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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Charles, Camilla Come to the U.S.

Aired November 4, 2005 - 21:00   ET

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


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Prince Charles and Camilla in America on their historic first royal visit since their marriage but can the love of his life escape the shadow of his first wife, Princess Diana?
We'll ask Joan Rivers, a friend of their royal highness. She attended their wedding; and, Joan Collins, the legendary actress and best-selling author, who was at Tuesday's reception for Charles and Camilla at the New York Museum of Modern Art.

Plus, Patrick Jephson, Princess Diana's former private secretary; Dickie Arbiter, the former press secretary for Her Majesty the Queen and for Prince Charles and Princess Diana; Hugo Vickers, the best- selling royals biographer; and Bob Colacello, he wrote a revealing "Vanity Fair" story on Charles and Camilla, full of unprecedented quotes from their friends, especially her friends, all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We'll start with Joan Rivers, the comic TV personality, a close friend of Prince Charles. She's in Birmingham, England. Earlier this year she attended their wedding of Charles and Camilla. Joan, "USA Today" major story this week said 81 percent of America has no interest in this story at all. Does that surprise you?

JOAN RIVERS, FRIEND OF PRINCE CHARLES AND CAMILLA: Oh, I think it surprises me tremendously because everybody over here is so happy about it and talking about it constantly and it's such a love story. How could 81 percent not be interested? We're so worried about, you know, Tom and whatever her stupid name is.

KING: Joan Collins did that story surprise you that Americans appear not interested?

JOAN COLLINS, ATTENDED TUESDAY'S NYC RECEPTION FOR PRINCE CHARLES AND CAMILLA: Well, not so much not interested. I think that some of the media has been really quite rude I think. One of the newspapers that referred to Camilla's dress sense as frump tower I think was quite appalling.

And there is a department store in New York, not Bloomingdale's or Saks that has a very insulting (INAUDIBLE) of the royal -- of Prince Charles, Camilla and the two sons and one of the sons Harry -- William is sitting on the loo, holding a loo roll and Prince Charles is in the bath.

It's very, very unflattering and I think it's quite sad that people are attacking them when they are coming over here basically on a goodwill tour. And, I think if we did this to President Bush, I think that Americans would get quite cross.

KING: The question though, Patrick Jefferson, the former private secretary, is are you surprised that the polls said 81 percent of Americans had no interest? I'm not talking about what the media is doing, Americans, what do you think Patrick?

PATRICK JEPHSON, PRINCESS DIANA'S FORMER PRIVATE SECRETARY: I think, Larry, you can get polls to say anything. I think probably the significance of this particular poll is that it's one end of a gradient.

If they take another poll next Wednesday after the visit is over, chances are it will show that a great many more Americans are interested and that's the sort of result that the prince's press handlers will want to see.

KING: Dickie Arbiter, in London what are they saying about this trip to Americas?

DICKIE ARBITER, FORMER PRESS SPOKESMAN FOR THE QUEEN, PRINCE CHARLES AND PRINCESS DIANA: Well, here in the U.K. they're being pretty complimentary about it. There's a lot of television coverage. It's not the top story. It's dropped down because there are political stories happening here but it is making the newspapers. It's making inside the newspapers and it's covering a lot of space. She's getting a lot of coverage, particularly photographs.

Interesting about that "USA Today" poll, I think what we've got to consider is the United States is a very large country and the interest in the royal tour will be in the cities where the royal couple are going to rather than in the rest of the country.

So, New York, Washington, New Orleans and San Francisco, yes, they'll be interested there because there will be massive media coverage. But in the rest of the country they're so far removed from it all they'll just see what they've seen on television and move on to the next thing.

KING: Hugo Vickers, was New Orleans selected because of Katrina?

Oh, yes absolutely. It is traditional that the Prince of Wales will visit areas of national disaster and so forth to give comfort to people and to do his bit and so that will have been worked into the trip especially for that.

