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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Mindy McCready; Panel Discusses British Newspaper Report About Princess Diana's Death
Aired May 24, 2005 - 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 -- country star Mindy McCready's first live prime-time interview since her ex-boyfriend was charged with attempted murder, after allegedly breaking into her home and beating her up.
And then, was Princess Diana's tragic 1997 death a murder? Sensational reports in the British press say investigators expected to dismiss conspiracy theories still cannot rule out foul play. We'll get the latest in London from Robert Lacey, the best-selling royals biographer.
Dickie Arbiter, former press secretary to the queen.
In New York, Patrick Jephson, Diana's former private secretary.
Back in London, Hugo Vickers, the other best-selling royals biographer.
And CNN owns -- CNN's own Richard Quest. They're all next, on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: We begin in Nashville with country music star Mindy McCready. All over the tabloids -- the story "I'm Going to Kill You" appeared in the "National Enquirer;" "Ex's Vicious Attack Final Straw for Country Star," "Country Wild Child Mindy McCready Busted for DUI and Then Brutally Beaten."
What's going on, Mindy? What's happening?
MINDY MCCREADY, COUNTRY MUSICIAN: Hi, Larry. A lot of stuff, as you can see.
KING: Well, let's start with first thing. You're on probation -- before we get to the beating -- for a 2004 incident involving prescription fraud. What was that about?
MCCREADY: I was buying medication for a very dear friend of mine. It was an absolutely stupid thing to do, and I got in trouble for it. So I took my medicine and I'm on probation now for three years. And what can I say? It was really stupid, embarrassing, and I'm sorry it ever happened. But I'm definitely enduring, you know, having to be on probation.
KING: Was the OxyContin not -- the OxyContin -- it was OxyContin, right -- it wasn't for you? MCCREADY: No, it was not for me, uh-uh. No, in court I was asked to be drug-tested and I am currently being drug-tested once a month as a probation thing. They're making me do it at least once a month, and I have never failed any drug test.
KING: And the current charge of driving under the influence, you haven't been tried for that, have you?
MCCREADY: No, that is -- that's still alleged. That's a pending case. I hope to be able to beat that one. I really was not intoxicated. I hadn't eaten for hours and I did have two drinks, so I was scared to take a breathalyzer. But, you know, we'll see what happens with that one. I'm hopeful.
KING: Are things going bad, Mindy?
MCCREADY: Yes, things have been going bad. I think it's god's way of getting my attention saying, you better wake up, girl. I have important stuff for you to do in life, and I've definitely been preoccupied or sidetracked doing the wrong things.
KING: All right, now, tell us what happened with the boyfriend.
MCCREADY: Billy McKnight and I have been dating for almost a year and a half.
KING: What does he do, by the way?
MCCREADY: He's an aspiring country music singer, also.
KING: Uh-huh. OK.
MCCREADY: He comes from a very good family in Florida. He was a nice guy I thought. You know, we started having problems about six months ago, and slowly but surely I discovered that he had an extremely bad drug habit, which I blamed solely on the incident that happened.
KING: In other words, he was drugged up when he hit you?
KING: What led to it? What happened? Was it at night -- was it at night or during the day? When did it happen?
MCCREADY: It happened at 7:00 in the morning at any home in Nashville. We had been broken up for about a week. We were still speaking and on, you know, pretty good terms. He came to my house, surprised me at 7:00 in the morning. I was closing my garage door and he came underneath the garage door and grabbed me and threatened me. He said he was going to kill me and said that I wasn't going to embarrass him and go out with other men in Nashville.
KING: Was that what he was mad about, jealousy?
MCCREADY: You know, like I said, I think it was a combination of things. He was not himself. The man that came under my garage that morning was not the Billy that I'd been dating for a year and a half. I don't even know that person. He was crazy. And, you know, obviously under the influence of some substances, probably more than one. And, you know, I ran from him when he was there because, obviously, he did scare me. I had never seen that man before.
KING: Did he do all of that with his fists?
MCCREADY: Yes, he did all of it with his fists. He choked me during one point of the altercation, but most of it was done with his fists, yes.
KING: And, then how did -- did he run away? Did you report him? How did he get to be arrested?
