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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Clay Aiken; Interview With Patrick Jephson
Aired November 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 Clay Aiken, the one time "American Idol" running up is now a star in his own right. In his first live interview since the death of his father, he'll open up about it all. We'll take your calls.
And then later, exclusive, Princess Diana, as you've seen her before. Her first and only private secretary Patrick Jephson, with a first look at never before published photos of Diana from his new book. We'll see them first right here only on LARRY KING LIVE.
A couple of notes. Our special guest tomorrow night is Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, as he approaches his first year in office. Governor Schwarzenegger, exclusive tomorrow night with your phone calls.
Wednesday night, we'll be at the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on the eve of the opening of that library. Senator Clinton, Wednesday night.
We welcome Clay Aiken. His first interview since the passing of his father. We have a major announcement to make tonight and he has a new holiday CD out call "Merry Christmas with Love." There you see it's cover. And a new book, "Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life."
When did your father pass?
CLAY AIKEN, ENTERTAINER: He passed in February of this year.
AIKEN: Of natural causes, to my knowledge. I think it was -- it had been so long since we had any discussions, so long since I'd spoken to him, I really don't know the background on all that.
KING: This was your biological father.
AIKEN: He was right.
KING: He did not raise you?
AIKEN: He didn't, no.
KING: Was there contact through the years?
AIKEN: We stayed in touch right up until, I guess, I was 12, maybe 14 or so. And then when I got my driver's license and was no longer being able to having to be picked up by him, he stopped contact. He said, if you want to see me, give me a call. And I said, if you want to see me, call me, I can drive up to you now. I never heard from him again. So, it was kind of -- it was unfortunate, but the relationship was strained for so long anyway.
KING: Were you close with your stepfather?
AIKEN: I was. I think that -- I think I was definitely a stepchild, but we were close. I think our relationship got better as I got older and I got a little more mature and a little less obstinate. I kind of went through my teen years -- by the time I had come to accept the fact that he was the new person in my life, I was a teenager.
KING: Is he still living?
AIKEN: He passed in 2002.
KING: Mom still living?
AIKEN: She is.
KING: Are you close to her if
AIKEN: As much as I can be, from the way I'm here with my new schedule.
KING: You live out here now right?
AIKEN: I do.
KING: Brothers and sisters?
AIKEN: I have one brother who's in the Marine Corps, he's just stationed out at 29 Palms. He just enlisted this past year, finished his boot camp and his training at Parris Island in South Carolina.
KING: Is he going to Iraq?
AIKEN: I hope not. It's a tough time to be in the...
KING: But first lets deal with the announcement. Tell us.
AIKEN: Well, my announcement, I guess it's kind of exciting. I've had the opportunity to work with some people at UNICEF, and they've asked me to be an ambassador for UNICEF, so I'm going to start working with them, in conjunction with the foundation that we've started to -- The foundation's for individuals with disabilities. And including them into programs with kids without disabilities. And with UNICEF, I'm going to be working to promote the importance of education for all children throughout the world. So it's an exciting opportunity for me to do some traveling and to hopefully make a difference outside of the U.S. and a number of countries.
KING: So, the official title is UNICEF ambassador for education for all children."
KING: How did you get involved with in this in the first place?
AIKEN: It came through the foundation, Bubel Foundation and the work we've done with them. And like I said, that's for kids with disabilities who -- so they can be included into programs with kids without disabilities. And one of the things that UNICEF does is they've so involved in education for children and the well-being of children throughout the world, that inclusion doesn't just have to be about disability and ability. There's a need for inclusion for children, for children to be included in education despite culture, creed, race, ethnicity.
KING: Your going to do a lot of the traveling too.
AIKEN: Sounds like it. So, I'm going to be -- we're going to do a trip sometime early next year to go to some country and see the effects of education and the lack of education. There are 120 million kids in the world right now who don't go to school. Who have no education -- who have no access to education. So hopefully we'll raise awareness.
KING: The weird thing, Clay, is you've gotten so famous, so many high things have happened to you, and you didn't win. OK, let's watch. let's watch the clip from "American Idol," the runner-up. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN SEACREST, HOST "AMERICAN IDOL": The winner of "American Idol" 2003 is -- Ruben Studdard!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: OK, what did you really feel like?
AIKEN: Well, you know what, I knew he won before Ryan made the announcement. I had seen the card backstage, but...
KING: You saw the card?
AIKEN: Yes. I saw the card. It wasn't completely hidden. And I looked over and saw it. So, I kind of new.
