the night before at the royal fireworks. I'd spent numerous occasions at the fittings leading up to that. And all along the way, she was a young girl very excited. And the whole day was full of excitement.
KING: Did you like her?
HICKS: Yes, I did. I didn't have a great chance to get to know her from an adult point of view. I knew her really as a -- obviously, as a sort of teenage...
KING: Did she appear very much in love?
HICKS: Yes, I think she did. She appeared to be someone who was excited to become a princess. I mean, it was a fairy tale moment, especially in our history.
KING: Was it true that she wore jeans, like, the day of the wedding?
HICKS: That's right. There's a great image I have of her getting ready, and she had the tiara on her head and her hair was being done, and she was dressed in a pair of jeans, watching a little, small television with the mirror in front.
KING: Was she conversational?
HICKS: Yes, she was.
KING: Well, what do you make of the whole story? Tell us your view of -- well, first the tapes that were released. I know you've heard them. We've played them on this show. NBC did a couple of specials.
HICKS: I've watched very little of them. I think it's -- I think it's something that should be left alone. I think it's something that we must not rehash over and over again. I think very little is coming out of it now. Nobody needs to hear any more. It's a bit of history that should be left alone.
KING: Why do you think we're so absorbed with it, though?
HICKS: I think we're a nation and a time in the world that is obsessed with celebrities and mega-stars, I think even more so now because of the way the press handle these things and because television is here. But I think the time now has come to leave it alone. KING: Were you sorry for her? With the things you learned, the bulimia, the...
HICKS: I don't think I was sorry for anyone. I think everybody has personal issues and personal problems. We all have things that we do that we regret, that we can't control. And those are very private things that should remain private. I think both Charles and Diana must have had a terrible time during all of that.
KING: Do you think any less of him as a godfather?
HICKS: Of course not.
KING: I mean, learning that, you know, the romance ended soon, he had another woman, et cetera. Has that affected your judgment?
HICKS: No, not at all. And it's none of my business to think either way.
KING: What about her suffering from bulimia? Does that -- how do you react to that? I mean, that -- with someone so famous could have so many problems...
HICKS: I think an awful lot of people who are famous and in the public eye probably carry a lot of terrible issues around with them. And I think we need to keep them private and learn how to deal with them and get the right kind of help and use our judgment and take very good advice.
KING: What's it like being a royal?
HICKS: I don't know, Larry. I'm not...
KING: What do you think it's like? Would you want to be a royal?
HICKS: No, I wouldn't. I wouldn't at all. I think it would be a terrible life and terribly invasive and very difficult to cope with. But I think the members of the royal family are born to a duty, and they take that duty very seriously.
KING: But there's no payoffs, are there. I mean...
HICKS: Very few.
KING: ... the minuses outweigh the pluses.
KING: Where were you when Di died?
HICKS: I was actually in England. I had come over to christen one of my children. I have a birthday around that time, and it was my 30th birthday. And in fact, we were having a dance that night.
KING: You have children? HICKS: I do. I have three boys.
KING: Ah. You're divorced?
HICKS: Am I divorced? No, I'm not.
KING: You're married?
HICKS: I'm not married, but I have three children and I'm still with the partner of them.
KING: Oh, you're with a partner.
KING: OK. Hey, anything goes.
HICKS: Anything goes. Exactly.
KING: So you were in London at the time.
HICKS: I was in London at the time with my partner, about to christen one of our children and...
KING: How did you hear of it?
HICKS: We heard it on the radio. We were in the middle of the English countryside, on a very quiet morning. And my partner said he thought he'd heard this, but he must have misunderstood what he'd heard. And then later, we realized that it was actually something that had happened.
KING: Do you remember your first reaction, India?
HICKS: Total horror. And I think, as the rest of the country went into shock, one's thoughts went to those boys.
KING: Now, do you know them?
HICKS: I know them very -- not intimately at all.
KING: How soon after did you talk or were you with Charles?
HICKS: Not soon at all. I obviously wrote a letter of condolence and expressed my sympathy, but that must have been amongst millions of other letters, which I hope were a support to him at what I imagine must have been a tragic time.
KING: Do you think they were good parents?
