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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Remembering Prince Rainer of Monaco

Aired April 15, 2005 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, HOST: Prince Rainier of Monaco, Europe's longest reigning monarch, the man who won the heart of Hollywood's Grace Kelly, laid to rest today. Tonight, family and friends remember the prince and princess who captivated us in the world.

John Lehman, Princess Grace's cousin, former secretary of the navy, head of the official U.S. delegation at the funeral.

Chris Levine also at the funeral. His cousin Prince Albert will seceded Rainier.

Actress Rita Gam, long time friend of Princess Grace, bridesmaid at her wedding, and a close friend of Prince Albert.

Nadia Lacoste, former press secretary to Prince Rainier and Princess Grace.

Edward Meeks, friend of Rainier and Grace. He co-starred with her in a TV film never completed due to her tragic death.

And Jeffrey Robinson, Rainier and Grace's biographer who had extensive interviews with Rainier, Prince Albert and Princesses Caroline and Stephanie. And they're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: We begin tonight's look at the events in Monaco today where his serene highness, Prince Rainier III of Monaco was laid to rest after a day of public and private ceremonies.

In Monaco with John Lehman, he's on the left. He headed the United States delegation to funeral. The cousin of the late Princess Grace. He's chairman of the Princess Grace Foundation and former United States secretary of the navy.

And on the right in Monaco is Chris Levine. He is cousin of Prince Albert and Princess Grace -- Princess Caroline and Stephanie, and nephew of the late Princess Grace. He did a reading at the funeral for Prince Rainier.

John Lehman, what was it like?

JOHN LEHMAN, PRINCESS GRACE'S COUSIN: Well, it was a very, very beautiful and moving tribute to Prince Rainier. We had delegations from 62 nations. We had most of the crowned heads of Europe, and representatives from Asia and all over the world. It was really quite an outpouring of respect and affection at the international level. Of course, the citizens of Monaco are in deep mourning, and the entire principality is really shut down.

KING: Chris Levine, can we say that Prince Rainier was a loved man in Monaco?

CHRIS LEVINE, COUSIN OF PRINCE ALBERT: Absolutely. The -- as John mentioned, the Monegasque here really for a number of generation didn't know another monarch. So he was the man here for many, years. And just looking at the faces of the Monegasque and the outpouring of sympathy to the family has been wonderful to see.

KING: Can we say, John Lehman, that almost everyone turned out for this in Monaco?

LEHMAN: Yes. The entire principality turned out. But I think what was particularly moving was the level of representation and number and size of delegations from all over the world, because Prince Rainier is really unappreciated in many ways for the intelligence that he brought to not just the ruling of Monaco, but his private advice and counsel to statesmen around the world. He was a very deeply respected person. People wanted to know what he was thinking about world affairs.

President Chirac was here today, and he has known Prince Rainier for decades. And always listened to him and respected his views. And the remarkable thing is that despite the fact that he had very deep insights to virtually all aspects of international affairs, he really understood international affairs. He was able to keep totally outside of political disputes and partisanship. And despite the fact that throughout his reign, he was very pro-American, which being so closely allied with France, was not a particularly easy balancing act.

KING: All right, Chris Levine, that leads to a two-part question. How was he able to walk that balance? And two, why didn't the world know more of how important he was?

LEVINE: Well, Larry, difficult for me to answer that question on an international scale from my view in the states, but I suppose it's because of his -- he is so well respected for his opinions and was a deft diplomat working with the United Nations, which he was very proud to be a member of in 1993. And Prince Albert was holding the torch there and addressed the general assembly many times. So, to answer your question, I think it's really just his intelligence and his insight, yes.

KING: And why then in America, Chris, didn't we know more that he was in consultation with world leaders, that he was so pro- American, that yet others around the world sought him for counsel? Why didn't we know that?

LEVINE: Well, you know, that's a tough one to answer. You know, I think that obviously, Aunt Grace, Princess Grace, brought a lot of notoriety to the principality. But Prince Rainier certainly kept his own agenda and his devotion to Monaco in paramount. As far as the United States being aware of it, well, that's hard to say from a media standpoint. I really don't know.

