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Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Turns 58

Aired July 18, 2005 - 21:00   ET


SAM CHAMPION, HOST: Tonight, from mistress to Her Royal Highness, Prince Charles' first love, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, turns 58. How is she working out as his second wife? Is she being accepted by the royal family? And how did Prince William do on his first official royal trip overseas? We've got all the latest with palace insiders and royal watchers.
From London, best-selling royals biographer, Hugo Vickers, in New York, "Access Hollywood" correspondent Tim Vincent, formerly a very popular TV host in England, back in London, Dickie Arbiter, the former Buckingham Palace spokesman, Patrick Jephson, former press secretary to Princess Diana, and "People" magazine deputy London bureau chief Simon Perry. He covered Prince William's recent foreign trip. Well, they're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

And good evening, I'm Sam Champion. Larry has the night off and he let me have a little fun tonight by doing this topic. We are kind of a royal update; I'd guess you call it. We're going to check in with everybody and every story that's happened. It's been a few months since the big royal wedding, so there's a lot of checking up to do.

Dickie Arbiter in London, Her Royal Highness, Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall turned 58 on Sunday. Now, Camilla got a code of arms for her birthday and this is somewhat important, I guess, because there's a crown on this? Now, explain to me why that's important.

DICKIE ARBITER, FORMER BUCKINGHAM PALACE SPOKESMAN: Well, it is important in that she is a member of the royal family. She's fully paid up. She got married to the Prince of Wales, heir to the thrown, on April 9 last. She's been a royal highness for a 100 days and she now has a code of arms. And she's entitled because she is a royal highness and because she is married to the Prince of Wales to have a crown on her coat of arms.

I don't think it came as a surprise to anybody. It happens when you get married into royalty, that eventually you get your coat of arms. You came to live over here and you became a Brit, you could get your own coat of arms as well. We could all do it.

CHAMPION: Now, Dick...

ARBITER: ...special for a special because they got a crown.

CHAMPION: Now, Dickie, this was kind of, like, explained to me as, like, the gift -- the royal gift that keeps on giving though because the crown may mean that she really will be queen some day. Is that what the buzz is?

ARBITER: Yes. I think, you know, we've all got to accept that one day -- but how far that one day is, you know, the queen is pretty robust, pretty healthy. Her late mother lived to 102. And if the queen lives that long that the Prince of Wales has probably got another 25 years or so to wait. So we've got a long time to wait before we see and hear of a Queen Camilla.

CHAMPION: Hugo Vickers...

ARBITER: ...Camilla queen.

CHAMPION: Hugo Vickers, this has got to go down as, like, the best birthday ever for Camilla. So kind of explain how she's doing and what was the birthday like.

HUGO VICKERS, BEST-SELLING ROYALS BIOGRAPHER, IN LONDON: Well, can I just -- can I go get back to the thing about the crown....


VICKERS: ...because what I think is significant is that although she is known as the Ditches of Cornwall, the coronet above it is that of the Princess of Wales. It's the Princess of Wales coronet because it's sort of a little bar over the top of the arch -- over the top of it. And so had they -- they really wanted her to be the Duchess of Cornwall as such than they could have given her a royal duchess coronet, which is somewhat different. And so, I think there is some significance in that. Although she is known as the Duchess of Cornwall, as I've been saying, since the start -- as everybody else, I think, agrees with -- the wife of the Prince of Wales is, of course, technically, the Princess of Wales. You can call yourself whatever you like.

CHAMPION: So it is...

VICKERS: I think that's the point.

CHAMPION: It is a topic of conversation, certainly.

Simon Perry, Charles and Camilla were wed on April 9 and that's not quite four months ago. How are they doing as a couple? How is London and the rest of the world kind of seeing them as a couple?

SIMON PERRY, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE LONDON BUREAU CHIEF: I think they've been accepted, especially on their away day engagements and so on. Pretty well. They've just been spending four or five days in Wales and they toured right around the principality there. And she got a great reception, generally, out there in the countryside, seen very much as a supportive partner for the Prince of Wales. And there's no doubt people who know him have been saying he's got a spring in his step as well. I think there's a feeling that there's a great weight off his shoulders and at long last that whole issue of whether to marry her and so on has been sorted out.

CHAMPION: Patrick Jephson, now, sort of expand on that topic a little bit for me because it was said that she would have -- that this was the true love of his life and you would really see him loosen up and people would get that feeling once they were together and a item. Is that what's happening now?