HICKS: I think both of them were excellent parents and still are. I think Charles tries extremely hard, and I think he's doing a very good job, if the boys are anything to...
KING: That is a very difficult situation, isn't it, when they're so in the limelight. You have boys.
HICKS: I do.
KING: You know what it must be like to see your name in the paper every day and press following you around.
HICKS: Yes. But they seem to be handling it well.
KING: When was the last time you saw Diana?
HICKS: At a fashion event in New York City. I was modeling then and living in New York, and she came over to do one of those big events. And I went up and said hello, and we had a brief moment together.
KING: Did she remember you as...
HICKS: Oh, yes.
KING: ... part of the wedding?
HICKS: Yes. Yes.
KING: We'll be right back with India Hicks. She's author of "Island Life: Inspirational Interiors." We'll take some calls for India, and then our panel will be joining us, as well. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with India Hicks. Her book is "Island Life: Inspirational Interiors." You used to attend tea parties with Prince Edward?
HICKS: That's right.
KING: What is a tea party like?
HICKS: A long time ago. A tea party...
KING: What happens?
HICKS: It's perfectly English, I'm sure.
KING: It sounds it.
HICKS: You go with your nanny, because no mothers are invited, your nanny and your chauffeur.
HICKS: Yes. And you go to Buckingham Palace and you probably go through the garden gate or the garden entrance, and then you're taken up to one of the royal apartments, where there are lots of other nannies in starched English uniforms. But I had quite a young, glamorous nanny, I have to say.
KING: And how old were you?
HICKS: I was probably around 5, 6.
KING: Were these Mary Poppins types or not?
KING: Yes, they were?
HICKS: Oh, yes, in those days, definitely. And the queen would always be there, and she would pour the tea herself.
KING: No kidding!
HICKS: Yes. And I think it was one of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that she enjoyed because there was no pressure for her to have to speak socially to anybody else. She was really there just for her children and to see the other children enjoy themselves. And we always got a lovely present when we left.
HICKS: Did have you to curtsy and kiss the hand and...
KING: Do you actually kiss the hand? What -- what do you -- what's the protocol?
HICKS: It's very unusual. In think probably England is the only country where a woman will kiss another woman's hand. And indeed, it is only with the sovereign that you do that. But of course, you don't actually kiss her hand, you will kiss your own thumb. You take her hand and then kiss your thumb, because God forbid...
KING: You kiss your own thumb?
HICKS: Your own thumb, because God forbid you got the kid glove dirty in any way or you left a lipstick stain.
KING: Now, frankly, India, is that not a bit much?
HICKS: No, it's wonderful! This is what we need.
KING: But you don't like royal life.
HICKS: No, I, thank goodness, don't have a royal life. But we need to have a royal family.
KING: Yes. Why do you defend it? Why -- why -- because you know there's opposition to it.
HICKS: There is opposition, but think after a sort of republican uprising, we then calm down again. And when they do those polls, there is a unanimous decision that England needs a royal family. I think all of the romance that goes back with it -- I mean, the queen herself is our history. She's the living blood of the years gone by. She's consecrated as our sovereign, which is a religious ceremony that she undertakes a lifelong decision, an oath to be our queen, and which...
KING: Your mother -- your mother was a lady-in-waiting to the queen?
HICKS: That's right. She was a lady-in-waiting. And in fact, the queen became queen with my mother. They were in Africa together on a royal tour, and she was Princess Elizabeth at the time, a 25- year-old woman with a career naval officer husband and two young children. And my mother was there as a lady-in-waiting. They went up the tree at Treetops to spent the night, and in the morning they heard the news that the king had died. And when the Princess Elizabeth came down the tree, she was our monarch. And my mother had to do a deeper curtsy and to start calling her by a very different name.
KING: Wow. Your mother was with her when she...
KING: You -- you've a family that's around events.
HICKS: That's right!
KING: You were there when your grandfather is horribly killed. Your mother's there when the queen becomes queen.
HICKS: Yes. And my mother was also a bridesmaid to Princess Elizabeth.
KING: What is a lady-in-waiting?
