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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Charles Earl Spencer
Aired October 15, 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. Princess Diana as only her own brother could know her. Charles Spencer, her only brother in his only national interview shares unique and intimate memories of the woman behind the legend, the little girl he grew up who became the lady the world mourned, his sister the late Princess Diana.
Charles Spencer for the hour, exclusive and next on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: Good evening. Great pleasure to welcome a return visit to Charles Earl Spencer, he is Princess Di's only brother, the uncle of Prince William and Prince Harry, the author of a very popular history book, "Blenheim, The Battle for Europe" which has become a major best- seller in Britain.
We're here to discuss his late sister and the exhibition, "Diane, A Celebration" which will be at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale in Florida from October 10 through December 31 taking place right now in fact. We'll be seeing video of the exhibit, as we go through the evening tonight. At the same time, we'll also be seeing photographs you've never seen before from Diana, the portrait, a new exhibition. You will see lots of fascinating shots throughout this show. We thank you, Charles Spencer, for being with us. We appreciate it very much.
CHARLES EARL SPENCER, ONLY BROTHER OF THE LATE PRINCESS DIANA: It's my pleasure, Larry.
KING: Tell me about this exhibition "Diana, A Celebration" which is in Fort Lauderdale.
SPENCER: We've been running this exhibition at my family home for the past seven years, and it's attracted hundreds of thousands of people from around the world. Because it was a family house, we only have it open for three months a year. It's now time for it to travel. This will be the first time it's come to the States, coming to Fort Lauderdale. It's a series of rooms, which really put Diana's life in context, starting with a small room dedicated to her background and then going into ones about her childhood, which has film footage my father took of her, everything from her first steps and her christening, through her childhood, birthday parties, et cetera.
And then a room dedicated to her engagement and royal wedding. And another one, which is focusing on her charitable life. And then many of her dresses. We have her wedding dress and 20 odd other dresses. They're not just fashion statements in themselves. Many of them are connected to Diana's charitable work.
Then we have a room connected with that tragic week, tragic for many of us, week between her death and the funeral, the funeral itself with the script of Elton John's song that day, and also my speech.
And then a more uplifting room, but also part of it, is a selection of the 15,000 books of condolence we received from around the world. Everything from prisons, hospitals, embassies all around the world.
KING: Whose idea was this?
SPENCER: The idea of setting up the exhibition was very much my family's. We were concerned that somebody else might do something similar, and we wanted to make sure that it would be in good taste, and also that all the proceeds from those people that visit this exhibition should go to charity, all the profits should go to charity. In the past six years while it's been open, it's raised almost $2 million just from being three months a year. Hopefully by being open longer, it will do more for charity and keep the message of what Diana's charitable side was like alive several years after she's now died.
KING: Why only three months in Althorp?
SPENCER: Really because I've got a young family. I have five children and two step-children. It is a family home and so we're open for the three summer months of July, August and September. But to have it open all year-round would be quite difficult. We get 2,000 people on a busy day. It's quite an imposition. I have to actually, by law, have the house open for two or three months a year anyway because of the contents of the house and various deals with the taxation people over here. It's very common for large houses of this type, with the quality of art collection there to have to be open for a certain amount. So we honor that. People are welcomed and I'm delighted to have them there. The rest of the year, it must travel. It's in Florida this week.
KING: In the future, will it continually travel? Will it go to other countries? Will it go to Australia, will it go to Canada?
SPENCER: Yes, it will travel. I would very much expect it to come back to the United States next year. The exact venue has not been decided. Actually, I'm sure it will go to Australia at some time, too. It's very key for us to send it to those areas of the world that were particularly connected with Diana. It has been to Japan. That was the first place it went to. Not only did the Japanese really take Diana to their hearts, but also at the same time, I knew they'd look after the exhibition perfectly. It was amazing the condition everything came back in. Some of it was even better than when it disappeared from our house. Little tears in old family photographs came back mended. It was quite remarkable.