PATRICK JEPHSON, PRINCESS DIANA'S FORMER PRIVATE SECRETARY, IN LONDON: I think the image you get is of a middle-aged couple settling into some rather cozy domesticity, very comfortable domesticity too. But I guess the comment I would make is that this is great proof of what the Windsor royal machine can achieve when it puts its mind to it. This has happened in the teeth of some very vocal opposition, mine included. And it's a good reminder that when you have a royal family, every now and then it does something really royal. It does what it wants to do and the heck with the rest of you. We're going to do it this way, and you can like it or lump it.

Now, as Simon says, a lot of people are liking it. The people who don't like it will be the ones who stay in the background, who stay quiet, who will not turn out to line the streets or wave from the field. And I have done -- I've done, I guess, several thousand royal engagements. Dickie has too. And it takes a long time to get a true estimate of how people are reacting in public up and down the country. It's never difficult to draw crowds through a royal event, whoever it is, because people are curious.

CHAMPION: But the papers are being kind.

JEPHSON: That does not necessarily translate directly into mass support.

CHAMPION: But the papers are being kind, aren't they?

JEPHSON: The papers have been kind, but the papers are also being guarded. There is a watchfulness about them. There's a story in today's "Daily Mail," which is probably the leading royal -- the most authoritative royal comment paper, and certainly people are saying she is doing well so far, but there is a lot of emphasis on the so far. I think if anything goes wrong, then the papers won't be slow to jump on it.

CHAMPION: Tim Vincent, do you think in -- and you're with "Access Hollywood" here in New York. Do you think that there's -- it's an age thing that people -- young people may feel differently than older people about the situation?

TIM VINCENT, "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" CORRESPONDENT, FORMER TC HOST IN BRITAIN: Absolutely. I covered the royal wedding for "Access Hollywood" and we were there for the whole week. And I would say probably the most negative thing that anybody said to me was that they were apathetic about the wedding. And that was younger people. They're just not bothered one way or the other. They don't hate them.

There's nothing to hate about that couple. I'd say the generation of 40, 50, 60 plus have a different opinion about the royals. They saw the royals when they were a much stronger, very guarded family. And they would never ever do anything that was hypocritical outside of that family. Now, you see the royals partying in nightclubs. People identify with Wills and Harry going out and having a few too many drinks. And I think you have to look at the royal family as the Osbournes of Britain, the upper class Osbournes. They're a family that were in the papers every day. You and I can open the papers and see what they've been up to. And we're interested in. And the people that are interested are apathetic.

CHAMPION: But they're also interested here in the States. I mean we are reading about them. And true, I think there was a lot more coverage when it was young and fun and hot and moving but...

VINCENT: Well, I think there was a lot more coverage when it was Diana. Diana was the dream girl that everybody loved. She was a girl that came from a reasonably normal background, who married a prince and became a princess, and had her ability to interact with people through the camera or to one-on-one with a person who had AIDS in a ward. And she kind of was the world domination of the royals. Ever since then, the speculation and the coverage has been less. And you know that is purely because there isn't the Diana there.

CHAMPION: I think everyone....

VINCENT: I'm not saying that Camilla wants to be Diana at all.


VINCENT: I think she's been very intelligent that she isn't trying to put herself in that position.

CHAMPION: But I think everyone would agree with you that the number of stories that are floating out and certainly across the pond in our country, there are fewer than there were when you had Princess Diana and you had all the activity.

VINCENT: And I think that will change again though as Harry and Wills gets older. They have their serious girlfriends. It looks like they're having their first serious girlfriends now.

CHAMPION: Oh, we are definitely going to check in with the younger royals, certainly, within this hour. But we've got a lot to talk about and we still have to kind of talk about the established royals. We've got to talk about that, the terrible terror incident that happened in London, big comparison to what happened in World War II. How did the royals do? We'll certainly talk about that when we come back, right after this break.


CHAMPION: It's a little bit of a royal update on LARRY KING LIVE. Larry has the night off. I'm Sam Champion. We've got a panel of royal experts. They watch them on a regular basis, so they have all the answers.

But when unthinkable terror happened in London, and it took us all aback, everyone had to think about how to react to it. But how did the royals do?

Dickie Arbiter, the royal reaction to the London bombings -- the queen certainly took the lead, but it does seem that Camilla and Charles were right in there pitching. How was it seen in London?

ARBITER: Well, they certainly were. But you put your finger on it right in your introduction, that the queen took the lead. And we have to remember the other members of the royal family, and that includes Prince Charles and Camilla, are there in support of the queen. The queen always takes the lead.

Now, she did put out, you know, how shocked she was on the day of the bombings, 7-7. And the day after, she went to the London hospital to meet up with patients, with victims of the bombing, with the emergency services, made a very powerful speech in which she sort of said that something like this simply reinforces the sense of community and it did just that. It drew people together. And on the -- a couple of days later, she made another speech in which she drew the comparison of what happened on that dreadful day on Thursday the 7th of July to the way people coped in 1914, September 1914 during the Blitz. They dived for cover during the bombing. They came out and dust themselves off and got on with their lives.