MCCREADY: Well, when the incident was over, I was on the floor in my living room and he kind of came to himself. He acted like he snapped back into reality, and saw me lying there, covered in blood and went to the bathroom and got a towel and wiped my face off and picked me up, put me on the couch and went and proceeded to get a towel with ice and put that on my face. And he was crying and saying he was sorry and that he loved me and he didn't mean to do it, and he just lost it.
When he -- before he left my home, he said that he was going to kill himself. And I said, I don't have my cell phone. I had forgotten it over at a girlfriend's house. So if you could please call an ambulance or my brothers or somebody to come and get me, I would appreciate it, but he didn't. He left right after that. I had to walk over to my brother's on my own.
KING: And did they call 911?
MCCREADY: No, when they got there I didn't want to go in an ambulance. I didn't want to draw attention. I had a girlfriend come over, get me. I took a shower, and then we went to the hospital.
KING: Did you have to file charges against him?
MCCREADY: No, actually, I never called the police. When I got to the hospital -- I didn't even know it before I got there, but the state of Tennessee is required by law that if a person comes in to an emergency room with an assault or an obvious assault, that the police must be called. The doctor has to do that. So they did call the police and two investigators came into my hospital room and proceeded to ask me what happened.
KING: And I guess it's because of the marks on your neck that they're bringing -- they're making this attempted murder?
MCCREADY: Yes. The way, I guess, that they scale the condition of the patient is through the amount of petechiae, which is blood vessels that have been broken in the eyes, under the eyes, on the eyelid.
If they're severe -- if you've been strangled so severely that those break, the doctor can kind of tell, you know, how close to fatal the attempt to strangle was, and the doctors ruled that it was critical.
KING: By the way, Mr. McKnight's lawyer, assistant public defender Allegra Montgomery said in court that her client shouldn't be charged with attempted criminal homicide because the attack didn't rise to that level, consistent with the charge. Where do we stand now? When is the -- is the trial -- what's happening, legally?
MCCREADY: Legally, he is, on Friday of this week, asking for another bond reduction hearing so that he can lower his bond. He's asking for them to scale back the charges of attempted murder to some kind of an assault charge.
KING: His family is prominent. What kind of bond is he out on? He's in jail then?
MCCREADY: Yes, he's on $130,000 bond. One for...
KING: Why didn't they put up the money?
MCCREADY: I think that his family is supportive of him to an extent, but they don't think that he should have done this, and I think that their attitude is that he should have to pay the price, whatever it may be.
KING: We'll take a break and come back, and ask what you want to have happen. Our guest is country music star Mindy McCready. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Mindy McCready. What do you want to have happen to your former boyfriend?
MCCREADY: You know, it's hard for me to speculate on what should happen to him. I mean, I do feel like I'm not left with any permanent injuries, and I definitely, you know, am suffering some emotional -- you know, some emotional things inside right now. But I'm not permanently hurt. And, you know, attempted murder seems to me to be somewhat a harsh charge for this.
You know, at the time, although I did feel like he might kill me, I do know that if he had wanted to kill me, he could have.
KING: He's a big guy, right?
MCCREADY: Very big guy. Former professional fighter at some point in his life, yeah.
KING: You'll have to testify.
MCCREADY: Yes, I know. Actually, I had to testify two days after it happened, which was a nightmare to face him with my face looking like it did. That was really...
KING: What was that, a grand jury?
MCCREADY: It was for a hearing much like this one on Friday.
KING: Oh, I see.
By the way, will there be an effect on -- the DUI, you're out on probation. If you're convicted on DUI, will you have to do any jail time, do you think?
MCCREADY: I don't know. I would hope not. I certainly don't want to. That's, you know, that's still up to, you know, what happens with my DUI.
KING: Now, what about effect of all this on your career, Mindy?
MCCREADY: Well, my career has definitely been much slower the last couple of years. I haven't really been inspired to do much, to be honest with you. I got a little burnt out.
But I have a new lease on life. I am -- I feel like I've gotten a second chance after this. You know, I felt like God was really trying to get my attention, and it took something this severe, so I better listen. And more than anything, I am so excited to get out there and sing.