KING: This is called "Diana, A Celebration" and again it will be at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale, a beautiful establishment by the way, right through the end of the year, through New Year's Eve in fact, December 31. There's also the publication of "Diana, The Portrait," a lavish book about Diana. You're seeing scenes from that tonight. That's her family, right? Was this -- you're part of this, too?
SPENCER: Well, I'm very supportive of this book. But in fact, it was put together by Diana's charity, called the Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, a charity established after Diana's death to continue her work. They're behind this but they have my and my family's support with it.
KING: SO throughout the show tonight, as we talk to Charles Spencer, we're giving you a look at "Diana, A Celebration." The exhibit now in Fort Lauderdale and showing photographs from the book, "Diana, The Portrait."
Explain what -- we have it written as Charles Earl Spencer. You are an earl and what is an earl?
SPENCER: Well, I would say, Larry, there's a lot of people over in England who would be asking that, too. Originally, an earl was somebody who would be representing the monarch in the various counties of England. Now, they don't do an awful lot, really. But difficult to give up a title like that, really.
KING: So it's Charles Earl Spencer? That is the way it's officially designated?
SPENCER: It would be. Please call me Charles. Especially, as I've been on your show twice before. But an Earl is one of the three or four or maybe more ranks of the British aristocracy. And it doesn't mean a huge amount anymore but it just means one of my ancestors did something quite good at some time far back.
KING: All right, Charles. How do you explain to yourself and to us this endless fascination with your sister, who would have been 43 years old now?
SPENCER: I think Diana had a genius for people and for connecting with people. I think during her decade and a half in the spotlight, around the world, she managed to intrigue and enchant a huge number of people. Really, it is astonishing that one person could captivate so many. I just think there was something about her that was unique. I don't think there are any other glamorous humanitarians. There are a lot of glamorous people and a few humanitarian who have a global reach. I don't think there's anyone else who had both constituencies wrapped up.
KING: We'll be right back with Charles Spencer, the brother of the late Princess Diana. We'll continue showing you incredible shots from this exhibition, "Diana, A Celebration" and from the book, "Diana, The Portrait." Right back with Charles Spencer right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) IRVIN LIPPMAN, EXEC. DIR., MUSEUM OF ART, FT. LAUDERDALE: This pink silk dress with the blue trim designed by Catherine Walker, a British designer, in 1991, was for Diana's trip to Pakistan. Diana was well aware at this time that wherever she went the media would follow her. And she used her sense of fashion to bring attention to the causes she felt important.
Later she wore it when she visited Mother Teresa at her hospice in Calcutta.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're also showing you wonderful video tonight of Charles and Diana as kids. I'm sure a lot of this video you have never seen before.
Growing up. Was she -- you're how old now, Charles?
SPENCER: I'm 40 now. I was 2 1/2 years younger than I Diana.
KING: OK. I have friends who have older sisters. Older sisters like to kick young brothers around. What was life like with Di as a kid?
SPENCER: Actually, I had it even worse than your friends, because I had 3 elder sisters and no brother. So, I was very much kicked around. But I mean, I have go the same -- I have got 3 daughters and a son, so I've seen it from both ends.
And really, it's very difficult question you ask there, Larry, because that was my childhood. And I have no other direct experience to judge it against. We lived in a very privileged environment. But again, as a kid, you don't notice that, it's just life. We weren't living at Althorp until I was about 11 or 12, and Diana about 14, 15 because my grandfather lived there. And we lived on the Sandringham Estate, the Queen's estate in Norfolk, in the east of England.
And we had a very -- well, my parents divorced so there was always that shadow in the background, because it was quite unusual then. And I think at the school we went to, we were the only children with divorced parents.
But the fact is we lived a happy life, albeit with fractured family life with the two parents. It was pretty good. A lot of happiness. My father adored us. We spent most of our time with him. And it was a really good life, when I look back on it.