HICKS: A lady-in-waiting has the rather endless job of remembering everything that the queen may not have remembered. She sorts out endless gloves and lipsticks and handbags. But much more importantly, she acts as a sort of secretary, on one level. She's reminding the queen who's coming, what time she had to be there, who the names are. She's the shadow to the queen. She is always one step behind but always there on every occasion for anything she may need.
KING: You model. Or you still model, right?
HICKS: I still model.
KING: You model for Ralph Lauren?
HICKS: I model for Ralph Lauren.
KING: You lived in New York then?
HICKS: I lived in New York then. I lived in Paris before that. And I started in Boston a long time ago.
KING: You like modeling? HICKS: In the beginning, I didn't. I found it -- I found it rather awkward. But now I really enjoy it. I think I'm much more secure as a mother and a more mature person. I'm much more at ease with myself.
KING: You have a great face for modeling, too. We're seeing some pictures. Tell me about "Island Life" and designing when you're not a designer.
HICKS: Island life is very different to the life I had a child growing up. My children are being brought up in a very free environment. They are learning to not necessarily play with toys but to use their imagination. They run wild on this island and are very safe. And there's no smog. There's no danger. There are no parking tickets. It's a very good life.
KING: And how about designing?
HICKS: Designing we've kind of fallen into by living on an island and not having a great amount at our fingertips. We've had to be quite resourceful in what we use. And I think through that, we've now developed quite a style. It's a very simple style, and it's very suited to a colonial plantation.
KING: And how did the publisher find out that you did this?
HICKS: It was a girlfriend of mine who is an editor at a publishing company in England now, and she had watched what we had done and the number of projects that we've done over the years. And she finally said, I think it's time to do a book. And I said, Sounds exciting.
KING: You like the tropics?
HICKS: I like the tropics.
KING: Don't mind that it's just sun all the time.
HICKS: When it rains, I feel homesick.
KING: Yes! Still a very British flavor there, right?
KING: Throughout the...
HICKS: The Caribbean does have that, yes.
KING: Do you hop over to Miami much?
HICKS: I do get over to Miami quite a lot. I get my dry cleaning done there.
KING: Do you keep in touch with royal doings? Like, do you think Prince Charles will marry Camilla? HICKS: I don't keep in touch with that kind of thing. If there is a family get-together and I'm sent one of those lovely, big, thick gold invitations, then I will generally go back to England for that. But carrying on with looking at the news, I try not to get involved or see what's going on too much.
HICKS: Because I feel it's not our business and I think they should be left alone. And I don't want to be saddened by what I see or read.
KING: And when we come back, three journalists are going to be with us.
HICKS: Oh, goody. Journalists.
KING: Who make a living -- make a living making it their business.
KING: We have some interesting conversation ahead. And as we go to break, here is India with Charles and Di. Watch. We'll be right back.
KING: Joining us now in London is Robert Lacey, bestselling author, veteran royal watcher, his book, "Great Tales from English History, the Truth About King Arthur, Lady Godiva (ph), Richard the Lion Hearted and More" is due for a United States release this summer, and his book, "Monarch: The Life and Reign of Elizabeth II" is out in paperback. Hugo Vickers is the bestselling biographer and veteran royal watcher, his current book is the "(UNINTELLIGIBLE) Beaten, The Cecil Beaten Diaries as He Wrote Them," and Dickie Arbiter, former press secretary to the queen. India has brought up something interesting, Robert. I wondered if you'd tackle it. Why are we so interested in the private lives of public people?
ROBERT LACEY, ROYALS BIOGRAPHER IN LONDON: Well, she's already talked about the celebrity culture. We've seen the wonderful pictures of the wedding there, this magical moment that India was right at the heart of, and of course, there's this intriguing contrast between all that magic and that we all experienced and wanted to make true, and what happened afterwards. You were asking India about the tapes, what she thought of them.
I can quite understand her feelings. She was at the heart of what was wonderful about the wedding. Why should she want to exhume and get involved in the nasty side of it, and hearing about her own life, I was prompted to ask a question to her, that I was fascinated to hear about her life on the islands and what she's done for herself in this unconventional way with her children living with her partner and not getting married. I wonder if from what she knows of Diana she doesn't feel that perhaps that's the sort of life that Diana has really looking for, the freedom that she enjoys and that she was in some way a bird in a cage.