I'm doing several things coming up as far as charity events. I feel like because this happened to me and because I am not afraid to talk about it, that I'm supposed to stand up for women that are out there right now in this situation that might not have the courage to do something about it.
So I'm going to do a benefit concert here in Nashville at a friend of mine's club. His name is Jimmy, and his club is called Hurricanes. We're going to do that some time in July. And I would just ask that anybody that would like to be involved with this with me, please contact us and let's do this.
Women all over the place are scared to death of men like this. And you know, we need to inspire them to be courageous and stand up for themselves and ask for help.
KING: Where do they contact, right at that club?
MCCREADY: They actually can contact my publicist, Marla Sitton (ph). Her e-mail address is radpromo.com (ph).
KING: Radpromo.com (ph).
Are you going to record again?
MCCREADY: Yes, I hope so. There's a couple of things right now out on the table for me as far as a record -- another record deal is concerned. I'm looking at all my options and trying to figure out what the best thing for me to do is.
Most of all, I'm so just excited to sing again. I can't wait to be in the studio. I can't wait to find songs.
You know, Nashville, during this whole thing, I thought they forgot about me, I thought they didn't love me anymore. And I heard from so many of my friends. My family here in Nashville has just been wonderful. I mean, I'm talking hundreds of calls.
I've been here for 10, 11 years now, and everyone that I have had any contact with in the business has sent so many sweet condolences and called over and over to see if I needed anything. My friend Rob Penden (ph), who is a painter and a publisher in town, let me put this picture behind me today, which is so beautiful. You know, everybody has just come together for me, and I cannot tell you how that warms my heart. Thank you so much, Nashville, and to everybody else in all other music genres that are my friends that have called, thank you guys so much.
KING: You studied opera, right?
MCCREADY: Yes, I did.
KING: Good luck to you, Mindy.
MCCREADY: Thank you. I appreciate it, Larry.
KING: I hope everything turns out well for you.
MCCREADY: Thank you, Larry, so much.
KING: Mindy McCready.
The book may still be out on Princess Diana. We'll talk about that with five experts right after this.
KING: As we come back, you are looking live at a shot of the Place de L'Alma Tunnel, by the Seine river in Paris. The Eiffel Tower is right behind it. The tower is not lit tonight, so you won't be able to see that. But this is the spot, of course, the tragic spot where in 1997, Princess Diana met her death.
To discuss it, here in -- joining us in London is Robert Lacey, the best-selling author and veteran royal watcher, author of "Great Tales From English History, Volumes I and II."
In London is Dickie Arbiter, the former spokesman for Buckingham Palace, former press secretary for the queen and the prince and princess of Wales.
In New York is Patrick Jephson, the former private secretary to Princess Di for eight years. He was interviewed by the police for this British police inquiry. Best selling author. His latest book is portraits of a princess, travels with Diana. Back in London, Hugo Vickers, the best selling biographer and veteran royal watcher, has compiled a biography of the late queen mother, entitled "Elizabeth the Queen Mother." It will be published in October.
And in London, our very own Richard Quest, the London based CNN correspondent. And we'll start with Richard to get us up to date.
The morning -- the British paper "The Express" had a headline, "Diana; Police Cannot Rule out Murderer and the Paris death crash may have been deliberate."
What do you make of this?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what this is, of course Larry, is another of those sort of leaks that have come out into this investigation into what took place. You'll remember, of course, that there's already been the French investigation, a very long, laborious investigation that concluded that this was an accident.
Now under the British law and the English law, the coroner is holding his investigation, there is this other investigation being held by the former metropolitan police commissioner. And what the leak substantially says, is that they can't rule one thing out, and they can't rule anything in.
Now, if you take one and one, you can happily, Larry, come up with four by basically saying, well, if they can't say its answer an accident, then maybe they are saying it was murder. If they're not saying it was murder, then maybe they're saying it was a conspiracy. But this is just a leak at the moment, Larry, in what is proving to be a long, detailed investigation.
KING: And what does the leak say to you, Robert Lacey?