KING: Was she a good big sister? Was she a little doting? Was she -- took care of her little brother?
SPENCER: Well, I mentioned actually in the eulogy in her funeral, she looked after me as a baby. I've seen all the photographic evidence of that. And she was very attentive. And she always had a maternal streak. And I suppose having a baby brother brought that out early.
And there is actually in the book, there's a true story from first headmistress of a school we went to when we were very young. And I remember the headmistress telling me this story, during the first morning that I was there, Diana had already been there a couple of years, Diana kept fretting and saying to the head teacher, I don't know, is Charles OK? Is Charles OK. And in the end, the head teacher said, look, go and see. And then she left her classroom and came to see how I was doing. And she came back, apparently, with a huge smile on her face, and yes, he's OK.
So there was a nice element, there, of being looked after. But I have to say, she was a very strong character. And so was I. And so there was always the capacity for ordinary brother-sister friction. And yeah, that did happen. And she was quite strong physically, so when we scrapped, it wasn't easy.
KING: What was it like for you when your sister and the other Charles got married? What was it like to have your sister step into that picture?
SPENCER: Well ironically, I felt at the time, I was only 16 or 17 or something, I thought we would all turn up, my family would all turn up for the day, and it would be obviously huge event. We didn't realize quite how spectacular it would be. And then after that, we would all just go back to our lives and get on with it.
Well, it was never like that, because Diana instantly became such a global phenomenon, that was that. We all became slightly like bit part actors in a soap opera, of which the royal family were the stars, and we were the sort of -- the in-laws.
But I was instantly impressed with the way Diana took to her role. You could see it, the way the people took to her. First of all, in Britain. In her engagement, she was extremely popular in Britain. And then, from her wedding day, she was known across the world.
Also, she suddenly became very beautiful. I remember as a younger brother, I never could see her as pretty or whatever. But I remember going to visit her on the day that she was getting married, in July, '81. And I walked in, and thought, my goodness, I have a very, very pretty sister, suddenly.
So, she emerged from being this young teenage girl with a bit of puppy fat and all of that, into a sort of -- a beauty, really. That was quite a -- I was obviously proud of it. But that was quite a surprise. And she sort of took to royal life, and international global superstardom, with amazing ease.
KING: Was there a little down side? Any regrets, a little jealousy, a little too much attention? Enough of this already? Did you have any of those feelings?
SPENCER: No. I mean, I think, really, the whole scale of what had happened to Diana was so huge that, you know, if you were up close and saw what was happening, you didn't really want it, because it was too much quite a lot of the time. But she didn't complain in the early days. She got on with it, and I think, enjoyed it.
But no, never any jealousy. I can honestly say that. But you would have to be a very superficial person to be jealous of what she had to put up with. Although, of course, she had an amazingly privileged life on the surface, the tensions she had to bare in the most glaring publicity were very tough, I think.
KING: With all you have learned since, and I know you were very close and she talked to you, it's even more amazing how well she even held up, right?
SPENCER: Well I think so, Larry. There's been a lot of stuff written since she died, and before she died about, you know, her problems with her eating disorders, et cetera. But I think the fact she stayed sane is a huge testimony, really. I mean, the life she led was so extraordinary. And I don't think anyone has been put through that. I mean, you have to look at the Madonnas of this world, or whatever, but their responsibilities are more, well commercial. They're not representing a nation and a dynasty and all that. They are there to sell, not particularly Madonna, but those sort of superstars are there to sell a product.
The cynics would say Diana was there to sell a royal family. But the responsibilities went much, much deeper than that. And I think you have to, after 7 years, even those people who resent whatever part of Diana they do, they have to accept that she did a fantastically good job in the circumstances.