HICKS: I think possibly that might be true, but Diana undertook a job that was a royal duty, and I think you have to carry that through.
KING: But do you think, as Robert said, she might have liked the kind of life you're living.
KING: Perhaps, not sure? Hugo, what do you make with how much we deal so much with the celebritydom of the royals, something that India feels is none of her business?
HUGO VICKERS, ROYALS BIOGRAPHER IN LONDON: Well, as you know, I'm very convinced that the royal family do an extremely good job. I think it's a very, very good system and I think they get very little thanks for it at times. They are amazing, and I think that the queen in particular, the way she keeps going through thick and thin, good times and bad times, only occasionally rewarded by the most fantastics of a sort of display of public acclaim, at times like the golden jubilee, which is so wonderful, but can I also ask India a question?
KING: Yes, and the India press conference. Go!
HICKS: Hi, Hugo.
VICKERS: Exactly. Hi, India. How are you? The thing is that I was worried about those tapes because Diana in the tapes said that when she was walking up the aisle of St. Paul's cathedral she could see Camilla in the little pillbox hat and all that. I've looked at the pictures and as far as I could see Camilla was sitting about like eight seats in. I wondered how much you reckon that you could take in going up that aisle. You're answering the question, I think.
KING: You were there.
VICKERS: Would she have been able to have seen her?
HICKS: Unlikely. I think unlikely. I think you really would have been looking at the altar.
KING: That you don't buy.
HICKS: I think it's unlikely.
VICKERS: I didn't buy that. I think it's unlikely, but I think you could look at a photograph later on and work out something and that's what I think probably happened. That's why I mistrust the tapes so much and I mistrust Andrew Moulton for producing them. I think it's -- I think they should be left well alone.
KING: They are her, aren't they?
VICKERS: Oh, yes, they're her all right but I think that she's, what you must remember about the tapes is that she lied to everybody about her involvement with the tapes. She lied to her family, she lied to the queen, lied to all of us, she wanted us all to believe she had nothing to do with the tapes. Why should we take at face value everything she says on the tapes. Yes, she said it but I don't trust it anymore than I trust her seeing things as she walked up the aisle.
KING: Why would you say terrible things about yourself?
VICKERS: How do you mean about herself?
VICKERS: I didn't say that everything -- yes, I don't say everything she said was untrue but I think there were certain things in the tapes which are not true. I don't think we should take them entirely at face value, that's what I'm saying. I think it's very interesting. We've all at different times walked up aisles. As India says you're concentrating on the altar, you're concentrating on not tripping over the dress or if you're wearing a dress and all of that kind of thing. I didn't think you're looking around and seeing people sitting eight seats in on the left-hand side.
KING: In other words, India, you were not glancing left and right.
HICKS: I certainly wasn't. No.
KING: Were you a little scared?
HICKS: I was busy. I was busy.
KING: That's right. You were holding the veil.
HICKS: And very painful shoes.
KING: Now let's turn to the former press secretary to the queen, a very close friend of Di's as well. Dickie Arbiter, what do you make on India's thoughts on privacy?
DICKIE ARBITER, FMR. PRESS SECRETARY TO THE QUEEN: Well, I'm inclined to agree with India on privacy, and I'm glad she raised the question of Diana walking up the aisle. She wasn't nervous. She was excited. I was lucky to have been invited to Buckingham Palace the day before the wedding and spent over an hour with both the prince of Wales and the then Lady Diana Spencer and they were both excited of what was going to be happening the following day. I think if she did have any nervousness, and it might have come through, it really was for her father, because he had suffered a stroke and she was worried as to whether he could really make it up the aisle. He did make it up the aisle and he did give his daughter away to the prince of Wales.
So there was no great concern there, but there was a little bit of concern on her part, I think, on the welfare of her father, and I'm glad that India has nailed that one on the head. You know, when you listen to those tapes, and I've seen the programs in America, you've got to ask yourself, the way she was describing events of the early 80s in the early 90s is that the way they really happened or was this sort of somewhat embellished by a rather hurt, lonely, bitter lady. I think probably that, and we can't take the tapes at face value. We have to look at historic events as to when they happened and how they happened, and make our own judgment.