ROBERT LACEY, ROYALS BIOGRAPHER: Well, it says to me that the police are having to justify why we're not seeing this on television at the moment. I mean, the British police have had these papers now for the best part of a year. I think it was about a year ago we were all on here talking about what we thought was going to happen about now. So they've got to justify about why it's taking so long. And also, as Richard says, were they actually to say, well, we'll ruled out any conspiracy theories, then people would not attach much credibility to the inquest when it happens. And it matters a great deal to the British establishment that the conspiracy theory should be dealt with. Let us not forget -- I mean, I am not in favor of conspiracy theories, but this woman did appear in a document produced by her ex-butler Paul Burrell, did appear to prophetize her own death and talk of a plot. So, this has got to be taken seriously.
KING: Dickie Arbiter, are you taking it seriously?
DICKIE ARBITER, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY TO THE QUEEN: Well, I'm going to criticize my two esteemed colleagues here. I think, they're talking about leaks, and I don't think there have been any leaks. I think what you've got here is that there was a consensus that the coroner would make his findings known around about the middle of this year. Nothing has happened.
The news desk at the "Daily Express" has said, well come on, chase up this story. What they've done is phoned the police press office who said, we are investigating and we're not ruling anything out. So, what they've done is gone away, and they've interpreted not ruling anything out, hey, there's a conspiracy, they're not ruling out conspiracy. I have said right from the beginning, I do not believe in conspiracies, despite this revelation or this note that Diana wrote a year before her death. I said it then in '97 I didn't believe it. And I still don't believe in conspiracies.
KING: But Patrick Jephson, it does mean that the case is not closed?
PATRICK JEPHSON, PRINCESS DIANA'S SECRETARY: And to take issue for a moment with Dickie. Actually, this inquiry has already overrun the time it was expect to take. And it's not surprising in a case of this kind people are going ask why. I think initially the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Stevens thought that he was going to be able to warp this up in pretty short order. But what's quite obvious here is that the investigation is taking longer than they expected, and naturally, there's speculation about that.
KING: Hugo Vickers, what's your read on all this?
HUGO VICKERS, BEST SELLING ROYALS BIOGRAPHER: Well, I hate to say that at the end of the day, even if they come to the absolute conclusion that it was an accident, people are still going to go on suggesting that there's a conspiracy. That's what they always do with conspiracies. I mean, we have it over Marilyn Monroe, we have it over President Kennedy, we even still up to a point have it over the czar of Russia and Anastasia and all that. People like conspiracy theories. And nothing that anyone does or reports or whatever, is ever going to completely dispel the possibility in people's minds. But I agree with the rest of the panelists, that if indeed this is what they're saying, then I think we all think it was an accident. I think we've all come to that conclusion for intelligent reason.
KING: Richard Quest, how much of this is prompted by Mr. Fayed?
QUEST: Well, one never really knows in these circles. And whenever I've spoken to him on this, his bitterness remains intense. His dedication to his cause remains absolute. Last year I interviewed him, and you know, he constantly -- he would say to me, Richard, you don't have children. You don't know what it is like. You don't know what it feels like to have lost a child in these circumstances. So, whenever one hears his comments, and there's no evidence, Larry, that he is perhaps behind this legal -- although, again, I take slight issue with Dickie Arbiter when he says he doesn't believe it's a leak. There's no such a thing, it's just a bit of a ring round of the newspaper. I think there's a good old fashioned bit of mischief making going on here. It's a quiet day and they decided to make some calls and there was a bit of a leak, and suddenly you get a classic headline, Larry.
KING: We'll take a break and when we come back, more and your phone calls. By the way, next week is the 20th anniversary of this program. We started on June 1st 1985. We started on the 5th anniversary of CNN which started on June 1st, 1980. In celebration of that anniversary, our guest next week will be Vice President Dick Cheney, President George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Bush, President Bill Clinton, Dan Rather, Barbara Walters interviewing me, and Mark Geragos, his first interview since the Peterson trial.
All those guests, all next week in celebration of 20 years at CNN.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are just learning now just in to CNN, apparently Princess Diana has been in a serious road accident in Paris. We are just getting word that the French government has informed all of us that Princess Diana has died.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Robert Lacey, if the conspiracy theory ever bore out, this would be one of the stories of the millennium, would it not?