Now, you've go to remember, we've lived with terrorism for over 40 years. It came just across the water from Northern Ireland. So we're talking here about the IRA. So terrorism isn't anything new in this country, but foreign terrorism is. And people -- yes, people were injured. People were killed. People were shocked. But we all came together and came together in a rally in Trafalgar Square. They came together.

And last Thursday, London stood still. The U.K. stood still for two minutes. And where I was, in a very busy street, you could have heard a pin drop. Drivers got out of their buses. Passengers got off the buses. Taxi drivers stopped and their passengers got out. People stood by their car. So it is a sense of community and the queen highlighted that in her speech at the London hospital a day after the bombing.

CHAMPION: And it must have been comfort to have her there just as in World War II. I think it probably made a lot of people feel better.

Patrick Jephson, former private secretary to Princess Diana. You're the guy to ask this question. Diana was known as the comforter. She really got in there, touched people. And I think Americans kind of related with that. We're a lot touchier, I think, of a group. But tell me now do folk in Britain miss that? Did they get enough of that in the comforting?

JEPHSON: You mean in this most recent...


JEPHSON: ...bomb attack with -- yes. Well, each member of the royal family has their own style. Diana's style, as you say, was emotionally very confident. She was very happy to communicate at an emotional level with people. It took a lot out of her. It's one of the things that made her so good at her job. She was prepared to spend that sort of emotional energy herself, making a connection with people who were in times of crisis.

I think with the queen, obviously, there's a different sort of message being sent. I mean, the queen's involvement, and indeed the royal family's reaction to an event like this, is carefully coordinated with the prime minister's office. And certainly in this case, I know that the queen's private secretary was immediately in touch with Downing Street and a coordinated response to the outrage was...

CHAMPION: But Patrick, I think...

JEPHSON: ...put in place.

CHAMPION: Patrick, I think my question is really that in all the pictures that we see, you know, you don't have someone jumping on the cot or holding someone's head. And you know, you just think that that's what you would have seen with Diana. And is that missed in London?

JEPHSON: I think it is missed. And certainly, it is what you would have seen. Diana was particularly good with patients. But what is forgotten sometimes is that she was also very good with the people who looked after the patients. She had a very clear understanding that the really -- the key people in these circumstances are those who get in there and do the dirty jobs. And she was scrupulous in making sure that they felt appreciated.

CHAMPION: Hugo Vickers, is this something that you're going to look for Camilla to feel in this void or is this something that's just going to have to be completely different?

VICKERS: It's going to have to be completely different. I would go back to the role of the queen in all this. I think that one of the most telling images of the queen was that three days later, she was going down the Mall in an open carriage to Horse Guards parade just as she would have done. There was no kind of bullet-proof cars or anything like that. And she gave a very, very powerful message in doing that, in my opinion.

I think that the role of Camilla is always going to be much more subordinate to Prince Charles. I don't think she's going to step out too much from behind him. So I think that she is going to be much more in the role of supporting him and whatever he does, unlike Diana who was fantastic and did a wonderful job in a different way.

CHAMPION: And Simon Perry, if you look for it in Prince William, you were there when he was in New Zealand, I think, when he got the word. What was his reaction there?

PERRY: Well, we understand that he spent a lot of the time -- it was nighttime, of course, down in New Zealand by then and he spent a lot of that evening, like many of us, texting on his mobile phone and calling people, trying to get a hold of friends and so on and just to see how people were coping. And the following day or few days later at least, he signed the first page of a book of condolence that was opened in Auckland, which probably underlined to him the source of engagement or appointment that will be expected of him once he really gets going in terms of being a statesman. You know he will be expected to do the things that the queen and Prince of Wales did, going to visit hospitals and so on.

CHAMPION: So Simon...

PERRY: ... and too that, you know, that the royal family right through would have to show some kind of solidarity with families and victims.

CHAMPION: So Simon, it seems like it's almost back to the proper spectrum, the lead has gone back to the queen and everything trickles down. Everyone's response is there instead of it being so scattered and each royal kind of fighting for their own position in a disaster or even in a headline. Am I correct in that?

PERRY: Yes, and like the others were saying, you -- they take their lead from the queen. I think what happened before with the Princess of Wales, with Diana, was that because so much of -- so many of us were interested in her, of course, the beacon of publicity and so on and the media spotlight went towards her. So it felt like she was leading the way or it felt like she was first out of the blocks or whatever. But I'm sure in most of these situations, similar situations to what happened the other day here in London, again, there would have been a protocol of starting with the queen and working downwards.