I think that, you know, going back to that other point, people may be disinterested. I mean they are kind of an old couple but I think in the end of the day they'll win over by curiosity because I think people will be curious to see how he's getting along and how she's -- whether she's making him happy and what she looks like and that kind of thing.

KING: And, Bob Colacello, the special correspondent for "Vanity Fair" who has a profile in the December edition just out titled "Charles and Camilla Together at Last." It includes unprecedented comments from the Duchess' friends. He also attended the museum reception for the royal couple in New York. What was that like, Bob?

BOB COLACELLO, "VANITY FAIR": Well, it was quite amusing actually to see all these sophisticated kind of blase New Yorkers normally suddenly when the prince and duchess appeared in the museum, everyone was jostling for position trying to get close to them and talk to them. Yoko Ono nearly knocked over Paula Zahn and Claudia Cowan in her attempt to stand as close to Prince Charles as possible and chat him up.

I think there's actually quite a lot of interest in this visit. I just know from the reaction to my story that people are very curious about Camilla. You know they want to know more about her. And I think, as Mr. Jephson said, once the tour is over and with all the media coverage you'll see those poll numbers go up quite a bit.

KING: Joan Rivers, you love to put down so many things. We're always interested why you like Prince Charles and Camilla so much. One would have thought that you would have been a critic of royalty.

RIVERS: The minute you meet them and that's why I think this tour is so wonderful because he is so warm and so charming and so smart and funny and she is absolutely everything you would want an English woman to be. She's warm. She's terrific. She's interested. She's not about glamour and about the latest crazes and the latest clothing and I adore them and I've adored them for years.

And what I find humorous is people that I would sit at dinner tables and have screaming arguments with are suddenly -- were at the museum going "Can you introduce me?" And they're just a wonderful couple. I think it's a terrific tour and people are going to adore her by the end of this.

KING: Joan, you grew up with this. Why do we like royalty?

COLLINS: Which Joan?

KING: Joan Collins.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: This is for Joan Collins. I should say the last name.

(CROSSTALK)

COLLINS: Yes, Larry, I remember when I was a kid the marriage of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip was the most fabulous event in everybody's lives. It was I think in 1948 or something like that and I cut out pictures from the newspapers. I kept a scrapbook. It was so intensely glamorous.

The queen was absolutely beautiful. Prince Philip was incredibly handsome and everybody in the whole country was in love with them. And I think that that was the beginning of a fascination with royalty that I think spread probably -- well English royalty probably spread to America.

And, the coronation in 1952 was extraordinary because they had the gold coach. They had the horses. They had the guards. They had processions. It was just like a Hollywood movie and it was something that people in England have not seen for a long time and I don't think that anybody had had that kind of panoply of grandeur.

And I think that is when it all started and since then, of course, Prince Charles was born a few -- one year or two years later and then Princess Anne and then the others and I think that's when the fascination started. And, of course, Princess Diana was so young, so beautiful, so glamorous that she really captured the imagination of everyone.

KING: We'll take a break and we'll be back with more. We'll be including your phone calls. We're discussing the historic trip of Prince Charles and Camilla to the United States. They'll be in San Francisco on Saturday.

We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS PRINCE CHARLES, THE PRINCE OF WALES: I am only too conscious of the enormous challenges and responsibilities which face the 43rd president of the United States and I need hardly say that so many people throughout the world look to the United States of America for a lead on the most crucial issues that face our planet and indeed the lives of our grandchildren. Truly, the burdens of the world rest on your shoulders.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Laura and I are honored to have you and Her Royal Highness as guests this evening and I'd now like to offer a toast the enduring friendship between the United Kingdom and the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Patrick Jephson, why do you think so many in the American media are being critical of Camilla's style?

JEPHSON: I don't think it's anything to be too concerned about, Larry. I suppose I've organized four or five royal visits to America with Princess Diana and there was always some criticism. There was always a lot of -- a lot of adulation too.

I think when you come to America you've got to expect to play by American rules and America has a very robust sense of humor in its -- in its treatment of what other people think are solemn subjects. I don't think anybody should get too upset about it. KING: Dickie Arbiter is there anything political in this trip?