KING: What did you think?
AIKEN: Well, I thought, I better prepare myself to not look upset when I lose.
KING: Did you sing after you saw the card or you...
AIKEN: No, it was all finished and I saw it just as we were walking out on stage.
KING: So did you think, OK, this is great, I'm the runner-up, I get some cash for that, right.
AIKEN: No, you get no cash. And actually...
KING: What do you get for runner-up?
AIKEN: The way the rules go for the runner-up, you get nothing. You walk away empty-handed. You get 16 weeks on a TV show, and that's about it. And fortunately...
KING: Do you get paid for the 16 weeks?
AIKEN: We got a little bit of -- We got a little bit of union scale. We became members of the union.
KING: So, did you think, this has been great, now I'm going to see what I can do about my career?
AIKEN: Well, fortunately we found out that the runner-up our particular year was going to get a record contract also. So it was kind of a -- it was bitter sweet but it was an opportunity. And I think I said later on to Ruben, it was an opportunity to continue the competition, I guess, further on down the road. And unfortunately, people continued to try to dwell on that competition.
KING: You were on this show together. You're very friendly.
AIKEN: We are, we stay in touch as much as we can. His schedule's quite hectic, almost as hectic as mine is. So...
KING: But you've become, you would admit, more famous?
AIKEN: I don't know about that. It depends how you see fame. I mean, record sales are one thing, but radio play is a completely different thing. We're both in different markets. I think we've both become pretty successful in the markets we're both selling ourselves to. So, I'd like to think that success -- fame doesn't equate success. And I don't think that success can be measured by how many TV shows you're on.
KING: What's it done? How's your life changed?
AIKEN: Well, substantially. I don't go to the grocery store as easily. And I don't sneak in as easily as I used to be able to. And there's quite a bit of difference. Just walking down the street, people recognize you more. And all the people who I knew, I guess, 15 years while I was in Raleigh, I don't see as often and I work with people I've just known a year or two.
KING: How about financially?
AIKEN: Well, financially it's a little bit better. But it's better than than when I was a teacher. But I kind of -- it's allowed me to buy a house. And I've been able to help my mother with some stuff and my brother. So, that's nice. But I was going to be a teacher my entire life, so I wasn't counting on money to much.
KING: What did you teach?
AIKEN: Special education.
KING: What have you -- do you contemplate being married someday?
AIKEN: Someday. You know, I wanted one. I kind of had my life planned out for me. I'd be married at some point, have, you know, 1.5 children, and be a principal possibly one day. But I think that that was kind of my problem. I allowed myself to plan out my life and didn't let provident direction guide my life. And I think that when I finally decided to let go and let God and allow that to happen, I became a lot more successful than I could have done if I had planned it all myself.
KING: You have a Christmas special coming?
AIKEN: December 8th on NBC.
KING: December 8th. And as we go to break, here's a clip from Clay Aiken's Christmas special. And again, the Christmas CD is out as well. Extraordinary young man. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're with Clay Aiken. He starts his Christmas tour this Sunday here in Los Angeles, right?
AIKEN: Yes, Pasadena, right.
KING: And then going to go sweep the country?
AIKEN: Yes, sweep -- we're going to go throughout the country, play smaller venues this time than I've done before. Full orchestra on stage, we're going to have an elementary school choir in each city, a high school choir in each city. So something a little more intimate in auditoriums.
KING: And he's been named, we're announcing it tonight, the UNICEF ambassador for education to -- for all children worldwide. Tell me about "Learning to Sing." Is this a how-to book?
AIKEN: I don't think I could -- I don't think I can -- well, I couldn't teach people how to sing, either. It's not a how-to book at all. It's not -- I can't imagine that I have enough education or enough wisdom to teach.
KING: It's a biography?
AIKEN: I'm also -- I'm just 25. So I don't really have too much life that I've lived yet.
KING: So what is it?
AIKEN: It's really more of a memoir. I think it's more a collection of essays, of different stories, different people I've met in my life, different experiences that I've had, and what I learned from each one of them.
KING: Do you write about your dad?
AIKEN: I do. My mom always said, that, you know, no matter what happens, if it's good stuff, if it's bad stuff, no matter what, you kind of have to -- you've got to learn something from it, or it's not worth going through. So I talk about being picked on as a middle schooler. My strained relationship with my biological father, and even my relationship with my dad. And so -- you know, what I learned from each experience and what I'm -- hopefully, if someone else is in the same experience, they can learn from as well.