CHAMPION: Well, the world...

PERRY: It was the same back to Prince William. It was a big lesson for him too.

CHAMPION: Yes, the world certainly took a breath. And all of our hearts are with everyone there. But I guess the general feeling is that they did OK on this disaster.

But about the young royals, well, we've got to talk about love. We've got to talk about school. We've got to talk about all of those rumors and we'll do that after the break on this royal check-up on LARRY KING LIVE.


CHAMPION: It is a royal checkup right here on LARRY KING LIVE, and so we're checking in with all of them. We started the half hour with Camilla.

Now, we're down to the younger royals and when we left off with you, Simon Perry, you were covering Prince William in New Zealand. Now, this was, what we didn't say, his first official solo visit. And he was representing the royal family, correct? PERRY: Yes, yes. He was undertaking some engagements on behalf of the queen, mainly to mark the end of 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. So he met some war veterans and laid some wreaths and so on of -- to mark those at two war memorials in Wellington and New Zealand and Auckland. But, of course, the reason he wants to go there in the first place was to watch some rugby. We just snatched up some pictures there of him training with a team called the British Lions, which is basically the best of British taking on the New Zealand Allbacks at rugby. And he wants to go down and see the team there and they dove-tailed in some engagements for him to sort of kick off his world career.

CHAMPION: Hugo Vickers, what's the next step for Prince William? Do we see him doing more of this? I mean I'm not the best on British schooling, but I believe he's out of university now. What happens with him now?

VICKERS: Yes. Well, I mean, he's certainly been launched into his royal life. And, of course, I think we all think that you really couldn't invent Prince William. I mean if you tried to sort of make a prototype of what we want the eventual heir to the throne to be like, you couldn't have a better man. He's done well academically. He did extremely well when he was in the Cadet Corps at Eden College. He was head and shoulders above everybody else. He's doing extremely well. And of course, he's going to be able to do more of these sort of engagements as time goes on. And I hope that they will find things, as Simon said, which, you know, not anything which have to be done on behalf of the queen but also which interest him and which in a sense involved him in sort of interests that his generation will have, be it sporting or meeting pop stars or whatever the mood of the moment is. I think that's very important, too.

CHAMPION: Dickie Arbiter, let's talk about Kate. Everyone has been, I guess, but it's not that there have been so many pictures of the two of them together. I haven't seen that many. So tell me if there are, actually.

ARBITER: Well, there aren't. You'll be very hard pressed to find any pictures.

I just want to carry on from what Hugo said a moment ago about what Prince William is going to do next. He is going to be spending a bit of time in the city of London learning about finance, which is going to hold him in good stead because eventually he's going to be heading up with patronages and presidencies of a number of charities that he'll pick in due course. And he's going to have to know how to vest to raise money. So he's going to get some financial education in the city.

He's also going to go and join the British Mountain Rescue Team in the country to learn a bit about that, learn a bit about the environment, about the countryside. So he's going to get a good grounding. He's fortunate that he's one of the few royals that's actually got brains. He came out with a very good two-one university degree, which is commendable. His trip to New Zealand, as Simon said, was absolutely brilliant. He went out primarily to perhaps be a mascot for the Lions. Well, British Lions were a mixture of English, Welsh and Irish, so there were British and Irish lines. He was a mascot but he didn't do any good. They lost their test matches but won the provincial matches. But he is -- he's on holiday at the moment with Kate...

CHAMPION: Now when you say...



CHAMPION: But before I get to Kate, you just raised a good point and I need a clarification because I don't really understand the British education system well. When you say it was a two-one, help me understand what that means. You say he's got brains but now does this mean he graduated top of his class or second in his class?

ARBITER: He graduated a lot higher than his father and his uncles before him. And he really is the one with the brains in the family. None of his aunts or -- well, he's got one aunt and three uncles, two uncles who are particularly bright. They came out with degrees. Well, one did but not with a particularly high degree. So, yes, he is clever. And I think it's fortunate that his mother gave him the grounding that she did give him in learning about life and his father has given him another aspect of grounding. But...

CHAMPION: All right. Tim Vincent, now I'm going to ask you as the youngish covering guy, what is this -- what's this date match? What he -- what looks like Katie Holmes, but I mean she looks like an American actress.

VINCENT: I think it's too early to read too much into this. You know they're both young, him and Harry. They're going to have, we would assume, several girlfriends before they settle down. If you think about Prince Charles in the '70s, he used to have lots of girls on his arms even if he didn't admit they were his girlfriend. So at the moment, they're both enjoying themselves. They're both going out to nightclubs for the first time in London.