ARBITER: No, there's nothing political because constitutionally the prince is not allowed to be political. What this visit is all about it's a diplomatic mission that the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are undertaking on behalf of the British government.

We've seen over the past few years Britain standing shoulder-to- shoulder with the United States and despite all the criticism that's come out over the Iraq war and Afghanistan and environmental issues, the government want to ensure that the American government know that we are still standing shoulder-to-shoulder and that's why we have this royal visit and that's what it's all about. It's a diplomatic mission.

KING: You share that view, Hugo, or do you think there's anything political at all?

VICKERS: Well, I think that what Dickie says is quite right. I mean the Prince of Wales has to be above politics. He isn't always above politics and, in fact, in that little clip that you saw he was beginning to warm up into one of his talks on global warming by the sound of it and, you know, some of his views are probably not shared by President Bush.

But, of course, the whole point of the royal family coming over is to at a diplomatic level to cement, you know, the more important political alliance between the United States and Britain, which goes back for many, many years. I mean, of course, one thinks of the Second World War and how important all that was, so it is, of course, very important that the Prince of Wales is a welcome figure in the United States.

And, of course, he for sometime hasn't felt able to come over and now he feels comfortable to do so and so that is why it's such an important trip how he is received and indeed how his wife is received with him.

KING: In addition to the Bob Colacello article in the current "Vanity Fair" on Charles and Camilla that new issue has a feature on Diana's last photo shoot with Maria Testino. A new book and an exhibition, "Diana, Princess of Wales" by Mario Testino at Kensington Palace launches in London later this month and these are brilliant pictures by Testino, a great photographer of Prince Di. Does she cast a spell over this visit, Bob?

COLACELLO: You know, I don't really think so. I think that's kind of a passe way of looking at things. Diana was Diana. She was almost like a fashion icon, a model.

Camilla is a whole other story and it's really I think the story of a second marriage, a middle-aged couple who never had the timing right from the beginning and now finally the timing is on their side. I think a lot of people can identify with that. I think it's going to be a very effective second marriage for both of them. I recently published a biography of Ronald and Nancy Reagan and I don't think it's going so far to say that Camilla might be -- might turn into Prince Charles' Nancy Reagan and that she'll be very supportive and actually even change people's perception of him, make people understand him more.

KING: What most surprised you that you learned about Camilla from her friends?

COLACELLO: What most surprised me was people said, you know, she's really -- what's extraordinary about her is she's so ordinary. Having been brought up in an upper class English family that had quite a bit of money she's really very down to earth.

She was -- there were no nannies in her family. Her mother and father were really very warm people. The father was a war hero. The mother loved her children (INAUDIBLE) in that order. She's got this great sense of humor that sees her through anything. It's her kind of just normalcy that is almost surprising, given where she comes from and the situation she's in.

KING: By the way, those photos by Testino are part of an article called "That Day with Diana," also in the December edition of "Vanity Fair." The new book and the exhibit, "Diana, Princess of Wales," by Mario Testino at Kensington Palace launches later this month, as we said, in London.

Joan Rivers, what can you -- what would you say about Prince Charles that we don't know?

RIVERS: I've never seen him happier and I'm not an intimate friend by any means but there is such a relaxed way that he has now. I went to a private dinner three weeks ago at (INAUDIBLE) and he stood up to greet all of us and twice he said "my wife and I" and he would look over at her and they would talk a little more and go, "and my wife and I feel this." It's just so wonderful to see a man so happy, totally relaxed, totally happy. It's a good moment in his life and it's wonderful to see it.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more. We'll go to your calls at the bottom of the hour on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Ted Koppel on Monday night and we'll repeat the interview with attorney Robert Shapiro on Sunday night.

Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Joan Collins, in a sense this is like the culmination of a great love story, right, these two people in love early, set apart, get back together? It's like a prince and a princess.