KING: You took your mother's maiden name, right?
AIKEN: I did.
KING: Was it painful to write?
AIKEN: No, was it painful to write about my mother's -- taking my mother's...
KING: What about your own?
AIKEN: You know, it wasn't painful. It was very therapeutic, actually. You know, it was a chance -- a chance -- not just a ,chance but I was forced to sit down and think about each experience. You know, what did I -- as much as I'd like to think that my biological father didn't have any effect on me at all, it was -- it kind of forced me to sit down and say, you know, he did have an effect on me. I mean, it doesn't upset me, the fact that I didn't have a relationship with him. But it did affect me. You know, I think I'm a stronger person for realizing that you can't make everybody love you. I mean, that's kind of what this business is about in some ways. You're trying to make everybody like you. But you can't do that. You can't force everybody -- anybody to like you if they're just not willing to do it.
KING: Wasn't it hard to conceive, I have a father who doesn't love me?
AIKEN: I think it lasted -- it was so long between the time that we had a relationship and the time that -- you know, that vast expanse of time that we did not that I came to -- I mean, it wasn't too difficult. There were so many people in my life who I was close to. My mother. I had a wonderful family on both my mother's side and my stepfather's side. And then people outside of my family. So it wasn't too difficult. It wasn't like there was an empty space.
KING: What were you teaching?
AIKEN: I was teaching children with autism.
KING: Oh, really?
AIKEN: I kind of fell -- I kind of fell into that. I was working at the YMCA in Raleigh, and I was working...
KING: Got a degree in that?
AIKEN: I did get a degree in special education. The principal of a school I was working for at the YMCA said, you know, I need a substitute teacher, will you come and do this job? And I said sure. And then after I got in the class she said, by the way, it's a classroom for children with autism. And I couldn't get out at this point. So I stuck around through the maternity leave, and fell in love with it so much that I...
KING: There are geniuses in there, right?
AIKEN: They're amazing. Each child with autism is so special, they're so unique. And that was so exciting for me to be able to go in every day, not know what to expect at all, have no idea what to expect, and to get to know each child individually. And so I decided at that point, because I was working and I'd not had a degree yet, and not decided what I wanted to get a degree in, and I decided at that point, this is what I want to do. I want to get my degree in this.
KING: Now, had you always sung?
AIKEN: I had. I kind of think -- I think for a while I stopped singing, because for so long I was known as the kid who sings. And I wanted something else to be known for. I sang all through middle school, elementary school, even high school. And I wanted something else that I could be -- you know, he's the kid who sings -- so I started (UNINTELLIGIBLE) student council, started working with the YMCA. And I started getting good at something else. Something else that I was good at. Something else that I enjoyed.
KING: Did you enter "American Idol" like on a bet?
AIKEN: Almost on a bet. The family that I was working with at the time, the mother of that family had been watching the show. My dad had passed away that summer, and I had not gotten a chance to see the show.
KING: This is your stepdad.
AIKEN: My stepdad, yeah. And so when I went back to work with them through that summer, she said, "there's this show that you've got to watch, you've got to see this show." And so I watched. She said, "You should go on it, you should definitely go on the show."
And I don't like competition. And I don't like not knowing what I'm going to do the next day. I don't like all that insecurity. So I kind of didn't want to do it. But she pushed me to do it. I auditioned in Charlotte on the very first time, and I got cut, and I didn't make it.
And that's when my stubborn streak jumped in. And I said, I'm not going to get cut on the first day. So I drove down to Atlanta and auditioned a second time. And that's when I finally made it through.
KING: What did they tell you when they cut you?
AIKEN: They didn't say anything. They said, "next."
And I walked on through and I thought, well, that was short and a waste of my time, I can't believe I got cut so quickly.
KING: When did you know in Atlanta that you might possibly go a long way with this?
AIKEN: You know, I don't think I ever knew that I was going to go a long way with anything. Again, this was not something that I've ever dreamed of necessarily doing. I always thought I was pretty good, but you see, you see people around you, and I still see people all the time who I think are thousands of times better than I am. And I wonder why I got the opportunity to do it, and if I took someone else's chance or someone else's spot.
And so I don't know that I ever really thought, I'm going to win this thing. And I never really -- I always kind of dreamed, if anything, that I might come in second. Wouldn't it be nice to be on that show the last night and to go through every single episode? And sometimes I wonder if maybe that's why I didn't win, because I never dreamed that I could win. I always dreamed that I could just get to number two.