I asked my executive producer, Rob, you know, who would we feature as the royals if they were over here. And it's really Harry and Wills. They're the new generation of royals that we're interested in.

And there's an interesting point that you made before, are people missing the human touch that Diana gave to the royal family. And I think they're missing Diana, not for the human touch of Prince Charles because they've never been led to expect anything from him. And I think Harry and Wills coming of age will bring that full circle back to how Diana acted with people.

CHAMPION: Because she gave them something different than the other royal members would have done. VINCENT: Earlier on, you said they have a good grounding and that's exactly what they have done. There were many pictures of them as youngsters going to hospitals with Diana and meeting people with AIDS or being involved in crashes or any kind of tragedy. So they have a much wider grounding than most royals.

CHAMPION: Interesting point. And we'll see if the two younger members of the royal family can carry on, which we will talk a bit more about. We haven't even talked about Harry yet. We've got to talk about that right after the break.


CHAMPION: Good evening, I'm Sam Champion. And we are watching the royals on LARRY KING LIVE. Larry has the night off. He was nice off to allow me to sit in and have some fun with our panel of experts tonight. Hugo Vicars, bestselling author and veteran royal. Tim Vincent, correspondent for "Access Hollywood." Dickie Arbiter, former spokesman for Buckingham Palace. Patrick Jephson, former private secretary to Princess Diana. And Simon Perry, "People" magazine, he is the deputy of euro chief there in London.

And Simon, I'd like to start with you, because we just talked a little bit about Prince William but we didn't even get into Prince Harry. And since we were talking about the sexiness and the headline- grabbing ability of the royals in particular, you've got to go to those two, I guess. They're the ones that people want to buy the magazines to read about.

PERRY: You do. There's no doubt, especially as they're now really flourishing as 23-year-old and a 20-year-old as they are now, dating and traveling the world and starting new jobs as Harry's just done as he's starting his army career, which he's in training for at the moment.

These are the people you want to talk about. At the end of the day, large numbers of us see Diana in them and the fascination of Diana who we've touched on many times already this evening, even though she's been dead eight years, continues through her sons.

CHAMPION: Hard to believe it's been eight years.

PERRY: You know, they're beginning to -- yes, yes, it is.


PERRY: Harry's doing well. He's --

CHAMPION: Sorry to cut you off, Simon. Go ahead. What were you saying?

PERRY: Sorry. I was just saying Harry's doing well, he's well into his army training now, which he started a couple of months ago now. And -- but he's spending most weekends, if he can, with his girlfriend Chelsey Davy who has jetted over from South Africa more than once. I think she's gone back there now, having said that. But they get to see each other on the weekends. So, yes, things are moving on for him.

CHAMPION: Now Hugo, he's the one who has been, if you will, painting them with personalities. A bit of the devilish one. This is the guy who's kind of grabbing the naughty headlines. It certainly isn't Prince William. So, you know, what's up with Harry?

VICKERS: Well, it certainly isn't Prince William. Prince William is doing fine. Prince Harry is always going to be in the difficult role because he's the number two. And the number two never has a very easy time. Because if you're number two, you may stay in the wings as it were all your working life and never be called to do anything pretty remarkable. On the other hand, if anything goes wrong with number one you're suddenly thrust into the spotlight and you're going to be having to take over.

So he has this very, very difficult role. And traditionally it seems to me that very often this has a rather, let's say, to the effect that they become the tearaways. I mean we saw a certain amount of it with Princess Margaret, whereas the Queen was always very, very serious, Princess Margaret was the one who went to the parties and had the fun. And I think Prince Harry's much the same. He's had some unfortunate headlines over the last few months. But you know he's a young kid and I think Sandhurst where he's undergoing this very serious training, is the best thing that could happen for him. And may very well turn out a very different sort of character.

CHAMPION: Tim Vincent, the romance kind of got out of the headlines after Diana. Now is it going to come back in with her sons? Are we going to be watching every move they make, every person that they date?

VINCENT: I think they are already. We've been watching them. I think there's been a healthy respect while they've been in the school and university that the press stepped back. But as mentioned, they've already left. So now as they explore their adult lives and go out partying more, then the paparazzi have quite a right to be outside those night clubs and I think we're going to see a lot more of the royals and their girlfriends, and I use that quite literally plural, there will be different girls associated with them, even if it's not true. And that's where they have to be careful because they have to trust the right people when they go out and party or socialize.

CHAMPION: Now Tim, you're the one to ask because you've covered it from both angles. Is the British press or the American press, which one's more difficult to deal with in this kind of situation?