COLLINS: Well, I suppose it is and I think that they're already making a miniseries or a movie of the week about it. It has all the elements. I mean first of all Camilla was the wicked woman, the wicked witch. She was so maligned in England and I don't know whether she was so much here.

And, Princess Diana was the most beloved of all the royals and it was extremely tragic when she died. But we weren't really made aware at that time of how much Prince Charles really had been carrying a torch for Camilla, which obviously he had been.

I mean a great deal of the media attention was on the fact that Princess Diana has taken lovers here and there but I suppose Prince Charles had the same, the same mistress. What was it that he said, "If a man doesn't have a -- once a man marries he's left a job vacancy for a mistress."

So, he does refer to Camilla as "my darling wife," which I think is extremely charming and very, obviously very smitten obviously but they're newlyweds I think at six months, so I hope they'll be -- I do hope they'll be very happy and I think that they have also -- I think the two boys have accepted them and certainly Tom Parker Bowles, who is her son and Laura, they've also accepted the whole menage.

KING: Patrick, no one I guess knew Princess Di as well as you. You wrote a book about her. You traveled with her. You wrote "Portraits of a Princess." I don't think she was very fond of Camilla. Did Camilla get bum rapped?

JEPHSON: Well, certainly it made life very difficult for Princess Diana and this is where I guess I have to strike a rather jarring note because although one can be happy for Prince Charles and Camilla, it's difficult certainly for me to forget that this is a long running love story and that there was a victim involved and that Princess Diana was -- particularly now we can see in retrospect given a very, very hard path to follow.

And not surprisingly being the spirited person she was, she didn't take this quietly and I think that always for me when I see the happiness of Charles and Camilla it is qualified for me quite strongly by the knowledge that it needn't have been like this.

If Prince Charles had chosen Camilla right at the outset then the story would have been one of unqualified happiness. As it is, the whole Diana episode is one which I can understand they would want to forget but which I think a lot of the rest of the world and certainly I would like to see remembered and honored as being actually an extremely positive part of the royal family's history. It would be a real shame if in our pleasure for Charles and Camilla we would forget that.

KING: Because in truth, Dickie Arbiter, can we not say that Prince Charles married a woman he did not love when he married Diana? Dickie Arbiter wouldn't you agree?

ARBITER: Charles has always loved -- no, Charles has always loved Camilla. He's never stopped loving her and he's never stopped seeing her and the marriage to Diana, he loved Diana in his own way. I can't ever recollect him in public referring to her as "my darling wife" as he did to Camilla the other day but he's always loved Camilla.

He's always carried a torch for her. And, I agree with Patrick, yes, okay let's be happy for them but they've now both found each other. He's a lot calmer than he used to be but you've got to remember that what you are seeing is the person on stage. Both Patrick and I have seen that person off stage and he's a very different person. So, yes, let's be happy for them but let us not airbrush Diana out of history.

And I take Bob Colacello to task here because in his article he refers to Diana at the Taj Mahal and criticized her for being there rather than accompanying her husband to an international business meeting. Now, Diana was there because both the prince's private secretary and me said she had to go there with the prince's approval an at the request of the Indian government.

So, you know, let's not be one sided about this. Let's be perfectly fair and let us not airbrush Diana out of history. Her sons are there. We will always remember her but let these two have happiness but let us remember Diana as well.

KING: I'll have Hugo comment. But, Bob, do you want to respond to that?

COLACELLO: Well, I don't think Camilla's friends or Prince Charles or anyone wants to airbrush Diana out of history. In fact, her friends were very reluctant to criticize Diana at all and Diana in many ways had a positive effect on the royal family. She modernized it, brought it into the media age in a sense.

But, their marriage was a difficult one. As someone said it was an arranged marriage that everyone knew was an arranged marriage except Diana. I didn't really try to take sides in this piece and I wasn't quite aware of the situation at the Taj Mahal.

But certainly Diana knew how to play to the media, knew how to, you know, she was in competition with her husband. Once she realized this marriage wasn't working she really went into competition with the prince I think. And, Camilla everyone has told me is really not interested in that. She's a wife. She doesn't want to be a star. She wants to be a good wife I believe.