KING: We'll be right back with more of Charles Spencer right after this. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IRVIN LIPPMAN, MUSEUM OF ART FT. LAUDERDALE: This is unquestionably the most famous wedding gown in the world, designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel with great help from Diana herself. Together they poured through the pages of Victorian era manuscripts to come up with a fairytale gown that was fit for Lady Diana's marriage to Charles on July 29, 1981.
It was designed to fit this beautiful body, but also to fill St. Paul's cathedral.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I, Diana Frances...
PRINCESS DIANA: I, Diana Frances...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take thee Charles Phillip Arthur George... PRINCESS DIANA: Take thee Phillip Charles Arthur George...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To my wedded husband...
PRINCESS DIANA: To my wedded husband...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To have and to hold...
PRINCESS DIANA: From this day forward...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For better for worse...
PRINCESS DIANA: For better for worse...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For richer for poorer...
PRINCESS DIANA: For richer for poorer...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In sickness and in health...
PRINCESS DIANA: In sickness and in health...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To love and to cherish...
PRINCESS DIANA: To love and to cherish...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Till death us do part.
PRINCESS DIANA: Till death us do part.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Again, we're back with Charles Earl Spencer, Princess Di's only brother. You're seeing scenes from the exhibition "Diana, A Celebration" at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale. We're showing you scenes from "Diana, The Portrait," an incredible book with extraordinary photographs and also showing you video of Diana as well as we continue talking with Charles Spencer. Her handling of the press. She began to become a master of it after a while. First bothered and then almost ingenious.
SPENCER: And then, beyond that point, Larry, I would agree with both of those to sum things up. But after that, it got really, really tough for her. So, yes, going back on your question. I think at first, she handled them really well. In those months before the engagement was announced, she could have scuffled her chances of becoming Princess of Wales by giving one bad interview, one offhand quote. But she kept her dignity and she was only a young teenage girl, for goodness sake, we forget that. And she kept her composure and people really liked what they saw, and then she blossomed.
I think it really was tough, because privacy is one of the things you take away from somebody when you want to torture them. And I believe that some of the intrusions into Diana's privacy, which were ongoing on a daily basis, were really cruel. Towards the end, there's often been footage of her crying and reduced to tears. She told me once, after a paparazzi photographer in London, one particularly well- known here who told her he would hound her until the grave, which is an unfortunate phrase, given what actually happened to her.
Of course, there was a public appetite for images of her. I think the public didn't realized until after she died, the toll it caused her. It was agonizing not to feel she could do anything. You could say, was she wise to step outside of the royal family's protection? Whether it was wise or not, it's what she wanted to do. She was a very independent person. It did leave her vulnerable to the worst excesses of the paparazzi, I'm afraid.
KING: Do you think she would be proud of her children?
SPENCER: I know she would be proud of her children. That's the easiest question you've given me all evening. They are two really well-adjusted, really decent young men. And I'm so delighted with the way they've turned out. I have absolutely no doubt she would be proud. Particularly a couple weeks ago, I don't know if it was reported in your media over there, Harry said he felt he had a lot of his mother in him, and that he wanted to do a lot of charitable work, of the sort she wanted to do. That's the tough end of charitable causes, not the ribbon cutting and just turning up at a grand occasion. I think that that would be a source of pride to any parent, frankly.
KING: Are they the subject of paparazzi? If so, how are they handling it?
SPENCER: I worry about this side of things. There's been a sort of agreed truce while they've been educated, but, you know, William will soon be out of university in Scotland, and Harry's declared that he's going into the army. I gather, from somebody who overheard the press, my mother sadly died early this year -- at the funeral, somebody overheard the paparazzi there said they were counting the days until William became fair game. That is not good. But I hope the fact that he's well protected, well inside the royal family, will give him a better chance than Diana had.
KING: Do you get to see them a lot?
SPENCER: Well, I'm an uncle who's 40 and they're young men, so probably not a huge amount. I've seen them three times recently, but it's very much -- I've got lots of nephews and nieces. I know the role of an uncle approaching middle age is probably less attractive than friends their own age. The key thing here, really, Larry, is that I stand by my promise at Diana's funeral, that any time they ever need me, I'll always be there for them. I think that's all you can do when people have grown up.