KING: John Lehman, what might your thoughts be on it? Do you think we thought of them as the prince and princess, the great story, the Hollywood actress marries the prince, and not think of him in terms of international importance?

LEHMAN: Well, that's right. You put your finger on it, Larry. You know, there is no accident that this family has ruled Monaco, and except for the brief period after the French revolution, has maintained its independence throughout all these year, these centuries. It's because they have a tradition of deft diplomacy.

As I think you mentioned last week during the pope's funeral, both Stalin and Napoleon were famously asked sort of sneeringly, where are the pope's divisions? Well, people have asked the same thing about Monaco. Where are Monaco's divisions? Why should they be taken seriously? Well, they've been taken seriously because specifically Prince Rainier has had such a deft ability to understand power politics, and to stay out of the grinder of these large disputes and still be listened to and taken very seriously.

During the difficult years of President De Gaulle's reign in France, the French kicked the United States navy out of all of its ports. And Prince Rainier stood up to president De Gaulle and kept the port of Monaco open to All American ships during that period. In fact, for that -- those almost two decades, there was never a day when there weren't two or three United States Navy 6 Fleet ships, and where sailors weren't welcomed to the palace, and Prince Rainier was making a statement. He was not taking any international positions, but he made it very clear by his actions that he understood the Cold War, he understood the importance of the American presence in deterring the Soviets from pushing Europe into -- into neutrality. And he was not going to stand idly by, and not be counted. And that -- we particularly in the navy will always remember that.

KING: We'll take a break. And when we come back, we'll ask about some personal aspects. Dining with the family after the funeral. We'll be right back with John Lehman and Chris Levine, don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEVINE: In this world, the church works for the coming of the kingdom of God. Inspired by the word of our Lord, may we, in spite of the diversity of our beliefs, participate in the works of God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back in Monaco with John Lehman and Chris Levine. Chris, tell us about the dinner after the funeral today. I understand you dined with the family. LEVINE: Well, yes, we did have a reception after the funeral at the palace, where the heads of state joined the royal family and had a wonderful buffet dinner. And then subsequently, we just left, actually, the palace, where we had a nice quiet dinner after the internment. It was very special.

KING: How, Chris, how is Albert and Caroline and Stephanie, how are they all doing?

LEVINE: They're doing just fine. Obviously, very sad, but they're doing remarkably well, as a matter of fact. I'm very pleased to report Prince Albert has really stepped up to the plate, as they say, and he's really been in charge since his father's passing and really has been a pillar of strength for his sisters and cousins and all the family here in Monaco.

KING: Can you tell us, Chris, about the condition of Prince Ernst of Hanover? He, I understand, has an acute inflammation of the pancreas, Caroline's husband. How's he doing?

LEVINE: As far as I have latest, most recently heard, is that he's taken a turn for the better. And we're all very hopeful of his recovery. It has been very serious, yes, but Caroline has reported that he is doing better. And we're all hopeful.

KING: John Lehman, tell me about the American delegation. Were there many? And what was your role as head of it?

LEHMAN: Well, my role as head of it was to bring President Bush's very real condolences to the family, and the delegation was our ambassador in Paris, Ambassador Leach, and our consul general in Marseilles, and these are two of the most highly respected diplomats really in Europe, first-rate people. And they themselves expressed their personal condolences, as well as our national condolences and the condolences of the president.

So that was the official part of presenting and signing the book, and paying our last respects at the prince's coffin.

KING: John, Monaco's one of the most safe places on the planet. Yet we understand, security was enormous. Can you tell us about it?

LEHMAN: Yes. Security, I must say, since I've been kind of immersed in security issues over the last several years...

KING: I know.

LEHMAN: ...was remarkable in that it was very unobtrusive, yet, as I'm sure you know, Larry, the number of security people per square inch was very, very high. And the reason was very obvious, because the number of heads of state per square inch was higher than anywhere short of, I guess, the United Nations annual convening.