VINCENT: I would have to be very careful but I would say that the American press can be more respectful on occasions and the British press very aware of how much the right picture of a royal can fetch. Saying that, if they were both next to each other, the Americans and British, they're still going to fight for that great picture.

I think what they will find over the next couple years is that the protection that they've had will be less because they're now out of school and they'll want more freedom, which will encase, entail that they will have more opportunities for the press to invade their privacy.

CHAMPION: Now, Dickie Arbiter, you've been a royal insider. Tell me how do you protect these young men from the headlines? They're going to do the things that all young men do in their 20s. There's going to be some trouble. There's going to be some missteps. What do you do?

ARBITER: Yes, you protect them with difficulty. And you hope that they're going to help you in protecting themselves. But then if you look back over recent months before Harry went to Sandhurst, he went to that fancy dress party. He could have gotten away with it had he just worn the Africa Corps uniform. But he didn't, he embellished it with a swastika.

Now Africa Corps during the second world war, never wore swastika arm bands. It was that one item that was offensive. And maybe somebody told him, maybe they didn't. But he should have known better. And they've got to try and help their press people to help themselves, because if they don't cooperate, then nothing in the world can a press secretary do to get them out of the mess that they get themselves in.

When he did that, wore that uniform, what he should have done was go in front of the cameras, say, I apologize, it was very stupid and I apologize to anybody that I've offended. But instead they put out a very silly statement that said if I have offended. Well it wasn't the case of if, he did offend. And if it was poor judgment, it wasn't even poor judgment, it was rotten judgment.

They've got to choose their words very carefully. So the only way they're going to succeed in the press office is if these guys behave themselves. Now William is not a problem. It's Harry whose been the problem in the past. But I think the army and his Sandhurst training will be the making of him, because he's going to have eight months of discipline instilled into him. He's going to be the leader of men and you can only lead men if they're going to trust you. And they're only trust you if you behave yourself.

CHAMPION: And we all grow up at some point. Now maybe we have not asked the questions that you at home want to ask. Phone calls? We'll take your phone calls when we return in just a minute.


CHAMPION: We're talking to the royal watchers and answering your questions now about the royal family, the British royal family. So Pleasanton, California, hello and what's your question?

CALLER: Yes, hi. I would like to know if William and Harry drive their own cars? And if they do, what kind of cars do they drive?

CHAMPION: All right.

CALLER: Thank you.

CHAMPION: Dickie, do you want to try that one?

ARBITER: Yes, sure. Hi, good evening, or, well, yes, good evening, it's good morning from London.

Yes, they do drive their own cars. It is good morning from London. It's coming up to 3:00 a.m. They do drive their own cars. And they're not big ones. They're not flashy. William has got -- I think the last thing I knew he had a Ford Focus, which is pretty small. It's not big. So, yes, they do drive, but they don't drive flashy cars.

CHAMPION: All right. Yonkers, New York, you've got a question for us. What's your question?

CALLER: Yes, good evening, gentlemen, and good morning. I was wondering two things, actually. One thing was, there was a lot of talk about them flying the flag for Camilla's birthday. And in light of what happened in London, I was wondering if they actually did fly it.

And the second question I had was, before the announcement that Charles was marrying Camilla, the duchess of York was seen in the company of the queen. Was that a set-up because of the announcement that was going to be made?

CHAMPION: Hugo, do you want to take the call on the flag and also Fergie? Do you want to try that one first?

VICKERS: Yes. As far as I know, the flag was flown. It was a Sunday, so, of course, flags are not sort of as widely seen. And I must admit, although I looked, I didn't actually go anywhere near a place where a flag was being flown. But flags have been flown at half-mast in most of Britain since the 7th of July, but on an occasion like that, they would probably be taken to full mast. So as far as I know, it was flown at full mast.

And as far as the duchess of York is concerned and it being a set-up for a picture with the queen, no, read no significance into that whatsoever. Such a photograph appeared, it's just because they happened to be together. Nothing to read into that one at all.

CHAMPION: All right, Hugo. Now, Simon Perry, it was unusual to see the duchess of York there with the entire family, I thought. I hadn't seen her in a royal situation before there with the family, but she has maintained a good relationship with the family, has she not?

PERRY: Yes, especially -- especially the queen and her ex- husband, duke of York, Prince Andrew, of course, who they have a very convivial, friendly relationship still, and I believe she still has an office in his home, Sunny Hill over in Berkshire. So -- and they obviously have to talk a lot about their two girls, Beatrice and Eugenie, who are growing up now. So, you know, there's a lot of -- there's still a lot of toing-and-froing between Fergie and the family.

CHAMPION: Tim Vincent, we cover a lot of Sarah Ferguson, duchess of York, here in the U.S. She's here. I think she lives here, am I right with that?