KING: You're not a rock singer, right?
AIKEN: No, no.
KING: So you're against what is the age of singing? Right? I mean, your kind of singing, it's not what gets a lot of air play.
AIKEN: Exactly right. It doesn't. But I think that at the root of all music, whether it's the music that you get air play, that gets air play now, is that organic -- it's music, it's people singing. And I think that 50 years ago, people were all about organic music. Sinatra. Who I couldn't begin to compare myself to, but Sinatra and even Elvis and his push to edge it up a little bit and rock 'n' roll. I think that at the root of it is all -- you know, basic music with a melody, and wonderful accompaniment and production.
And there's a tide right now that's pushing towards something edgier. But I think it's -- I like to hope it's a tide, and that eventually it will roll back in, and you'll still be left with the music, and hopefully that's what I'll be able to do.
KING: You were on the American Music Awards last night.
AIKEN: I was.
KING: We'll be right back, take a few calls for Clay Aiken. The concert tour starts. It will be in a city near you, for how many cities?
AIKEN: Twenty cities.
KING: Twenty cities. The holiday CD is "Merry Christmas With Love." The book is "Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life."
Governor Schwarzenegger tomorrow night, and some calls for Clay Aiken right after this.
KING: That was high school?
AIKEN: High school.
KING: A that's young Celine Dion.
Anything in the book you regret?
AIKEN: I think part of writing it, part of the difficult part of writing it was trying to tell what was true and not offend anybody. There's actually a section in there which didn't get edited out. I went back and tried to reword things. And there's a section about the child who I worked with and Mike Bubel (ph) and it says that he actually was -- implies that he never left his house. And I think the point that I was trying to get across was that he had a very fulfilled childhood. He did all the activities that kids normally do.
What I wanted to try to do with him was take him to the grocery store, do some things with him there, like life skill. And paying for his groceries and picking them out and doing that type of thing. And the way it got conveyed in the book before -- but didn't get edited out was that he had never left the house, which kind of looked bad. And so I regret thing is like that. But you know, for the most part, the rest of it, outside of that particular passage, the rest of it's the truth.
KING: Did you explain it to him?
AIKEN: Did I explain it to...
KING: The boy?
AIKEN: I spoke to his mother and tried to explain the whole situation. You know, it's complicated. Because, you know, now it's in print and that makes things difficult.
KING: He's autistic?
AIKEN: Yes, he has autism.
KING: Sammamish, Washington, for Clay Aiken, hello.
CALLER: Hi, I have a question for Clay. How are you doing, Clay.
AIKEN: Hi, how are you?
CALLER: One of the many things I admire about you is your great sense of humor. Who made you laugh when you were growing up and did you have any part of writing the skits that you have done?
AIKEN: Who made me laugh? I don't know that -- I think I probably made myself laugh more often than not, because I was always screwing something up. My mother has a great sense of humor also. And my stepfather had an amazing sense of humor. He knew how to laugh at himself and anything else, and he was always the one filling the house full of laughter. So, I think that's probably where I learned it from. That and watching a lot of TV.
KING: And your skits?
AIKEN: The skits, no, I didn't have a part in any of those. I did "Saturday Night Live," and they -- they had some ideas and so I just kind of played along with them. It was fun.
KING: Lancaster, Pennsylvania, hello.
CALLER: Yes. Hi, Clay, my name is Angie (ph). First I want to say, Clay, may you forever shine. My question to you is, what kind of music will be on your follow-up album to "Measure of a Man," and when is the future release date?
AIKEN: Whew, you want details.
KING: Get the Christmas album first.
AIKEN: Yes, please. You know, I like what we had on the first album. But I think a lot of the stuff I'd like to -- I'd like to get more upbeat stuff on the next album. You know, something a little more energetic and positive. The "Measure of A man" had a lot of stuff about heartbreak, and breaking up with something, being angst after being -- lost love. Not something that I necessarily know too much about. So, I'd love to have that -- something a little bit more positive and upbeat on the next album. But something we haven't started talking about. I need to take a nap for just a minute, if that's OK. Can I rest.
KING: What do you want to do with your life? AIKEN: I'd love to say that I had it planned out. But that's one of the big things that I've learned is not to plan exactly what I'm going to do next. I want -- I want my tombstone to say that I made a difference somewhere. I mean, I don't have to necessarily do it with this book or with an album or to any huge number of people. But to one person. I don't want it to be for naught. I don't want all this to be a waste. I kind of would like to think I'm here for a reason. I think everything that I've done up to this point, whether it be working with children with disabilities, working at the YMCA, has kind of all led to this position. And if this is -- this job may not be the last one I do. But if something else that I'm on the way to, then I want to be open to it and be ready.