LACEY: Yes, it would. I mean, it would be a marvelous story, because if it was really a conspiracy to kill her, it was a pretty clever conspiracy, pretty daring conspiracy to stage it in front of the world's press on motor bikes, so that within 30 seconds of it happening you're surrounded by photographers. It seems to me quite extraordinary.
You were talking earlier about Mr. Mohammed Fayed. I don't think he's behind this particular leak, but he's certainly behind the initial impetus for a conspiracy theory, because, you know, if you don't take the conspiracy theory, you have to say, in whose car was the princess when she died? Who was -- whose driver was it driving the car? Whose plan was it to use this tunnel? Who was it cleared with?
We know over the phone at 1:00 in the morning, Mr. Fayed, he has all sorts of reasons for wanting to spray dust in everybody's eyes about this, because all the evidence points not that he did this deliberately, but that a tragic accident was down to the Fayed organization. So they have got a lot of reasons to look for fantastic diversions.
KING: Dickie, is it also -- it's very hard for the public to just take in hand that someone this beautiful, this pretty, this so much in the prime of life could die like this?
ARBITER: Yeah, I think people are still -- a lot of people are still trying to come to terms with the fact that this rather lovely lady did die in these tragic circumstances. But just to go back a moment to this story appearing in "The Daily Express." It is the only newspaper that published the story. It hasn't been picked up by any of the other national newspapers. It hasn't been picked up by any of the broadcasters. And what is interesting is that "The Daily Express" is a flagging newspaper, is a newspaper that used to have massive sales. It has barely 8 percent of the national sales on a day-to-day basis. Its nearest rival has 20 percent. So a good headline probably boosts sales, or so they think. And put a headline like this, it would do something to their sales. But I don't think it does anything.
KING: Do you buy that, Patrick, that this might be a circulation booster?
JEPHSON: Oh, practically everything you see on the front pages of British tabloids, Larry, is intended to be a circulation booster. And I absolutely agree there that this is not the sort of place that you would expect to find a really credible royal exclusive.
But one question that I don't think has been asked yet, and I fear that the inquest won't ask it. If we accept that most fair- minded, intelligent people reject the conspiracy theory, that still leaves the question as to why this bright, intelligent, savvy woman, who many of us knew very well, found herself in a position of thinking that her husband was trying to kill her. That question remains even after all the conspiracy theories have been discounted.
KING: Hugo Vickers, doesn't that compound the situation, that very thought that she felt it?
VICKERS: Well, I don't think so. And Patrick knew the princess very well and worked with her very closely. And I don't know whether he would agree with me that she came up with a lot of different theories at different times, and this is obviously one that's particularly been focused upon. I mean, it is an outrageous suggestion that she made. Maybe she did believe that, but I think -- I think, you know, possibly you should ask Patrick again, did she not also believe a great number of other things of a similar nature? That seems to me the problem.
KING: Did she, Patrick?
JEPHSON: Hugo makes a fair point. And I think particularly towards the end of her life, the princess was vulnerable to people who peddled pretty outrageous theories. The more outrageous, the better. But that doesn't get away from the central point, that why was she in this frame of mind? She was, after all, somebody who, in my personal experience, was the soul of common sense. She was very acute at spotting the fake and the phony. And it still to me one of the most distressing aspects of the whole story, that towards the end of her life, she felt so beleaguered or threatened or uncertain, that whether or not she believed her husband was going to kill her, she nevertheless found it necessary to write down this fear, to share this fear. And there was nobody there who was able to put it out of her mind.
KING: Richard Quest, do you expect one day a definitive final answer?
QUEST: Larry, let me put that back to you as a question. Do you expect as regards President Kennedy one day a definitive final answer concerning what took place in Dallas all those years ago? I mean, the answer to the Diana question is, there will be -- there will be a coroner's inquest and result, and the conspiracy theorists will continue on ad infinitum. They are not going -- I mean, you just heard eminent men around me who have studied this to far greater levels than I have, who have raised detailed, intricate questions on fact concerning this. There is no way, Larry, that any investigation is going to put paid to those sort of questions to the satisfaction of the conspiracy theorists.
KING: Well said. That's still true about not only Kennedy, but Lincoln. And in that case, there was some sort of conspiracy.