So -- and, of course, the principality is right by the sea. It's -- the cathedral is -- really overlooks the sea, and it's very narrow streets. And so, it's an obvious temptation for terrorism, when you have so many presidents, like President Chirac, and kings, and queens, and crown princes, and prime ministers. And so I was amazed at how well they did it. It was very unobtrusive. It was -- I don't think most people noticed, unless you were a specialist and could see the people that were really not very obvious. But there was a lot of -- a lot of security at every level.

KING: Chris Levine, the official crowning will take place when? And is that a big occasion?

LEVINE: Well, that has not been determined. There will be an official three months of mourning here in Monaco. And the exact date of the official crowning has not been set. But I would imagine that would be a very, very big occasion, and a very special occasion. One that we're all very excited about. And we're very, you know, optimistic with Prince Albert II's reign. And that will be, I'm sure, a very special time here in Monaco.

KING: John Lehman, how do you think Prince Albert will do when he steps into those enormous shoes?

LEHMAN: Well, I think Prince Albert is going to make quite a mark on the world, because he has a preparation unlike anyone, and a position that is really unprecedented. His long preparation as crown prince enabled him to really travel the world and to meet -- to meet the heads of state, to meet so many government officials, so many international organizations and their people. He was very interested in getting to know the people who really make things work, non- governmental organizations as well as the United Nations. He comes to these -- he's represented Monaco at the annual general assembly every year at the United Nations.

So he's come to know on a personal basis statesmen all over the world, which is one of the reasons why following in his father's footsteps, we had such a high-level representation at the funeral today.

So not only has he had a very thorough preparation in running Monaco and continuing the trajectory of progress that his father built here, but he also has the opportunity to play a larger role in the world, as a catalyst. As you know, he's been very active in the International Olympic Committee. He's been very influential. He is -- you know, I remember my old boss, President Reagan, used to have a tag on his desk that said "there's no end, no limit to what you can achieve if you don't care who gets the credit." And Prince Albert is one of those people. He's not after the limelight. And he's been able to be very helpful in getting some real progress in helping the U.N. to become more of a functional organization.

And I think as -- since he has this base of confidence in so many people around the world due to the last 20-some years of his travels and his officiating, he'll be able to use that to do a lot of good and to be a catalyst for, I think, a lot of interesting progress on the international field. And he really likes it. And he's good at it.

KING: Thank you both very much. John Lehman, head of the U.S. delegation, and Chris Levine a cousin of Prince Albert and Princesses Caroline and Stephanie, who did a reading today at this funeral for Prince Rainier.

Lots more to come ahead next on LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Meet the first of our panelists. In London is Rita Gam longtime friend of Grace Kelly, was a braids maid at the wedding to Prince Rainier. Knows the children very well. Been particularly close to Prince Albert.

Rita, how strong was that marriage?

RITA GAM, FRIEND OF GRACE KELLY: Oh, I think you could call it a classically successful, strong and loving marriage from beginning to the end, with all the ups and downs that most marriages have.

KING: Was it true that the prince was really crazy about her?

GAM: The prince was really crazy about her, absolutely. In the very beginning, you could see his adoration. And all through the marriage, he just adored her.

KING: In Monaco, is Nadia Lacoste the former -- we'll come back to everyone, of course. Nadia Lacoste is in Monaco, the former press secretary to Prince Rainier and Princess Grace, been connected with the Grimaldi family for nearly 50 years. She did not attend the funeral. She had surgery recently. Are you doing well, Nadia?

NADIA LACOSTE, FRM. PRESS SECY. TO PRINCE RAINIER: Yes. Well enough to be able to talk to you tonight.

KING: What was it like to work for them?

LACOSTE: It was fascinating. It was fascinating because, to begin with, they were -- both of them had great personalities. They had a lot to say. And Monaco was not that well known in the world when I started to work. Monte Carlo was known, but Monaco was something else.

And from the beginning, what I've tried to do is to let the people know through the press what was happening in Monaco. And all the important things that were done, because the image of Monaco at that time was a place where there is a casino.

And I think little by little people have learned there is so much more to Monaco, even though it's a small country.

KING: Was he easy to work for?