KING: William will face Charles' special challenges, will he not? He's the future king.
SPENCER: Yes. He's the future king and he's also -- he's a pin- up in his generation as well. So very interesting parallels there with what Diana had to put up with. I think William's an extremely sort of level headed man. He's got very good friends, and he's well loved. And the public over here adore him. I'm sure he's got a strong following in the States, too. I think he's well -- well suited for the task, if anyone has to do that task, he's as good as anyone could hope for.
KING: This past summer, I'm told the official opening of the memorial fountain, honoring Diana, the queen and Prince Charles and Princes William and Harry were there, members of Diana's family, the first public gathering of the two families since the funeral. How did that go?
SPENCER: It went much better than a lot of the press were hoping, I think. They ignored the fact -- you're right, that's the first public time we've all been together. This whole business of a feud has been very much overplayed. On the day of the memorial fountain being started by the queen, it was a beautiful summer's day. She was incredibly gracious and very generous in her praise, her public praise of Diana. And it was an uplifting occasion. There have actually been teething problems with the design of the fountain, et cetera. But the goodwill behind the fountain was evident from all sides. I'm sure it will be one of several -- very suitable memorials to Diana's life.
KING: We'll be right back with more of Charles Earl Spencer, the brother of the last Princess Di. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEEN ELIZABETH II, ENGLAND: I believe that you have given the park at the very heart of our capital city the Diana I knew so well. A highly original memorial which captures something of the essence of a remarkable human being.
Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of Charles, William, Harry, and all my family, and of all the Spencer family with us today, I have much pleasure in declaring the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain open.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIPPMAN: Among the 150 objects we have here in Ft. Lauderdale, in this childhood gallery, the mementos include the tuck box that Diana took with her to grade school, the school uniform she wore at age 7, and of course the photographic albums Earl Spencer made showing Diana at a very early age as the classic beauty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Charles Spencer. He is the brother of Princess Di, the uncle of Prince William and Prince Harry. He is the author of a very popular history book, "Blenheim: The Battle for Europe," which has become a best seller in Britain. We're here discussing the exhibition "Diana, a Celebration," which you're seeing shots of. It's at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale, will be there through the end of the year. Also the new book, "Diana the Portrait," you're seeing scenes from that, as well as home video of Princess Di.
Are you concerned at all, Charles, about security breeches around the royals? There have been break-ins recently. Concerns for your nephews' safety?
SPENCER: Well, I think it does, you know. Some of these security breakdowns have appeared vaguely comical. I mean, there is a man dressed -- I drove past Buckingham Palace last month, and there was a man dressed as Batman hanging off the front of Buckingham Palace to protest about fathers' rights or whatever, and OK, that is -- I mean, I have to say, it raised a smile when I saw it, and particularly when I heard Robin hadn't quite made it. He had been arrested.
But there are more worrying signs. That -- it's such a difficult balance over here. We don't have the culture that you have, of presidents arriving with an army of bodyguards. It's just not how we have done things over here. It was not how we have done things over here. But I suppose with terrorism being a problem at a constant threat, as we've seen so much recently, I think we've got to -- you know, it's going to have to be tightened. The royal family, obviously, want their freedom, and they are entitled to set their own limits. But the police have to operate within the real world.
KING: Any thoughts on the ongoing inquest into her death?
SPENCER: Well, I'm pleased in a way that there's an inquest, even though it is over seven years now since Diana's death. I think -- I have been on your show before and said that I've never seen any reason for there to be any conspiracy theories. And obviously, if any such evidence ever appeared, I'd be more interested than most in seeing it. But nobody's ever shown me anything that adds up to a conspiracy.