KING: You're going to host a benefit Friday night at the Century Plaza Hotel called Voices for Change?
AIKEN: Right, Voices for Change. We're giving awards -- Bubel Foundation is giving awards out to individuals who have made a difference in the inclusion community -- inclusion in the community for kids with disabilities. Laura San Giacomo, from "Just Shoot Me" and Taylor Cross (ph), a young man with autism who produced and directed his own documentary about what it's like to live with autism. So, those are going to be our award givers.
KING: You're an extraordinary young man.
AIKEN: Oh, thank you very much.
KING: Congratulations. I congratulate the U.N. for choosing you.
AIKEN: Thank you very much.
KING: We have announced he's UNICEF ambassador for education for all children worldwide. The holiday CD is "Merry Christmas with Love." The concert tour, the Christmas tour, starts this weekend in Pasadena, California. The new book is "Learning to Sing, Hearing the Music in Your Life." Other than that, nothing's happening in this man's career.
When we come back, Patrick Jefferson, former private secretary to Princess Diana.
Tomorrow night, Governor Schwarzenegger.
Senator Clinton will be with us Wednesday night on the eve of the opening of the Clinton Library. We'll be in Little Rock. We'll be right back. Don't go away.
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Patrick Jephson who served for six years as the first and only private secretary to Diana, princess of Wales. He's the author of "Shadows of a Princess," which was a "New York Times" and "Sunday Times" in London bestseller. And this is his newest, "Portraits of a Princess, Travels With Diana." The pictures, extraordinary. You're going to see some of them for the first time tonight by Kent Gavin who was the royal photographer. How did you come to put this together?
PATRICK JEPHSON, PRINCESS DI'S PRIVATE SECRETARY: I'd often thought that the highest highs and the lowest lows working with Diana were when we were on tour, abroad. She worked all over the world. I was the guy who was lucky enough to put those tours together. And Kent Gavin was one of the Fleet Street photographers who was lucky enough to come with us and record it all. So we thought we should put this together and create something which really puts down a marker for Diana's international work.
KING: Did you like working for her?
JEPHSON: Oh, yes. I mean, most of the time it was -- it was a complete delight. But like a lot of these things which are really worthwhile, it was very demanding too. She was a demanding boss. She was a good boss, too.
KING: There's a downside?
JEPHSON: The downside I suppose were the times we lived through. Coincided with some of the most traumatic years of recent royal history, I suppose. That made it -- like the Chinese say, may you live in interesting times. They were interesting times.
KING: Where were you when she died?
JEPHSON: I had resigned from working for her by that stage. So I had -- I was in Devon at home.
KING: We're going to show you some photos from this book. Early years. The first we'll show you is a photo of Princess Di at Taj Mahal. Great shot. Looks lonely there, right? Just that one solitary figure.
JEPHSON: Well, yes. This became a very evocative picture. It came to symbolize all at that stage that was going wrong in her marriage with Prince Charles. Mind you, that is the standard place where VIPs to the Taj Mahal sit. But the way it was portrayed, the way in which she carried off that photo opportunity, left no doubt in the reporter's mind that she was sending a message.
KING: Obviously. Also we have a photo of the war of the Waleses. A photo in South Korea in 1992, months before the break-up. What do we mean by the war of the Waleses?
JEPHSON: This was the term which Fleet Street coined to describe what was a very sad process of disintegration in what had begun as a fairy tale marriage.
KING: This is an unhappy couple.
JEPHSON: It is obviously. And this was the last joint overseas tour they did. But we put it in the book to show that this was where that phase ended of traveling with Prince Charles. And when her own solo career as a royal traveler started.
KING: We have another photo of Diana and the queen wearing the same outfit in Japan, 1991. How did this happen?
JEPHSON: I'll correct you there, Larry. That's not Japan, that's London.
KING: My card said Japan. Foils to the cardmaker.
JEPHSON: But you're right, the outfits are remarkably similar. Normally Diana would go to a lot of trouble to make sure she wasn't wearing the same thing as the queen. Something obviously slipped there but they both seemed to find it funny, no harm done.
KING: Nice color, too. Diana and the pope, 1985.