LACOSTE: Very easy. Well -- but with the prince, it was a bit more difficult. He was not used to give interviews. He was not at ease with the press, in the beginning. With the princess, she knew how to handle the press and talk to the press. Her problem was the language, because when she came to Monaco, she spoke little French.

So when it had to deal with French press, of course, it was a bit difficult. But she overcame that rapidly.

KING: We'll take a break and come right back. Edward Meeks and Jeffrey Robinson will join us. Lots more to go as we look at this day, the funeral and burial of Prince Rainier. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back. Edward Meeks is in Paris. He's a friend of the -- longtime friend of the Grimaldi family. Co-starred with Princess Grace in "Rearranged" the TV film that was never completed because of Princess Grace's death.

Edward, I thought that Princess Grace had retired from acting?

EDWARD MEEKS, ACTOR: Yes, Larry, this was the only time she did any acting after she left Hollywood. And the film you're talking about, we did finish the film. And she had the world premiere in Monaco. I think about 400 or 500 people saw it. And then the next trip she made to New York, she took a copy of the film with her and she showed it to some of her friends at one of the networks in New York. And they flipped for it.

They said -- you, know, they realized they had something so exceptional here. This is the only time she did any acting, here she is in this film and she looks so good. And she does such a wonderful job of acting in it that they wanted it, but they needed more footage. They wanted to make a one-hour special. And we had only made a film of, I think it's 40-some minutes.

So she came back and talked to us about the possibility of adding some more scenes. And of course, we were more than happy to do this. And when the last time we saw her was the July -- just before the accident in September, she had asked me to be the emcee for the Red Cross gala. And my wife was with me. My wife who was the author of the -- the writer of the script for "Rearranged," the film, was also a French novelist.

KING: Does this mean, Edward we will never see it?

MEEKS: We were both there...

KING: Does it mean we'll never see it?

MEEKS: Well, that's what -- I'm hoping, I'm hoping, Larry. I'm hoping, because she does look so good. And you realize just how beautiful a person she was right down to the last minute, because we saw her about a month and a half before the accident, and she was so happy. She was living with the prince and with the children. They went up to the fjords for a vacation. Excuse me?

KING: You would think with a 47-minute film, if the full story is told, we can get to see it on HBO -- I'll come right back to you Edward.

Jeffrey Robinson is in Philadelphia.

We'll come back to Edward Meeks in a minute.

Jeffrey Robinson, the biographer and author of "Rainier and Grace." Was friends with Princess Caroline, came to know Princess Grace through her, did intensive interviews with the prince. And has a new book out, not dealing with this, "Standing Next to History: An Agent's Life Inside the Secret Service."

What were your thoughts about Prince Rainier, Jeffrey?

JEFFREY ROBINSON, AUTHOR: Larry, now what he was? He was an old school guy. He was a guy who was brought up in another world, a world where respect mattered, a world where manners mattered, a world where when you had responsibility, you just accepted it and you did what you had to do.

He once told me that he would not necessarily have been a sovereign prince of Monaco had he had his druthers. He would have much rather gone to sea and chartered waters and explored the oceans and been an oceanographer. But he was born into this, he had his responsibilities and that's what he did, he took care of his responsibilities.

KING: He lived with a French film star before Princess Grace, did he not?

ROBINSON: Yes. A woman named Giselle Pasqual. It was very interesting, he was not even living in Monaco. You know, Monaco was occupied during the war. And his grandfather was running the country. And Rainier had had an unsettled childhood. He was a pudgy kid, he was a product of a broken home, he was shy, he was bounced around from mother to father to grandfather and wasn't very happy. He finally settled just down the beach from Monaco, with Giselle Pasqual.

And it was very interesting, because the rumor around at the time, the reason he didn't marry her was that she couldn't have children and, therefore, would not produce an heir and, therefore, would have lost Monaco to the French. And I asked him about this. And he said that's absolute nonsense, because she eventually had children. We just fell out of love.

KING: Rita, how did Princess Grace meet the prince?

GAM: Princess Grace went to the Cannes Film Festival as the guest. I think it was 1956, I'm not sure. And somebody said that they would like to introduce her to the prince of Monaco, which was the town right down the Riviera. And they arranged a tour of the palace and the zoo.