And if this inquest can help to just put a line under that, then that would be good. Although of course, you know, these conspiracy theories, like with President Kennedy and whatever, they have an enormous amount of mileage in them, because they sell books, they make programs. You know, it's probably impossible to hope that the conspiracy theories will go away, but maybe this inquest will make most sane people realize that there just hasn't been any evidence shown for it.
KING: What was your reaction to her former butler, Paul Burrell, who came on this program, who wrote a book in which Diana appeared to show fear of harm coming to herself. What did you make of that whole story?
SPENCER: Well, sadly after her death, Diana has been subject to a lot of books and theories and people obviously wanting to make a lot of money. And so I'm afraid -- I treat all of them as pretty much the same, and whether it's ex-boyfriends, ex-members of staff, whatever, I just choose not comment on them individually, because I don't want to give them any publicity or credibility.
If we're really frank here, Larry, I think the fact is that Diana sustained a whole industry on her back when she was alive. And there is a lot of people who are not prepared to accept that she has gone, and that their work is best directed elsewhere. So what I mean by that is, there's a lot of authors who wanted to write books about her and television producers who wanted to make programs about her, and they're still going to do that, even though she's been dead seven years.
And my family and I know -- I mean, I could come on your program any week of any year of the past seven years, and there'd be another Diana sensation for you to air with me. It is absolutely right that you do air it with me, though -- I'm not criticizing you at all, but I'm just pointing out the fact that it just goes on and on and on, and it always will, I'm sure.
But hopefully, the gap between these sensations will be wider and wider apart. Because -- and I know when my mother was really ill, she was very, very ill in the hospital earlier this year, and one of the networks, not CNN, showed some photographs of the crash in -- where Diana was killed. My mother, who was pretty much paralyzed by that stage, was stuck in a hotel -- in a hospital bed, with a screen showing pictures of her daughter dying. I mean, it was just -- you know, these people who put these things together don't think of the human impact that happens from these events. They think of it as ratings or whatever, and it's not, it's human lives and sensibilities.
KING: CBS, which was the network, said that the photos were in a journalistic context.
SPENCER: Well, they would, wouldn't they? I mean, I can't comment beyond that. But I don't see any journalistic context there, frankly. But I can understand why they wanted to justify themselves, because it sickened an awful lot of people over here, including me.
KING: Tell me about your mom. She had an unusual ailment, right?
SPENCER: Yes. People at the time thought that she was an alcoholic or whatever, because towards the last seven years of her life, in fact pretty much since Diana died, her mental health deteriorated quite quickly. Now, her brain was -- in terms of everyday functioning, slowed down. And she had a basic breakdown of her nervous system. So she could think straight, absolutely 100 percent straight, but gradually her body packed up around her.
And it was terrible to see. I mean, she was only 68 when she died, but she became a very frail and very old-looking woman, having been very feisty and glamorous. And you know, my children always thought of her as such a fun granny, because she would run around with them and all of that. Then she appeared on a walking stick, and then it was two sticks, and then a frame, and then it was going to be a wheelchair. And it was terrible. By the end, we could hardly understand anything she said. And she had Parkinson's, and, you know, it was a terrible end for somebody who had so much life in them just a few years ago.
KING: Boy, as John Kennedy once said, life isn't fair.
We'll come back and talk more about this celebration, an exhibit. Don't go away.
KING: That was Elton John performing at that amazing funeral. What was that like for you when he sang that song, Charles?
SPENCER: Well, it was incredibly moving. I had one advantage, which I had been the day before and heard him rehearsing, so I knew -- I knew there would be a definite feeling there, both for me and everyone present. So I can't remember if I spoke just before him or just after him. I think I was just after him, actually. And I suppose I was also focused so tightly on having to get through what I was going to say, but I let some of Elton's song just wash over me, really.
KING: Now, back to the exhibition, which we're showing highlights of. We include in it some of Diana's dresses. She became a kind of fashion icon. But she didn't like the emphasis on her looks, did she?