KING: Joan Rivers, you want to say something?

RIVERS: Well, I just want to say we've all had people that have had first marriages and second marriages and the first marriage with Diana had its problems, had its struggles. Let's move on, enough comparing Diana with Camilla and let's not forget Diana and Camilla. We wish them happiness but there's still Diana. This is like a (INAUDIBLE) stupid story.

What happened happened. It's over. It's done with. She is the mother of his two children. He honors that. The boys honor that. But now he's with Camilla and let's move forward and she's wonderful and it's a 35-year romance. The most a man ever hung around for me was three weeks and he was in a coma. So, let's just be happy for them and stop comparing Diana.

KING: All right, well said, well said. All right, well said. So, I will fairly ask Hugo, before we break, and then go to calls, Hugo why didn't he marry Camilla in the first place?

VICKERS: Well, I mean the trouble with the Prince of Wales is, is that they're always rather spoiled and they dithered around and, of course, then Andrew Parker Bowles stepped in and married her instead. Arguably, he was sort of sulking about that in a sense until the 9th of April this year.

I'm sorry, I too take the line with Patrick and Dickie. I think we should remember Diana and Diana helped the Prince of Wales fulfill one of his prime duties which was to secure the (INAUDIBLE) succession with two splendid boys.

The fact is that her marriage could have worked if Camilla had not been around. That's the truth of the matter. She was around before the marriage, during the marriage and after the marriage, so however happy they are now we must remember that there's a lot of trouble been caused in the past and that's why I find it a little bit difficult to share this general rejoicing.

KING: And, on that note, we'll take a break. There's storm in the castle. And when we come back we'll include your phone calls on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE (INAUDIBLE), what? Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HIS HIGHNESS PRINCE CHARLES, PRINCE OF WALES: Our two nations have much in common. We share so much history and tradition, language and culture and a commitment to democracy and liberty. These enrich the spirit and are founded on those greatest of all gifts friendship and loyalty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charles, have you resolved to be faithful for your wife, forsaking all others so long as you both shall live?

PRINCE CHARLES: That is my resolve with the help of God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: My guests are, in Birmingham, England, Joan Rivers, comic, TV personality, author, businesswoman, friend of Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, the duchess of Cornwall. And she attended that wedding you just saw.

In New York, Joan Collins, the award-winning actress, best- selling author, honored with an OBE, the Order of the British Empire, by Queen Elizabeth and the British government, for her contribution to the arts and ongoing charity work. She attended this week's reception for Charles and Camilla at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

In New Orleans is Patrick Jephson, the former private secretary to Princess Diana, best-selling author. His most recent work, "Portraits of a Princess: Travels With Diana."

In London, Dickie Arbiter, the former spokesman for Buckingham Palace. Served as press spokesperson for her majesty the queen, and for the prince and princess of Wales. Frequently lectures in the United States about the British monarchy.

Hugo Vickers is in London, the best-selling and veteran royal watcher. His latest biography, "Elizabeth the Queen Mother," was recently published in Great Britain. He served as one of the chapel stewards at the prayer service that followed Charles and Camilla's civil wedding.

And Bob Colacello, the special correspondent for "Vanity Fair." He is in New York. He has got a terrific profile in the December edition, titled "Charles and Camilla Together at Last." It includes unprecedented comments from the duchess' friends. He also attended the museum reception for the royal couple.

Before we go to calls, Joan Collins, we'll get you in on the discussion that ended the last half hour. Should we stop talking about Diana?

COLLINS: You will never, ever, the world will never stop talking about Princess Diana. She is a complete icon and a legend. She is Marilyn Monroe, she is Elvis Presley, James Dean, JFK. She is all of the great charismatic figures that have ever gone through history.