And Grace was reluctant to go originally, because she was very involved in the Cannes Film Festival. And when she finally did say yes, that was the beginning.

It was a formal meeting, and a diplomatic meeting. And six months later, Prince Rainier came to America, saw her on her own home ground, and the story begins. KING: And quite a story it was. We'll take a break and come back. Lots more with our guests as we look at the life and times of the late Prince Rainier and Princess Grace. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; Princess Grace was a hugely popular figure in Monaco. And today, the principality was stunned by her sudden death. From early morning, the crowds began to gather around the Royal Grimaldi Palace. A book of condolence was opened and hundreds queued to sign it.

Businesses closed out of respect for the princess. Everywhere flags were at halfmast. And a rare stillness settled over a place normally bustling with wealthy visitors and holiday makers. Shops were shut, cafes empty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Nadia Lacoste in Monaco, how well did the prince handle the last years of his life and his illness?

LACOSTE: With difficulties. But he continued until the very last day to assume his responsibilities. And of course Prince Albert was very much involved. And that was a great help.

KING: Did the prince know how sick he was?

LACOSTE: Yes. Yes, he did. Well, he knew he was quite sick, but if he realized in the last days that it was the end, that I'm not sure of.

KING: Edward Meeks, what was Princess Grace like to work with?

MEEKS: Just wonderful, Larry, just wonderful. Oscar quality. Such a wonderful actress and such a wonderful human being. I was really -- it was really a delight. And we made the film in sort of like an ambience of a family. It was far from being "Ben-Hur" or "The Ten Commandments." It was a very small film, but the moment she was in it, of course it became a very big film. And this is what got the people in New York so excited about, the idea of showing this film.

You asked me if it's going to be shown. I don't know, Larry. That depends. Of course, there was so much pain and so much feeling of loss when the family lost her, there was -- they did what anyone else would have done, they tried to get some distance between themselves and the memory of her. And the question about what was going to happen to this film was put aside, and it is still there. And there's still a possibility that maybe they will decide to have it released one day. I certainly hope so. Because like I say, it's just what she -- what she -- it is almost as if she leaves us a message in the final scene of the film. Also, it's very touching, and she is so, so beautiful in it.

KING: Jeffrey Robinson, wouldn't you gather there would be great interest in people wanting to see this?

ROBINSON: I suspect there would be. I asked Rainier about it. And he felt very uneasy about releasing it after her death, because he didn't want to be exploited. Look, this family has been exploited left, right and center, and they're very sensitive to that. Those poor children, when they were children, grew up in a fish bowl. And even Princess Grace had difficulties handling it, although she handled it in a very characteristic way. There's a wonderful story about her going into one of the stores in Paris, Ikea or something, Habitat, and buying some things. And the photographers followed her in.

And she just got so annoyed that she said, look, why don't you make yourself useful? And she gave them all her packages and helped them carry to the car.

KING: Were they good parents?

ROBINSON: They were wonderful parents. They were absolutely wonderful and very attentive parents. Rainier confided in me once, he said, you know, I cook breakfast sometimes when we're at the farm up at Roc Agel, which is just above Monaco. I said, really, what do you cook? He says, I'm really good with pancakes. I said, do you cook anything else? He said nothing, nothing at all, just pancakes.

KING: Do you think that -- Prince Albert told us recently that he someday hopes to get married. Do you think he will?

ROBINSON: Oh, yes. No, you have to understand, he's got a serious problem when it comes to getting married, because whoever he marries will be immediately compared with Princess Grace. I mean, she will be the next princess of Monaco. And he's got to go very carefully. And he said to me, he said, I have to ask myself if some woman likes me, does she like me for me or does she like me for the possibility of becoming the next princess of Monaco. It's a very difficult thing for him.

KING: What do you think about the rumors of him being gay?

ROBINSON: Not at all. Oh, no, not at all. Your wife and my wife and Nadia Lacoste may be the only three women he's not slept with.

KING: Really?

ROBINSON: Yes, oh, yes.

KING: So how did this story begin?

ROBINSON: And Rita Gam, whom I adore, but I'm not sure, Rita.