JEPHSON: Well, that's a lovely picture. Of course, at that stage Diana was still very much an apprentice princess. She'd only been married for three and a half years. I think you can see there that they were getting on quite well. Diana was looking particularly demure.
KING: A very handsome, dynamic pope in his vivid days. He was something.
JEPHSON: That's true. There's obviously some chemistry there.
KING: The begging boy photo, Zimbabwe, 1993. Diana was uneasy about this. She called it contrived, right?
JEPHSON: That's right. This is an example of one of those things that can go wrong when you're doing what was a perfectly straightforward but very helpful visit to a Red Cross feeding station in Zimbabwe. In fact, this little boy was not starving. This was part of the regular support the Red Cross gave to their community. And somehow, it became -- it appeared like it was sort of set up. Diana was not normally keen on doing stunts like this. And although it was a very helpful picture so far as the charity was concerned, I think that it kind of sent the wrong message.
KING: We'll come back with some more pictures from this terrific book: "Portraits of a Princess, Travels With Diana," with her former private secretary Patrick Jephson. The photos by the royal photographer Kent Gavin. In the last segment, we'll have a panel join us as well to discuss this extraordinary legacy. We'll be right back.
KING: We're back with Patrick Jephson. The book is "Portraits of a Princess, Travels With Diana," and includes 150 previously unpublished photos of Diana. Here we have one of her with amputees in Angola, 1996.
JEPHSON: Yes, it's getting towards the end of her life, Diana really became synonymous with the anti-land mines campaign. This picture really better than any other way explains why she thought this was such a terribly important cause.
KING: She really got into causes.
JEPHSON: She did. I mean, she invested a lot of her own emotional capital in the work she did. That's what made her so good at it. It also explains why it took so much out of her as well. She really committed herself to what she did.
KING: Here's a photo of Di with Henry Kissinger in 1995. They were caught off guard here. What was this? She didn't like whatever it was on the plate.
JEPHSON: The Humanitarian of the Year awards in New York in 1995. Normally, Diana never, ever put a foot wrong in front of a camera. You don't find many bad pictures of her. This one I think was taken at a moment when she didn't expect to be on film. And I think it's the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) sweets there that are causing her to frown a bit, not Henry Kissinger.
KING: And he looks like he could use them.
JEPHSON: I think they enjoyed themselves there.
KING: And one more we're going to show you -- we'll show you others too -- awkward moment photo, climbing out of a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in Venice trying to keep her dress in place at a Cairo event as well.
JEPHSON: This is the Cairo event. It's actually a very solemn occasion. She's laying a wreath at the war cemetery there. And of course, you can't predict when there's going to be a little playful breeze blowing. Normally she would put lead weights into the hem of her skirt. It's a royal trick of the trade. But she controlled the situation very demurely there.
KING: How are the boys doing? I see they've made the front cover of "People," the November 8th issue. They're always in the news.
JEPHSON: That won't be the last cover, I don't suppose. They are the news. And Prince Henry...
KING: Why? Why are we so fascinated?
JEPHSON: Well, you could look at it cynically and say that they sell magazines. But the truth is that I think that because they are Diana's children, much of the interest that focused on her is now transferring to them.
KING: And why the interest on her? Why does it -- we'll ask the panel when they join us too, but why does it remain?
JEPHSON: It's a good question. I mean, many people have predicted the end of the Diana myth. But it -- I think it's going to persist, because she did put so much of herself into the work she did. I think that made a deep impression on people at an emotional level. And there aren't that many people who are seen so transparently to put their own lives on display for the sake of the causes they support, and at such personal sacrifice. I think it's that tragic element that makes her story endure. And it still -- it still has lessons for us. I think it will last for as long as the Diana story has things to teach us.
KING: Why did the camera, do you think, like her so much?
JEPHSON: Well, it's not altogether surprising. I mean, in real life, she's a very attractive woman. I'd say perhaps not the classic model features you tend to see in the photographs, but she has a striking, striking face. And because she communicates so much of her own feelings, that I think that's something the camera has picked up. It's always a good tip when you're looking at photographs of Diana, don't look so much at her, but also look at the people around her. You can see the effect she has on the people she meets. And that of course is what makes the photographs so magic.
KING: She was more striking than beautiful, right? I mean, she wasn't classically beautiful, I would say.
JEPHSON: Well, I reckon we could debate definitions of beauty. If beauty comes from within, she had that too, and that of course was what counted. I think Hillary Clinton is quoted as saying that she had an inner beauty. And nobody would deny that it was pretty well matched by...