We will take a break, come back, and go to your phone calls on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
Vice President Dick Cheney next Monday. Don't go away.
KING: Scene of the funeral procession. The Princess Di dilemma continues. And we go to phone calls for our panel.
Columbus, Ohio. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. Thank you for taking your call.
KING: Hello, I can't hear you clearly. Hello?
CALLER: Hi. Thank you for taking my phone call.
KING: Go ahead. Sure.
KING: Hi. Go ahead.
CALLER: Thanks for taking my phone call. Why is it so difficult for them to believe?
KING: What's the question?
CALLER: They don't believe that they could have -- that the prince could have had a part in the conspiracy to kill Diana. But he was capable of orchestrating this whole marriage to Diana, when it was a total fake.
KING: All right, Robert Lacey, what do you make of that? If he was capable of putting together the whole thing, couldn't he put together a conspiracy?
LACEY: Well, the marriage is a -- here's another can of worms. I mean, there's all sorts of theories about was the marriage arranged, was it a love match? Both couples -- you know, both parts of the couple have said different things. Prince Charles himself has said that he was pushed into this marriage by his parents, who said, look, there's so much publicity about this. I think -- I mean, I don't agree. I don't agree that Prince Charles orchestrated the marriage and I don't agree that he orchestrated the murder of his wife. As I said, I mean, how do you arrange a car to rush through a tunnel and be sure that the victim's going to die? We know, for example, that if Diana had been wearing a seat belt, she would have survived. It's as simple as that.
KING: Melbourne, Florida. Hello.
CALLER: Hello. Just before Diana's death, she had taken a very strong stand against the use of land mines. At the time, the British industry accounted for the world's largest production of land mines and it even bought out some of the U.S. manufacturing capacity. Has her death been investigated from this angle?
KING: Richard Quest, what do you make of that? I hadn't heard that.
QUEST: Well, that's a new one to me as well there, Larry, and the -- yes, she was very proactive against the use of land mines which the British government, to some extent, has still been involved with and in the sale thereof. However, the investigations that have taken place -- and your viewer is right to raise this interesting diversion -- but the investigations that have taken place -- the French looked at it for years. The coroner is now looking at it.
Think about it, Larry, the number of newspapers and journalists that have looked at it, and -- what you end up with, time and again, are fragments of information that don't seem to add up -- a car that might not have been used or the right car that wasn't used or the wrong route was taken. Well, you know, that's just called life, Larry, and if you look at life, you find that there's always those little frayed ends that don't seem to make too much sense.
KING: Dickie Arbiter, isn't that put very well?
ARBITER: I think he's put that very well. One of the other frayed ends that nobody has mentioned is that firstly, the couple shouldn't have been in Paris in the first place, and it was a last- minute decision to go there, and because they weren't expected there, nobody was on duty. There weren't any hotel cars, so the car that was used was a limousine from a hire company.
So, you know, to have a conspiracy, you've got to have a plan. To have a plan, you've got to have an itinerary. In this, there was no itinerary because they weren't expected. I think that sort of pushes the whole theory of conspiracy into the background.
KING: We go to Grand Prairie, Texas. Hello.
CALLER: Hello. I just -- I mourned the death of Diana along with the rest of the world, and the gentleman earlier addressed the same thing that I wanted to say. If she had been wearing a seat belt, she'd still be alive today, and I think it's really sad. I don't believe there was a conspiracy at all.
KING: Hugo Vickers, that is true, right? Seat belt -- she's living?
VICKERS: Well, yes, I assume so. I mean, let's say that she certainly would have had a much better chance of survival if she'd done so, and it's a lesson to us all that we should all wear seat belts. I think it was an accident, and an awful thing to happen, and, you know, as we've all said, it was all very, very tragic. I don't know what we really learn from it, particularly.
KING: Robert Lacey, with Charles' marriage to Camilla, is Princess Di still talked about a lot?
LACEY: Absolutely. As you can see, the ghost of Diana hovers over the marriage of Charles and Camilla, except that, I think, there's been a definite swing 'round in public opinion in favor of Camilla. One of the things that's happened this week is that she undertook her first public engagement solo, and photographers showed a little girl running up to her with a card which said Camilla, you'd make a lovely queen. Well, you wouldn't have expected that a month or so ago. So, I think so far the interim report is the Duchess of Cornwall is doing better than expected.