KING: How did this story begin then?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Rita, will you confirm that, that he's definitely not gay?

GAM: I will confirm that he's definitely not gay, but I will not confirm anything else.

KING: But he has...

GAM: No, I did not sleep with him.

KING: But he has been with a lot of women, Rita, to your knowledge?

GAM: Oh, I know he's had girlfriends. I know some American girlfriends that he's had, I know some -- I've heard rumors of French girlfriends. He's a very attractive guy. And I have not really heard anything about any boyfriends.

KING: We'll take a break and be back. We'll include some of your phone calls, too. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Mothers don't die young. They're going to die before you. Remember how you reacted?

PRINCE ALBERT OF MONACO: It was shock, and you know, disbelief at first. And then the reality, it all slowly sinks in. But those first few hours and few days, you don't want to accept it. And you know, time tells you otherwise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Is it important that there be an heir?

PRINCE ALBERT: It is, but not as important as it used to be, because the order of succession has changed. (UNINTELLIGIBLE), so it can actually...

KING: Who would succeed you if you didn't have...?

PRINCE ALBERT: It doesn't have to go through a male.

KING: Oh, it can go through your sister's children?

PRINCE ALBERT: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back. Let's take a call. Miami, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I'd like to know why they're called prince and not king.

KING: Nadia, why?

LACOSTE: Because the country is small, and that's why when the first seniors who were ruling this territory just took the title of prince, and they never went any further.

KING: Now, Rainier was his first name. Was Grimaldi his second name?

LACOSTE: Well, Grimaldi was his family name. Rainier is like you're called Larry.

KING: That's what I mean, first name, last name.

LACOSTE: Yes. Right.

KING: So his name was Rainier Grimaldi?

LACOSTE: That's correct. Oh, but he had a lot of other names.

KING: Edward, did you know the prince?

MEEKS: Well, yes, yes. The prince honored my wife and I with his friendship also. We knew the prince and we knew the children. We got to know Albert a little bit better than the girls, but Prince Albert -- and Prince Rainier was always very, very friendly with us. And he used that wonderful sense of humor he had whenever we were around him. This is one of the things we really, really appreciated and saw a lot of.

KING: To Farmville, Virginia, hello.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: I'm sorry, go ahead, Edward. Go ahead.

MEEKS: I was just going to say, you were asking about the family. I saw Albert, Prince Albert about three weeks ago. I was shooting for a pilot in -- for French television, and I was -- we were shooting in Monaco. And I called Prince Albert. And he was kind enough to find a break in his busy schedule. And I went up to the palace and we talked about a lot of things, talked about -- a lot about soccer, because he's a tremendous soccer player, you know. And talked about -- what's nice about him, we can talk about things in France, talk about things in America. And we feel as if we're sort of reminding one another of what's going on in both places.

KING: Farmville, Virginia. Hello. Farmville.

CALLER: Can you tell me how old Princess Grace was when she marry and how old was she when she died?

KING: Jeffrey?

ROBINSON: Yes, 26 and a half years Grace Kelly and 26 and a half years Princess Grace. She was 53.

KING: Jeffrey, also true, he never got over her death?

ROBINSON: No, absolutely not. When Princess Grace was killed, half of him died as well. And at one point several years later I said to him. Will you ever remarry? And he looked at me and said, how can I? How can I bring a woman back to the palace? Grace is everywhere. I see her where ever I go. Anyway, it wouldn't be fair to my children. And he never remarried.

KING: Chicago. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Calling to see if anyone on the program would know why Princess Stephanie children were not present at the funeral today.

KING: Does anyone know?

Nadia, would you guess as to why they weren't there?

LACOSTE: Yes. Because she tries to keep them away from all official ceremonies.

KING: Because?

LACOSTE: She tries to keep them away from official ceremonies.

KING: I know. But why?

LACOSTE: Because she wants to protect them as much as she can from the press.

KING: We'll take a break and come back with more moments and more phone calls as well on this day of the funeral of Prince Rainier of Monaco. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Riverside, California. Hello.