KING: Would you agree?
HICKS: Yes, I do. Yes.
KING: You think perspectives can change or be clouded.
HICKS: Absolutely. I'm sure we've all had that experience.
KING: What was Prince Charles like at that wedding?
HICKS: He was young. And he was with his two brothers who were a support to him, and it was fun and they were all having fun. Prince Andrew was telling jokes. We all flocked onto the floor. Diana's Tiara slipped like that. Everyone was enjoying themselves. She wasn't looking to see where Camilla was sitting.
KING: Robert Lacey, do the royals let loose a lot, by that I mean, do they have a really just let it all hang out?
LACEY: Well, we're always being told in the papers that Prince Harry lets it all hang out, although we're also seeing at the moment he's very serious sides. I think India is really the one to ask that. She's at the private parties, and that's where you see the family let their hair down but one of the intriguing things about the queen is this woman with this extraordinary sense of duty, and it was delightful to hear India talking about the palace tea parties and the fact that she just loved being with the children. I remember when I was interviewing her grandfather Lord Lambatin (ph). He told me the queen's favorite night was Mabel's night off which was when the nanny had a night off and the queen was able to put her own children to bed. It's rather a poignant story.
KING: Indeed do they cut loose?
HICKS: I think as much as they're able to, yes. I have one great memory at the wedding as Charles and Diana's carriage pulled out for them to go away on the honeymoon, and the queen mother and Princess Margaret all ran down through the courtyard after the carriage to which the brothers had tied coke cans which were rattling along on the gravel.
KING: They were running?
HICKS: They were running. KING: To say good-bye?
HICKS: To wave them off.
KING: The queen mother...
HICKS: The queen mother, Princess Margaret and our sovereign running through Buckingham Palace.
KING: Let's take a call, Rochester, Minnesota, hello.
CALLER: Hi. India, I'm so proud to be able to speak to you, but with all the negative talk that there is all the time, it seems like, about the royal family, I just wondered, and this question I guess is for everybody there now. What do you think England would be without the king and the queen? Or a king and a queen?
KING: India would what it would it be, no royalty?
HICKS: I think it would be a different place, sad. I don't want to have a prime minister in a gray suit only. I want to have all that pomp and ceremony as well.
KING: You like that. Hugo, what would it be like?
VICKERS: I think absolutely awful. I think I'd go off and live on an island myself, frankly. Simple as that.
KING: Dickie, how would you react, no royal family?
ARBITER: Oh, no royal family, you know if the country turned to a republic tomorrow, the country would probably elect the queen as their first president because there's nobody better. But if the whole of the royal family was swept aside, India, have you got a room to let?
HICKS: Any time.
KING: All of you share -- Robert, do you make this unanimous?
LACEY: Yes, I do. I mean, I take slight -- when India earlier was saying all the polls in this country are unanimous for the royal family, they're not quite. I mean, she's right, there's 80 percent of the country that is wholeheartedly in favor of the royal family. There's a hardcore 20 percent who are Republicans and good luck to them and good luck to the whole system because that's what England's about, and it's the diversity of it. I agree with everybody else, the royal family embody history. And at the end of the day the serious point I'd like to make to Americans, we have something called the crown in parliament. The crown exists because parliament votes for it. We've just started a citizenship ceremony, difficult to say. Citizenship ceremony in England where new citizens, copying America, swear an oath and they swear an oath to her sovereignty majesty, the queen and the monarchy according to law. And at the end of the day if we don't like the monarchy in the country we can get rid of it. But we like it and we keep it, not in any way imposed upon us. KING: Before we'll get to more calls and take a break.
What kind of king will Charles be, India?
HICKS: Very conscientious. A man born to do his duty.
KING: Who will still write personal letters to his god-daughter?
KING: Will he sign it King -- no, just be Charles. We'll take a break and come back and don't forget, the book is "Island Life: Inspirational Interiors."
India Hicks, Robert Lacey, Hugo Vickers, Dickie Arbiter.