KING: But as you say, she wasn't the model in "Vogue."
JEPHSON: Well, no. I mean, it was partly because she was so much more than a model. I've seen her in rooms full of supermodels, and yet she is the one who would draw your attention, because she had a regal charisma to her, which no supermodel can emulate. I think it was that combination of the photogenic looks and the dignity and emotional involvement that she portrayed that makes these photographs so important.
KING: Did she get along with Kent Gavin, the photographer?
JEPHSON: Well, she had a good working relationship with the Fleet Street reporters who followed her throughout her royal life.
KING: How about the royal photographer? These are all his pictures, right?
JEPHSON: He wasn't the official -- I mean, he wasn't officially appointed. There wasn't an officially appointed royal photographer. He was the royal photographer for a number of important family occasions that Diana and Charles, for that matter, and the queen, employed him for. That's how he gets his title. But what he was for the rest of the time was one of the small team of Fleet Street reporters and photographers who followed Diana throughout her public work.
KING: Would they be called paparazzi?
JEPHSON: No, these are definitely not paparazzi. Paparazzi I would say, the -- and Kent Gavin would certainly say, were the lower end of the...
KING: These were sort of like assigned?
JEPHSON: Yes, these were officially accredited to the overseas tours. So these are people she saw every time she went to work.
KING: We'll take a break. And when we come back, Dickie Arbiter, Robert Lacey and Simon Perry, all in London, will join us with their thoughts. Patrick Jephson remains. Don't go away.
KING: By the way, Friday night, Patti Davis, daughter of the late President Ronald Reagan, will be our special guest.
We're with Patrick Jephson, former private secretary to Princess Diana and author of "Portraits of a Princess: Travels With Diana." The photographs taken by Kent Gavin.
Joining us now in London, Dickie Arbiter, former press secretary of Princess Diana, wrote a section of the book "Portraits of a Princess." Robert Lacey, the best selling author and veteran royal watcher. His latest book, "Great Tales From English History: The Truth About King Arthur, Lady Godiva, Richard the Lionheart and More." And Simon Perry, "People" magazine's London deputy bureau chief. For recent "People" magazine edition, he co-authored the cover story that we showed you on Princes William and Harry called "Good Prince Versus Wild Prince."
Dickie, I know you contributed to this book. What do you make of this lasting interest in Princess Di?
DICKIE ARBITER, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY TO THE QUEEN: Well, Patrick put his finger on it. There will always be a lasting interest. I mean, you know, you in America talk about JFK 41 years after his death, and I think we in Britain will do exactly the same. But as long as there are people like us appearing on television and you inviting us, we'll continue to talk about Diana. And Simon Perry will write about her in "People" magazine, and Robert Lacey will probably pen a few words. You know, as long as people like us are around, we'll keep the memory alive.
KING: Patrick, rather, you concur of course, Patrick?
JEPHSON: I do concur, Larry.
KING: We're part of the plot.
JEPHSON: Yeah, I think the more of this, the better, really, because she deserves her place in history.
KING: Robert Lacey, what are your thoughts on this lasting image of Princess Di that doesn't go away?
ROBERT LACEY, AUTHOR: Well, I think it's much more than just us that's keeping it all alive. I mean, she had this vulnerability about her, I think. I mean, you've been discussing her beauty, and whether she was a fashion plate or not. But this ability to communicate feeling was something new, certainly in royal people. It's a very good story Patrick tells in the book of how she visited Hungary in 1990. And she was standing beside this rather frumpy president's wife. And for the first time in this only recently liberated state, the pre-communist national anthem was played. And it was a very moving moment. And the president's wife began to weep. And Diana instinctively put out her hand and clutched the president's wife's hand.
Now, this was the sort of gesture that was just unseen in the royal family. And still is. I think that's what people respond to. Of course, the stuffed shirts in the royal family said, this is not the way to behave, this is far too informal. But the world said something else. And I think that's why her appeal will live and why it lives on in her boys as well.
KING: Simon Perry, a lot of people's fame and success is based on its picture taking in addition to its excellent writing, yourself included. What about her and pictures?
SIMON PERRY, LONDON DEP. BUREAU CHIEF, "PEOPLE MAGAZINE": I think some of the most familiar pictures of our last 10, 20 years have been both Princess Diana and many have appeared in our magazine and books ever since. And it's amazing that we're still talking about some of these images that you've been flashing up tonight that are so iconic that we're so used to seeing, but at the same time seven, eight years after her death now, there seems to be no end to the desire to see them among the public as well.