She's only been dead eight years. I think in 50 years, 100 years, there will be a legend that has grown up around her. Because she is Marie Antoinette. And as much as one is happy for Prince Charles and Camilla, I think that there is -- they are not going to be as remembered as is this iconic young woman who died at the height of her beauty.

KING: Let's go to calls. Las Vegas, Nevada, hello.

CALLER: Hi. I just want to make a comment that I had the opportunity to meet Diana a few years ago with my husband and some friends, and she just took our breath away. And I think the most exciting thing is, we are watching history in the making. A hundred years from now, 50 years from now, all of these characters are going to be in the history books.

I do have a comment or a question to ask all of our guests tonight. We all assume that Prince Charles will be king some day when he's an old man. Do you think in time, Camilla will wear that queen title, or do you think her place in history is set?

KING: Dickie Arbiter?

ARBITER: Yes, she will be queen, whether the detractors like it or not. Clarence House came out with a clap trap in February when they got engaged, saying that when he does become king, that she will be known as the princess consort. Well, there is no precedent for that. Convention has it that when the wife of the king gets -- when the king comes to the throne, his wife then becomes queen.

Fortunately, the present queen is not going anywhere. She is robust, she is healthy, she is going to be 80 next year. And if she lives as long as her mother does, then the prince of Wales, by the time he comes to the throne, will be 80. So by that time, yes, she will be queen.

KING: Tampa, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: Dickie Arbiter, you're my hero. I love you. Thank you for supporting Diana. I would like to know, like to just say, America will always be Diana country, and how did the British press get the flavor for this tour so wrong? They thought that America would prostrate themselves at the feet of the royal family. I went to three outside events in Washington, D.C. this week, and there was zero press coverage except for the White House. One camera, maybe, at each event.

KING: Are you sure? Is that true?

CALLER: I was there.

KING: I don't know, I wasn't there. You were there. Is that true, Bob Colacello? Do you know?

COLACELLO: I wasn't in Washington, but in New York there must have been at least 20 TV crews and about 150 photographers. Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, I mean, every major television personality -- Tom Brokaw -- were at the party. The interest seemed pretty high to me.

I think there's an ongoing interest not only the British royal family, but royalty in general. Royalty is part of our history. I mean, Hollywood makes movies about Roman emperors. You know, it's not just gossip. It is history, and we are, as someone said, watching history in the making.

KING: I thought there was a lot of coverage -- lots of coverage in Washington, not just...

COLACELLO: I think the dinner at the White House -- don't forget, this is the first major dinner that's been held at the White House in years. There has only been four state dinners before this during the Bush administration, which is very, very rare and unusual. So I think there's a lot of excitement in Washington just over the fact that the White House is having a party.

KING: We'll take a break. By the way, every time we show that picture of Colin Powell and Princess Di, I was there, at that same dinner that night. It was for cancer, big dinner in Washington. Colin Powell danced with Princess Di that night. I'll never forget that night. And she said to me, "You're Lawrence of the telly." A little anecdote.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back. Bradenton, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I was -- earlier in the show, there was a scene in front of the White House with the four of them, and there was a flag in the background that was white with a green maple leaf and a green circle around it. I just wondered what it was.

KING: OK. Let's ask first our British experts. Do you know what that flag was, Dickie Arbiter?

ARBITER: Haven't got a clue. Haven't got a clue. Can't help you, sorry.

KING: Hugo Vickers, do you know?

VICKERS: No, I'm afraid I don't. And I'm quite good on flags normally, but of course I can't see it, either, which doesn't absolutely help.

KING: Patrick Jephson, do you know?

JEPHSON: Search me, Larry. I'm sorry.

KING: Joan Rivers, the white flag with the green object?

RIVERS: Camilla is chairman of the osteoporosis -- I'll get the plug in for her -- is chairman for osteoporosis in the United Kingdom. So maybe it has something to do with that.

KING: Might have something to do with osteoporosis. True. Joan Collins, do you know?

COLLINS: Maybe somebody was holding up the table cloth. I don't know. Have no idea.

KING: And finally, Bob Colacello, do you know?