VINCENT: No, I think she comes over and works incredibly hard for Weight Watchers when she is over here, but she still has a base -- she has the children and obviously the schooling back in Britain. So I think she flips between the two.

CHAMPION: Now, what about the headlines on her? It seems like she's been relatively quiet with her personal life. Do we know anything, not know anything?

VINCENT: Well, having based in New York for the last six months, I'm not exactly sure, but I think she has started to toe the line a little bit more in the official royal stance of not being seen out and about. I think about a month ago, there was a photograph of her coming out of a nightclub quite late, probably worse for the wear. But apart from that, that's the only bad publicity I've seen of Fergie recently, and I think that's why she's been accepted, I may be wrong, into the royal family, and you see her at certain occasions, because she's quieter on the public front of the tabloid side.

CHAMPION: Patrick Jephson, the day was that she was quite a good friend of Diana's, I believe, and they were seen together, and they were the duo. They were the ones that made the papers, and in kind of in a loving way. How is Sarah treated now in the papers?

JEPHSON: Well, I think as Tim said, you don't see much of her in the papers. It seems to me that she's made a good job of reinventing her own life. I think that the experience of being a royal wife for her was not an altogether pleasant one, and I think it's to her credit that she has managed to carve out a new existence for herself, not least one that I think makes Sarah a good role model in her daughter's eyes. You can be royal, but you can also be normal, and you can actually cut it as an independent operator, if you have to.

CHAMPION: And Dickie, I've got to ask you this, because while we're here, before we move on -- and it's a quick one, I'm sorry, it's just, you know, about 15 seconds long -- give me a quick Princess Ann and Andrew and other royals that we just don't hear about. Is everything OK?

ARBITER: Everything is fine. The duke of York goes about his business, acting on behalf of the British export business, British export industry. Prince Edward is out and about. He travels a lot on behalf of the duke of Edinburgh's award fund scheme, and princess royal does her engagements.

They get on with the job. In fact, the duke of York was out and about after 7/7, the bombing over a week ago. So they are out and about. We just don't hear enough about them.

CHAMPION: Well, we'll take more of your phone calls. And then we've got an interesting situation coming where Charles and Camilla are headed on their way to the U.S. apparently by this fall, so we've got to talk a bit about that. That's up when we come back right after the break.


CHAMPION: North Merrick, New York, hello, what have you got for us?

CALLER: Yes, hi, Sam. I was wondering if the princes have any contacts with Princess Diana's friends, such as Elton John, Bono or Heather Mills McCartney and the causes that they support?

CHAMPION: All right. Dickie, do you want to try that, the friends and the causes, what have we got?

ARBITER: Not a lot is the answer to that one. Yeah, there's an element of contact in terms of AIDS. Harry last year went to Lesotho, where he worked in an orphanage where 90 percent of the kids there are HIV-positive, and some of them probably died since he was there, and others will die before they're adults.

Yeah, they are sort of taking up the mantle that their mother left behind. But contact with friends, no. And people like Heather Mills McCartney weren't friends. Diana collected people, like most people collect stamps. She collected lots of acquaintances. The number of friends she had -- and Patrick will probably bear this out -- you can probably count on one hand.

CHAMPION: All right. Let's see. Waterbury, Connecticut, we've got a phone call and a question from you. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, I was just wondering if Prince William and Harry had any relationship at all with the Earl Charles Spencer.

CHAMPION: Well, I'll tell you, your question -- Simon Perry, it's exactly what we thought. When the questions comes up about the royals, it's the young princes. So, you want to field this one?

PERRY: Yes. Happy to take it. They have a very private relationship with him in terms of: It's all very quiet and behind closed doors. I can't remember their last time -- well, it was this time last year actually, when they opened the garden in memory of princess of Wales, that we last saw them with their uncle.

But I understand periodically -- it's, you know, many months between these occasions, but periodically they see him. They have been to the grave where she's buried, of course, up at Charles Spencer's house in Northamptonshire.

So, they do have that relationship, but he keeps it pretty private and they don't say a word about it. So, very little comes out about it really. It's a very intimate, behind-closed-doors type of relationship.

CHAMPION: Well -- and since we're talking about the family relationship...

PERRY: As it should be.

CHAMPION: Yes. Well, I guess. Not in all families, though, and not always with this family, either. But Hugo, let's talk a little bit about how everyone gets along. Now that Camilla's involved in the mix, how, really, do all the family members kind of get along? Is it one big happy family or is there a little bit of dissension here and there?

VICKERS: Well, I don't know if there's much dissension and I don't know if it's one big happy family. I think that the fact is that Camilla is in the middle of it all. She is accepted.