This is LARRY KING LIVE. More calls after this.
KING: We're back. Victoria, British Columbia, hello.
CALLLER: Hi. Good evening. I was just wondering -- I have two quick questions. I understand that members of the wedding party were presented with (UNINTELLIGIBLE) or gifts from Charles and Diana.
I was wondering what you were presented with and what you've done with it?
And did Charles and Diana have a traditional first dance and if they did, what was the song they danced to?
HICKS: Unfortunately, they didn't have a traditional first dance. You're invited to a wedding breakfast, which is actually a lunch and that goes into a cut of the cake and then they change to go away. But yes, we were given presents as a thank you for being part of the ceremony and afterwards, Diana had roses from her bouquet covered in pearl specks which I now have as a paperweight.
KING: Sacramento, California, hello.
CALLLER: Thanks for taking my call.
CALLLER: Hi, India.
Do you have firsthand knowledge of the royal family's reaction to the airing of the video and audiotapes?
HICKS: No, I do not.
KING: Our guests might. Robert, do you know what they've said?
LACEY: No, I don't. Though I actually get the feeling -- I mean, I share the general condemnation of intrusion and rehashing the past. But I think, it's become clear from some of the things being said tonight is that, and I argue this is as an historian that on the whole it's better for the things to be out and for us to hear at least Diana's words. It's much better than hearing what she has to say, than what a butler has to say, and intruding himself into the situation.
And when Dickie says for example, she's talking about from 1981 from the perspective of 1991, it makes us think and look hard. And I was terribly shocked when Diana described her apparent suicide attempt which seems scarcely credible. And from what one hears on the tapes, she says, knowing that she had a child inside her, she threw herself down the stairs. You feel terribly sorry for her, but you also wonder about the state of mind. And one interesting part of that story, too, she describes the queen being absolutely shocked and terrified and sympathetic with her. Which again, from these tapes you get historical evidence that the queen is not quite the dry old stick that she sometimes is painted to be.
KING: Winnipeg, Manitoba, hello.
CALLER: Hi, India. I wonder if you've got you a personal recollections of that wonderful woman, the late queen mother. And are you at all influenced by the lifestyle of your late grandmother, Edwina in terms of some of the choices you've made?
I'll listen to your answer, thank you.
KING: Thank you.
HICKS: I have fond memories of the queen mother but influences from my grandmother were predominantly travel. My grandmother was a great adventurer and she loved to see the rest of the world, and learned from her experiences of traveling. And I think, I've taken a lot of that on.
KING: Was that a great romance, her and the lord?
HICKS: Oh, wonderful, yes.
KING: I understand, Robert, that you have some news about -- on the sporting front about one of the boys?
LACEY: Oh, yes, the great news that Prince William has been selected for the Scottish University's water polo team. So he's not just good at polo where you might...
KING: India is rejoicing at this!
LACEY: I think he's wonderful. He's a really dedicated swimmer, and, you know, to get into the Scottish student water polo team it's a pretty tough achievement and Prince William's made it on his own merits.
KING: Congratulations. Huntington, West Virginia, hello.
CALLER: India, did Diana ever talk to you about the way the royal family treated her and what did you think of the way she was treated?
HICKS: No, she didn't talk to me about it at all.
KING: What did you think of the way she was treated?
HICKS: I think that the queen took her in as a member of her own family, gave her very best lady in waiting to look after her, and I think the queen and Diana had a very good relationship.
KING: Hugo, would you agree with that?
VICKERS: Yes. Well, the queen was always very good to her, always made time for her. I think that sometimes she wasn't terribly well rewarded by her daughter-in-law, I'm afraid to say, but the queen is a very, very good family person, and takes a great interest this in her family. So, yes, I would support that.
KING: Dickie Arbiter, would you agree?
ARBITER: Yes, I do agree. We've heard a lot from the Diana tapes and subsequent writings and even previous writings she never got any help in Buckingham Palace, and that's an absolute lot of nonsense. I was around Buckingham Palace for a long time, certainly from 1980. And people bent over backwards to help her. In fact, I was called in on one occasion in 1984 to give her some coaching technique in doing interviews for radio, and everybody bent over backwards to help her. I was called in on one occasion in 1988 to give her some coaching technique in doing interviews for radio, and everybody bent over backwards to help.