KING: Huh. We will take a break and come back with more calls on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't forget, in addition to Dick Cheney next week, other guests will include President George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Bush from Kennebunkport, Maine. Bill Clinton, live in our studios, the actual night of our 20th anniversary. That would be Wednesday night, June 1st. Then Dan Rather, Barbara Walters, interviewing me and Mark Geragos. We'll be right back.
KING: Little Rock, California. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, yes, I'd like the panel to discuss about her royal highness Princess Diana's possibly being pregnant at the time of her death?
KING: What do we know about that, Patrick?
JEPHSON: Well, the answer is, Larry, we know nothing about it except that it's another strand in the conspiracy theory. I don't actually think it has any relevance to anything, even if it were true. And I think we have some pretty persuasive evidence from Diana's girlfriends that it could not have been true.
KING: Does anyone know any more about that? Apparently not.
LACEY: Well, yes. I mean, I think -- well, yes, I do. I mean, Patrick, I think, was sort of stopping at a rather delicate point. The evidence from her girlfriends, which has been published in the newspapers, is that about 10 days before she -- her death, she was on holiday with her best friend Rosa Monckton, who has since said that she had her period at that stage. So, it was highly unlikely that she was pregnant.
We also know -- and we've had this on record from the coroners involved -- that when her corpse was brought back to England, it was examined before it lay in St. James Palace, and it was cut open and they looked at the womb and the fallopian tubes and there was no pregnancy. Now, the conspiracy theorists are going to say, well, the coroners would say that, wouldn't they? I mean, the most basic and distasteful evidence like this will still be dismissed by those for whom it is impossible to believe that a prince -- princesses don't exist that die in cars, do they, and remind us of the lasting reality of the world?
KING: Well put. Cobalt, Ontario, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. Going on the conspiracy theory of her death, reports said that she was still alive. I remember watching it, vividly. Why wasn't every attempt made to get her to the best possible hospital in the world to save her life? And who was in charge of her at that point?
KING: Richard Quest, do you know?
QUEST: Ah, well, now, that is when it all gets extremely interesting, Larry, in the sense of who was in charge.
Well, as Robert was saying earlier, the princess had eschewed formal royal protection on many occasions. Now she was under the protection, to some extent, of Al Fayed and it was his car and all these. So, the actual arrangements as such -- I mean, Ken Wharfe, her former bodyguard, on record as saying, if he had still been in charge of her security detail, this would not have happened. It wouldn't have happened in these circumstances. She would have been wearing a seat belt and certainly the motor -- the driver would not have been under the influence.
Now, a lot of confusion over which would have been the closest hospital under which circumstances. Dickie Arbiter is far better qualified than myself to take us through some of those details, but substantially, there is no real evidence anywhere that I'm aware of -- and Dickie again can correct me -- that if things had been done differently, that the outcome would have been satisfactory.
ARBITER: I think Richard is absolutely right there. Yeah, Richard is absolutely right there, that if things had been done differently, there would have been no different outcome.
There was, coincidentally, a doctor close behind the Fayed car, and he was on the scene pretty quick. And he tried to administer, until the ambulance arrived.
But what is interesting, you know, we talked about seatbelts before, had she been wearing a seatbelt she might have survived. She might have been badly injured. It's interesting that the bodyguard was wearing a seatbelt, and he did survive. So, you know, it does go back to the fact that neither of them were wearing seatbelts, and they died as a result of a tragic accident.
KING: And the bodyguard was in front, right?
ARBITER: He was in front, yes. And he survived. Yet the driver was not wearing a seatbelt and he was killed.
KING: Memphis, Tennessee, hello.
CALLER: Hey, Larry, I got a question. Conspiracy theories aside, the photographers who were pursuing Diana into the tunnel in the first place, had there any been -- any been charges being brought up against them, or will there be any type of charges for -- to them for basically chasing her into the tunnel first?
KING: Patrick, do you think they contributed to this accident?
JEPHSON: Well, there's been a lot of heated discussion about this in the French press. I think I'm right in saying that charges were brought but were subsequently dropped. I think it has also been established that at the time of the accident, there were no French photographers actually within a substantial distance of the car.