She has a very powerful power base as the wife of the prince of Wales. She -- anything that she does stems from him, and therefore, since the prince of Wales is very keen that she should be accepted by everybody, I think other members of the family -- let's say the so- called minor royals, it would be at their peril that they would step in the way of that or say anything that's going to upset her.

So, I think she's -- she's in a fairly safe position. We see quite a lot of them all together on the balcony, for example, after the ceremonial Horse Guards Parade. There she is, trooping the color and the Guards (ph) ceremony and so forth.

Beyond that, I'm not so sure how much intimacy there is between -- you know, how much she has integrated -- she's very much with the prince of Wales, frankly.

CHAMPION: And is there -- there is an expected royal visit expected in the fall. So, we still have to talk about that. And a book that makes some very shocking claims about Princess Diana, again. So, we'll talk about that right after this break.


CHAMPION: And we're back with more from our knowledgeable panel of experts on the British royal family. We'll begin though, with an official visit that comes this fall. Tim Vincent, this is the first time, except for the Ronald Reagan funeral, that Prince Charles has actually done a U.S. visit since, I think, Diana's death. What's likely to be the difference in the acceptance and the interest in him now?

VINCENT: I think there'll be a keen interest when he comes over, especially if Camilla is with him, but whatever happens, it will be a muted interest. If you compare the royal wedding, which we covered for "Access" just a couple months ago, on the streets of Windsor there were 15,000 people there.

If you go back to 1981 when he got married for the first time to Diana, there was over a million people on the streets. That's not including viewers. So, times have changed and so have the royals. It's going to be a less of an occasion, this time around.

CHAMPION: You make an interesting point, because everything was said that it was a muted ceremony, the second wedding. But it's not about the people who are invited. It's the people who crowded the street. It seemed like all of London was there. VINCENT: Absolutely. And because, you know, it was a fairy tale romance. This time around, they are older and people have seen -- even though Camilla has only been married to Charles for a couple months, they've been aware of her for the last 30 years; certainly publicly in the last 20 or so years.

CHAMPION: Simon Perry, you're with "People" magazine. How will this event be covered when he visits the U.S. with Camilla? What do you think?

PERRY: It will be intriguing to see how well, particularly, Camilla goes down with the American public. Obviously, in a land that is so synonymous or so associated with Diana's great successes, it will be interesting to see how well she copes in dipping her toe into America.

But I think the American people will welcome them. They'll be intrigued. They'll be curious, as Patrick said earlier, about why a lot of people turn out for things and you know, we'll see, obviously, should the trip be confirmed. It's not confirmed yet, but we're expecting it will be.

CHAMPION: All right, sir.

PERRY: I'm sure we'll be watching it very -- with great interest.

CHAMPION: OK. Hugo, just a quick one: This book by Simone Simmons, the one that talks about JFK, Jr. and Diana, any truth to any of this?

VICKERS: Well, I suppose there must be one or two words of truth in it, but personally, if I was on a board ship, I'd throw it over the side. A quick answer from me.

CHAMPION: Yes. I noticed that. Dickie, do you want to take a little bit of that?

ARBITER: Yes. I read the book and I'm probably going to do exactly the same when I go on a cruise. It's not a Diana I recognized. It was written with Ingrid Seward, who writes a lot of royal books and a lot of it is -- can be seen in a book that she wrote several years ago called "Diana: Portrait of A Princess."

I don't recognize much -- any of it and it'd be interesting to hear what Patrick has to say, because Simone Simmons was around when Patrick was there. So, he was on watch there. What do you think, Patrick?

CHAMPION: And Patrick, in our last few seconds, what do you think?

JEPHSON: I go with the others on this. The one particular example that I knew from my experience was the JFK, junior story. There is no truth in the allegation that Simone Simmons makes. I think it is disgraceful that she made it. I set up the meeting. I was present throughout it and that she should make up a story like that from such an innocent event is -- I think it's disgraceful.

CHAMPION: Well, we've certainly got the final word on that one. Our panel of royal experts -- you know I love a night because -- like this, where it leaves you wanting to ask more questions. I want to keep you all for another hour, but we cannot.

Hugo Vickers, Tim Vincent, Dickie Arbiter, Patrick Jephson, Simon Perry, we thank you for joining us and Larry, thank you for letting fill in on this night. Larry King is certainly back tonight and Aaron Brown is up next with "NEWSNIGHT."


ELIZABETH II, QUEEN OF ENGLAND: I want to express my admiration for the people of our capital city, who in the aftermath of yesterday's bombings are calming determined to resume their normal lives. That is the answer to this outrage.



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