Now, you know, if the person you're trying to help doesn't want that help, that's a different matter all together. But you know, going back to the tapes, we heard her saying that she was a media toy, and that she was hunted and haunted by the media. That's not Diana speaking. She's somebody else speaking, she's just learned the script. And we have to take the tapes as a bit of script writing and embellished and overembellished to events that actually happened some years ago.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with our remaining, take a few more phone calls. The book "Island Life: Inspirational Interiors." The author is India Hicks. And there's going to be a big book party for it tomorrow at Nathan Turner's store in Los Angeles. I know Nathan pretty good. He's a great guy. I even have some of his stuff in my home.
KING: The proceeds go to help kids in the Bahamas. We're back with more calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you find it a very daunting experience that yesterday you were a nanny looking after children, and now you're about to marry the Prince of Wales and one day, you would in all likelihood be Queen? It's a tremendous change for someone of 19 to make all of a sudden, the transition.
PRINCESS DI: It is, but I have hey a small run up in the last six months. And (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Charles and I can't go wrong. He's there with me.
KING: One more call, Shipbottom, New Jersey, hello.
CALLER: Hi Larry, hi India. India, I'd like to know if you ever met the lovely Camilla.
HICKS: Yes, I have.
HICKS: And she's glorious. She's everything an English woman should be.
KING: You like her?
HICKS: I like her a lot.
KING: Do you like her, Robert?
LACEY: I don't know her, and, I'm lost for words. I mean, you know...
KING: You're never at a loss for words, Robert. What's happening to you?
LACEY: Well, maybe one step of intrusion too far, Larry. You know, Charles likes her. That's the reality. And you know...
KING: That's all that counts.
LACEY: ...the rest of us live with it.
KING: Hugo, know her or like her?
VICKERS: I don't know her but I saw her about three hours ago at a party which the Prince of Wales gave at Buckingham Palace to open an exhibition for George III. The royal collections will thank me very much for mentioning that, I'm sure because it's a wonderful exhibition. She was there with her sister. They're very often seen together. I've never met her and can't express an opinion on her.
KING: Dickie, you know her?
ARBITER: I've met her on a couple of occasions through work in the early days when I was the prince and princess's joint secretary, and not enough to pass a judgment on whether I like her or not. I mean what is important is that she likes the prince. The prince likes her. They're comfortable with each other. They're a bit doby and joanish, and let them get on with it, as long as he doesn't interfere with the institution of monarchy.
KING: Are they going to marry India?
HICKS: I have no idea.
KING: Would you like to or don't you care?
HICKS: I don't have an opinion. As long as everyone is happy.
KING: It's their business. What do you care, right?
KING: We're almost out of time. Robert, are they going to get married soon?
LACEY: I don't think so. I think these tapes have, in fact, put it back a bit. And again, from what I hear, Camilla is not keen on getting married.
KING: Sort of like India.
LACEY: I, myself -- yes, sort of like India. I feel when it comes to Prince Charles in public life, the situation actually has to be resolved, and he doesn't have the luxury of choice which India enjoys and I actually think they should get married.
KING: We're out of time. India, thank you so much.
HICKS: Thank you, Larry. It's been a pressure.
KING: India Hicks, the book "Island Life: Inspirational Interiors," now available with big books are sold. Big party tomorrow night at Nathan Turner's store in Los Angeles. And we thank our panel as well. Robert Lacy, Hugo Vickers, and Dickie Arbiter.
I'll be back in a couple of minutes to tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.
KING: Tomorrow night, a panel dealing with the program "Extreme Makeovers." you'll meet a man who fixes teeth, a man who shapes style and a plastic surgeon and a lot of people they've helped. That's tomorrow night.
He's back. Aaron Brown took a night off and he was the social whirl of the evening, my spy's tell me, at the radio correspondent's dinner. He mingled, he worked the room, everyone saw him, he was just -- Aaron, so good to have you back.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: If they came into the corner where I was hiding, they saw me. Thank you Mr. King.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com