It's a fascinating thing. If you go to Paris, as I mean, I did on several occasions with the princess, the French motorcycle paparazzi are notorious throughout the world as being the most audacious. I mean, it's bad enough in daylight with the proper police escort. What it must have been like at night with the heightened sense of tension and excitement that I think must have been surrounding that trip. It's hardly surprising that they were at least implicated in some way. But ultimately, I don't think any charges were brought.
KING: We'll be back with more on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE right after this.
KING: There's that scene where the tragedy occurred. This is a live shot in Paris. It's early Wednesday morning.
Hugo Vickers, is this ever going to -- when does this end? When do the inquiries end, the tribunals? When is it over?
VICKERS: Well, it's going to go on for some time yet, and as I say, even when it does end, I don't think it's ever going to completely end, because, as I said before, people always want conspiracies and they will never really be satisfied. I mean, the whole thing was a tragic thing. The princess of Wales, towards the end of her life, was spiraling into a kind of dangerous form of chaos. I mean, I think there's pictures of her that we see on security cameras in the Ritz that show a very distressed and uneasy person. I think they're very upsetting to watch, even before the accident.
And then I suppose there's the -- there's the sort of wider question, which I find so, so complicated, is that, you know, now we're all meant to accept the new duchess of Cornwall as evidently doing so well. But I mean, she was around before Diana, she's around after Diana. So you know, one sees, though, the Diana phase, as it were, is a small part of a much wider thing, which I think is rather -- additionally rather sad, frankly.
KING: Vancouver, British Columbia, hello.
CALLER: Yes. Hi, Larry.
CALLER: I believe definitely that there could have been some kind of a conspiracy of murder, but I'd like to get the opinion of the panel. Do they feel that the royal family would have welcomed an Arab to father Diana's child? The queen, she has a hard time with Camilla, but to have an Arab named Abdullah to be brother to the future king of England, to be coming to the palace, you know, that's really a good fact that may not sit well.
KING: Richard, is that a good point?
QUEST: Larry, I take on board what Vancouver says, but this is a family that have dealt with far greater crises than this. Go back to the abdication in the late 1930s. Rocked the thing to its very core. Go back to Princess Margaret and Group Captain Peter Townsend. Go back to years and years of the Diana and Charles fiasco marriage and all the scandals. So you know, people like Dickie Arbiter, who were at the palace and who were -- who were I was going to say spinning the story, in the nicest possible way, Dickie -- they were used to handling this. An Arab father-in-law or step-father, they could have handled that as well.
KING: Miami, hello.
CALLER: Larry, got a question for Robert Lacey.
CALLER: First, why would anyone want Diana dead? And with your fine ability to research your own books, have you come across anything that might indicate a murder?
LACEY: No, I've come across nothing at all, Miami. And going back to the Arab question, you know, Arabs are the demons of the modern world. This seems to me just to compound the whole idiocy to me of the conspiracy theory. I mean, I don't, frankly, think the royal family did look on the Fayeds as particularly pleasant or savory people. We know, for example, that they cut off their patronage of Mr. Fayed's emporium of Harrods. But that wasn't because he was a bad Muslim -- because he was a good Muslim. He's a bad Muslim, and if -- anyway, we're getting into difficult water here. I just -- I -- it just shows that the -- endless fascination and complications of this.
KING: Thank you all very much. Robert Lacey, Dickie Arbiter, Patrick Jephson, Hugo Vickers and our own Richard Quest. Mr. Jephson was in New York, the rest in London. One again a -- once again, a reminder: Next week's our 20th anniversary. In celebration along with the 25th of CNN, our guests will include Dick Cheney, George and Barbara Bush, Bill Clinton, Dan Rather, Barbara Walters interviewing me, and Mark Geragos.
Aaron Brown is off tonight. Anderson Cooper sits in. He will host NEWSNIGHT -- I like that. The tie looks just nice and crystal blue. Very well tailored, Anderson, in keeping with your new image.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, you know, I think one gives crystal blues for a 20th anniversary. I think that's the 20th anniversary gift, so I'll send it to you.
KING: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Larry, thanks very much.
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