SPENCER: No, I suppose she was -- well, actually, I'm not sure. I think she knew that -- she knew she was good-looking and she knew that she wore clothes well. But that doesn't mean -- she wasn't -- you know, it wasn't a vanity thing. I think she knew that she could use her glamour to emphasize the charitable work she did.
And actually, when we selected the dresses to go in the exhibit, many of them have actually got a direct link to a charitable event. And we've even got the landmine outfit that she wore in the last year of her life, when she was campaigning against landmines. We got that there, through to the very glamorous dresses that are at the core of that side of the exhibition.
KING: And there's also the wedding gown. Now, you were just, what, 16, 17. What do you remember about that?
SPENCER: Well, I remember -- I went to see her literally just before she came out, half an hour before she appeared in her carriage on the day of her wedding. And she looked very, very serene. Actually, she had more makeup on that I had ever seen before. She looked very pale from the makeup, but also very beautiful.
And the wedding dress, I hadn't seen it before. And frankly a 16-year-old boy is not particularly interested in wedding dresses, but I did notice that it was incredibly beautiful.
People find, when they see it now, if they go to this exhibit, they'll see that it's not as white as it looked. We had a rare sunny day that summer in England. So it looked much brighter. But it's darker, more ivory color, when you see it in the exhibit.
And also, we have to keep the lighting low, because one of the things I have got to do with every part of this exhibit, is look after the items, so that one day, when they get handed on to William and Harry, they're still in perfect condition. So it's all done under museum control.
KING: The exhibition also includes photos and film shot by your late father. Was he into that, or was it just an avocation?
SPENCER: He was very much into it. We was a very, very keen photographer, I mean, ever since he was a boy at school. And I've seen photographs right from there, and he had hundreds and hundreds of volumes. And I mean, he really adored us, the four children. And each of us got these huge leather volumes of photographs of us from the moment we were born all the way through to adulthood.
And also his Sony camera, it was a bit of a family joke that it always came out, it's rather like the people who do video footage now, you know, always standing there. But it was much rarer then for a father to capture everything on film. And I have got hours and hours of this childhood footage. And somebody, actually, from television over here came to help me put it together for the exhibition. It's just a few minutes on the loop. But it does show absolutely, you know, Diana as a very beautiful baby. And at her christening at Sandringham church on the queen's estate there, and her first steps in the garden. I mean, it is really -- it is historic stuff, actually. It really is amazing.
KING: And also the original text of your amazing eulogy.
SPENCER: Yes. That's there, too. Yes, yes, I mean, it's one of those things. I still, I've never actually seen it through, the television broadcast of it or whatever. And it's quite odd, you know, people say, well, you know, how did you get through that speech, or whatever? But I think the key to remember is that I was, on that day, I was just a brother speaking on behalf of his sister. And so, I was just focusing on that side of things, and luckily my imagination is fairly limited, so I closed out however many other millions or billions were watching and just delivered it to the congregation.
KING: It was brilliant. We'll be back with our remaining moments with Charles Spencer right after this. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPENCER: It is a point to remember that 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.
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LIPPMAN: There's a great sense of glamour in these two dresses by British designer Jacques Azagury created in 1997. The blue cocktail dress was worn by Diana, revealed a much higher hemline of youth, of beauty. She was stunning as she went to the Royal Halbert Hall for the performance of Swan Lake.
So beautiful she was wearing this dress, that Jacques Azagury decided to give her a birthday gift the next month. She wore the black sequined dress to her 37th birthday party at the Tate Museum. This would be her last public appearance.
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KING: We're back with remaining moments with Charles Spencer. So many books about Diana. Finally, this one is fully authorized by her estate and the family. "Diana: The Portrait" by Rosalind Coward, forward by Nelson Mandella. Why this one?