CALLER: Hello. Good evening.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: My condolences to the Grimaldi family. And thank you for covering that.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: Part of my question was answered in that Prince Rainier did not recover from Princess Grace. But did he ever confide in that he blamed Stephanie for her loss since that tragic accident.

KING: Jeffrey.

ROBINSON: No, no, no, no, no. Stephanie was not involved in that accident. She was in the car, but Grace was clearly driving. I researched this whole thing. It's -- there's no truth at all to that rumor that Stephanie was driving. And I can tell you something, the relationship between Stephanie and Rainier was extremely close. Stephanie is probably the most affected by his death. And she once said to me -- and you know, she involved with a lot of pretty unacceptable guys when she was living in the states. She was 17 when her mother died. She was blamed for the crash, which was untrue. She suffered greatly. And those scars are still there. She once said to me, my father is the only man in my life who has never betrayed me. They were very, very, very close.

KING: Jeffrey, we were told last week that Princess Grace didn't miss the curve, she had an embolism of some kind and went straight off the cliff.

ROBINSON: Yes. what happened -- yes, it's a terrible road. And if you know the road, it makes an S-curve. She was going through a very difficult menopause. And that particular morning the chauffeur came up, she and Stephanie were going to go to Paris that night. And they had a lot of clothes up at Roc Agel which is the farm above Monaco. And the chauffeur came up, and there wasn't room in the car. And the chauffeur said, well, leave the packages and I'll drive you down and come back and pick them up. And Grace never wanted to bother anybody, never wanted to inconvenience people.

And she said, no, I'll do it. And As she came down that road, Grace was driving, she passed out. She had a minor stroke. When she opened her eyes, she realized the car was out of control, went to hit the brake, ended up hitting the accelerator, screamed to Stephanie, it won't stop. Stephanie pulled the hand brake and they went off the cliff. It was a terribly tragic accident which ironically had it happened 100 yards further up the hill or 100 yards further down the hill might not have had that consequence.

KING: Was Stephanie badly injured?

ROBINSON: Yes badly injured and terribly, terribly wounded, and I'm talking about her inner being. She was very hurt by his whole thing, because people had accused her of killing her mother. I mean, people said things to Stephanie, like, too bad it was your mother who had to die. I mean, awful things. I went through it a lot with Stephanie and a lot with Rainier. And Rainier said to me, when the book was published 15 years ago, he said, thank you for being so nice to Stephanie. She's a wonderful woman and has suffered enormously.

KING: Port Richey, Florida. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, Good evening.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: This question is for Rita. Rita, does the late Princess Grace have any surviving brothers or sisters?

GAM: Oh, she doesn't.

KING: No.

GAM: Except her younger sister Lizanne is well and alive and living in Atlantic City, I believe. But other than that, her brother Jack is gone, and I think her family has reduced very greatly in Philadelphia. But Lizanne is alive, yes. KING: I knew Jack well. He was quite a guy. Wellington, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Yes. It seems very apparent that Prince Rainier deeply cared for all the people in Monaco. Can you elaborate on his success as a ruler?

KING: Would you call him a successful ruler, Nadia?

LACOSTE: Could you repeat the question please?

KING: Was he -- we're almost out of time. Was he a successful ruler?

LACOSTE: Oh, a tremendous ruler. And I think if you watched the funeral today, you saw that the sorrow in Monaco, all of Monaco was in mourning.

KING: Yes.

We thank you all very much for being with us. Rita Gam, Nadia Lacoste, Edward Meeks and Jeffrey Robinson, on this, the day that Prince Rainier was laid to rest in his beloved Monaco. A final note tonight, we lost a friend this week, Peter Charles Vance Jr. (ph). He was just 21. He died in a car accident. He was a young man of great promise. He'll be missed by a great many people. Our love to his parents Susan (ph) and Peter (ph), and to his sisters, Luis and Liza (ph). Our thoughts and our prayers are with them.

Tomorrow night we'll air a show dealing with some prominent authors, among them, the famed attorney, Burt Fields. And on Sunday night, I'll repeat our interview with Jane Fonda.

Right now a very special edition of "NEWSNIGHT," with Aaron Brown.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


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