KING: What is it about her, Simon, and the camera?
PERRY: Well, you touched on this a bit earlier. There's something about the way the people lit up around her and the way she seemed to love the camera lens. Some people say she wasn't as striking, as it were, in the flesh as she appears on camera. She was one of those people that photographed incredibly well.
KING: Would you agree with that, Patrick?
JEPHSON: I certainly hesitate to say that she wasn't striking in the flesh. Actually, she was extremely striking. But she wasn't classically beautiful. She had an arresting face. She had a great aura. That's what made her so magnetic when you met her. And of course the way the camera has captured her personality. And as Robert says, her vulnerability I think is what gives these pictures such magic.
KING: Dickey, we know about the magic in the United States. Is it remaining in Great Britain?
ARBITER: Yes, very much so. It's quite interesting, because there was a general school of thought that with the Diana memorial fountain having been opened in July by the queen, that everybody would gravitate to that fountain, to that memorial, on the anniversary of her death. And moving away from Kensington Palace. And yet all you had to do is go a mile away from this fountain to Kensington Palace, and there were more flowers this year, there were more photographs this year, there were more posters this year.
So people are still keeping the memory alive every anniversary of her death. And people are still interested in hearing about her. All you've got to do is to go in bookshops. There are books on sale about Diana by a variety of authors. Some in the know like Patrick. Others who perhaps know absolutely nothing and have culled their information from having read other biographies and newspaper cuttings. But there is still this undying interest in her. And really, because of who she was and what she did.
KING: Robert Lacey, what's the latest on Prince Charles? Is a marriage in the offing?
LACEY: I don't think so, no. The next thing so far as we know is the inquest into Diana's death, which is going to be held next year, Easter sometime we think. It's going to be held in Paris. I'm sure it will be a television fest. I'm sure we'll be back talking to you about it, Larry. Because there's been a decision, a conscious decision taken, that it's got to be open. A lot of the witnesses, the French witnesses to the crash and so on have refused to come to England. So the English court and coroner is going over there and they're going to televise as much of it as possible. So that's the next thing. And I happen to know, well, it makes sense anyway, inside St. James' palace, any thought of marriage to Camilla or all sorts of other things is put off until after that.
KING: Simon, what about the boys? How well will they handle that?
PERRY: I think that will be a very testing time for them undoubtedly. Whenever there's negative, which of course an inquest into the princess' tragic death will be, negative news about their mother, it's a very difficult situation for them. They do read the newspapers and they watch television. They're old enough to see all these things going on around them nowadays. And they will just be having to relive that terrible, dark day once again. So it will obviously be very, very difficult.
KING: What happened to Harry, Simon, recently? Did he have a fight with a photographer?
PERRY: Well, a fight probably is going a bit far. But definitely a scuffle outside a nightclub. He came out of a nightclub in London about 3:20 one morning to find a group of about 20 photographers thrusting lenses at him. And something was said or he was pushed or whatever. There's a bit of gray area about what exactly happened. But he lunged at one of them and struck one of them in the nose when the camera was shoved back towards this chap's face. Many people think that's a completely understandable reaction especially in mind of, if we remember how his mother had so much difficulties with photographers on the streets of London and elsewhere. So it was a difficult night for him.
KING: What's the big deal in taking a picture, Patrick, of someone coming out of a nightclub at 3:00 in the morning? What do you get out of that?
JEPHSON: Well, there's a whole industry.
KING: I know. But for what purpose?
JEPHSON: Because there's always a premium put on the latest photograph of anybody famous and particularly of these young men.
KING: Just because it's the last photograph?
JEPHSON: It's the most recent one. Were there for example to be a major royal story break for some other reason, the guy who could produce the latest picture would be the one whose picture would be bought.
KING: Thank you, Patrick. Thank you Dickey, and Robert and Simon. The book is "Portraits of a Princess, Travels with Diana." The author is Patrick Jephson, the former private secretary. The pictures are by Kent Gavin, the royal photographer, many of which you saw for the first time here tonight. We've got a great exciting week coming up. I'll tell you all about it right after this. Don't go away.
KING: Tomorrow night Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Wednesday night Senator Hillary Clinton on the eve of the opening of the Clinton Library. We'll be in Little Rock, Arkansas.
But manning the staff, putting together what counts, bringing you the news is our anchor of the year, Aaron Brown. Congratulations, Aaron.
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