SPENCER: Well, I think that the memorial fund very much wanted to get the definitive Diana book out. And if anyone's going to do it, we thought they would do the best job. So my family said, yes, we're behind you. And then Nelson Mandella, I mean, if you're going to have a foreword by anyone.
KING: Not bad.
SPENCER: Not bad. One of the prouder things I'm doing is introducing the two of them together, because I used to live in South Africa. And it was one of Diana's aims to work with Nelson Mandella.
And that is one of the tragedies, I think, of Diana's death, because they were about to do a major project together to tackle AIDS and HIV in Africa. And it does beg the question of what else she might have done in her charitable life if she had been granted a normal length of life. But, you know, obviously that's hypothetical.
KING: Charles Spencer is, of course, somewhat a noted historian, his most recent book, "Blenheim: The Battle For Europe" came out last month. When it came out, it knocked Bill Clinton's "My Life" off the top of some best-seller lists. It coincided with the 300th anniversary of the battle of which his ancestor, the duke of Malborough, defeated the French. We don't have much time, but would you give us an tin type (ph) of what Blenheim was about?
SPENCER: It was key moment in world history. It's forgotten pretty much, even over here. But it was the moment when Louis the 14th of France, who built Versailles, was about to become emperor of Europe. If he had managed to do that, than all of the English speaking world today could quite possibly have been speaking French. And it was down to the allies, who are basically the English and the Dutch and their allies, taking on the French and beating them for the first time -- nobody had beaten the French for 60 years, they were the superpower of the day. And it saved the world from being French. And I think there's a lot of people in America who probably think that's quite a good idea.
KING: And your ancestor was the Duke of Marlborough.
SPENCER: Yes, he was. He was my great grandfather to the power of seven, if you go back 300 years. And he was a sort of, ordinary young man, he wasn't an aristocrat, but he gained that title from being a great soldier. And a very determined man, showed a lot of courage. And he took on the French and beat them.
KING: Where is Blenheim?
SPENCER: It's actually in Germany. But to people over here, it's palace in Oxfordshire, in the middle of the country. But what they don't realize is that that palace was build to commemorate this great victory. It was the first victory in Europe by the British in 300 years. And it went on to start the British empire, because the British suddenly realized they had soldiers who could do something. And it started a sort of hundred year war, really, against the French, which ended with Napoleon being beaten.
KING: Are you primarily a journalist, Charles?
SPENCER: I do so many different things, Larry. My father taught me as a young man, he said, try everything, because the regrets you have will be on your death bed when you haven't tried enough things.
So I run, with two friends, I run a management training business. And next week, I'm in the states, launching a furniture range based on my family's historic furniture. I'm going to be doing that at High Point in North Carolina. And I try and keep busy. And I've also got 5 children, so it's busy life, but it's a very good one.
KING: But you must enjoy writing?
SPENCER: I love writing. It's my absolute -- I think it is my professional passion. And you know, I look at this book and I really have no hopes for it at all. And actually, when my editor sent me an e-mail and said you just knocked Bill Clinton off the top of the best- seller list in London, I assumed he had sent it to the wrong person, genuinely. So, I didn't acknowledge it until somebody sent me something similar and I realized I had. Anyway, Bill Clinton, I don't think he needs worry about his sales but I was delighted with mine.
KING: Always good see you, Charles. Thank you so much for giving us this hour.
SPENCER: It's a pleasure, Larry. Thank you.
KING: Charles Spencer, the exhibit Diana: A Celebration, will be at the museum Of Art in Ft. Lauderdale through the end of the year. And the book, "Diana: The Portrait," a lavish book about Diana, authorized by her estate has just been published.
We are thank the cooperation of the family and everyone else involved. We were able to show you so much tonight. And I'll be back to tell you what's coming. Don't go away.
KING: Thanks for joining on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE with Charles Spencer. We hope you are enjoying a great weekend. We promise to come back with great programming again tomorrow night.
Stay tuned for CNN, of course, around the clock. You're more trusted name in news. Good night.
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