COLACELLO: Maybe it has something to do with Canada, if it has a maple leaf. It's part of the commonwealth.

KING: If it had the maple leaf, maybe.

COLACELLO: Technically...

KING: That's a good guess. Good guess. Still part of the -- technically part of the commonwealth.

Orange, California, hello. CALLER: Hi. I have a question. With Diana and her legacy indelibly being part of world history, do you believe that the reception that Prince Charles and Camilla are getting, because it is so distant and so much less fanfare than when Charles came to the United States with Princess Diana, do they feel that as they go through this tour, do they truly believe that people will begin to forget Diana and take Camilla under their wing?

KING: Joan Rivers, you believe that?

RIVERS: Oh, absolutely. Life goes on. This is like first wife, second wife. The first wife was fine and wonderful and did wonderful things. We all loved her for that. And I met her and found her beyond charming. But she is dead now. And it's over. And there's a new wife, with wonderful attributes.

KING: But they are not going to forget Diana.

RIVERS: They are not going to forget her, but I think they are going to learn to really like Camilla, who is totally different. She is a -- she is made out of different cloth. And she's going to be loved like the queen mum was loved. She's a very English, sturdy lady.

KING: Joan Collins?

COLLINS: Well, as I said before, I think that I do not think that Diana is going to go away. I mean, you can still find pictures of Diana on mugs and plates and details in England. She is an icon. They still sell magazines with her picture on the cover. And I think that whenever you see a photograph of Prince William or Prince Harry, they always refer to the mother. They always refer to Diana.

She will not go away. And this -- I disagree with Joan here, which is that it's over, it's over. Yes, when somebody is dead, I don't necessarily believe that that is over. I think that people can have a huge influence. Look at Elvis Presley. He is as big today as he was when he died 30 years ago. And Marilyn Monroe. And JFK still has that aura. So I don't think she is going to go away.

RIVERS: But why -- she is not going to go away, Joan. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that she is the old wife. This is the new wife. Leave these two people alone to make a life and go forward. For God's sakes. You know, James Dean is dead, Marilyn Monroe is dead. Arthur Miller married twice more. No one said, you can't marry again, Marilyn is dead. I mean, this is stupid. Leave the man alone. He's happy. She is happy. She's a wonderful woman. Let's embrace her instead of picking her apart.

KING: Joan, try to be a little opinionated, OK?

Boyne City, Michigan, hello.

CALLER: Yes, I think I want to ask Joan, I don't understand why in this country, when we have invited guests we can't be a little more polite. KING: Who is not polite?

CALLER: And kicking on them. And I agree with you, Joan, she ain't no queen mom.

COLLINS: Are you speaking to me?

KING: Joan Collins?

CALLER: Joan Rivers.

COLLINS: Oh, Joan Rivers.

KING: Has anyone been impolite here? Patrick Jephson?

JEPHSON: I don't think so, Larry. I don't think anybody has been kicking anybody, but I think it is nevertheless...

KING: I haven't seen anybody get kicked.

JEPHSON: I think a lot of people feel, though, that it's one thing to move on on a personal level. But you got to remember, the royal family doesn't exist by moving on. The royal family evolves. And part of its evolution -- it's a nonelected head of state after all -- is to draw on what is good in the past, and no doubt there's a great deal about Diana that was good. She leaves a lot of good memories, and there are a lot of lessons still in her experience for the future. I think Prince Charles, with his love of history, would be very ill advised to forget the lessons of the recent past. She's not a shadow over them. She could be a light to show them the way.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more right after these words.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Atascadero, California, hello.

CALLER: Hi. This is Atascadero. I have a question, but first I must says that I don't understand why they criticize the royal couple when they come to visit. I mean, I think she looks great. I'm not a fan of Camilla's, but I thought she looked great at every function that they were at, and how crude are reporters or whoever publishes stuff like this. I mean, it's just incredible that we can be so impolite to people from another country that come to visit us.

KING: What's the question?

CALLER: Well, that was my question. Who does this? Who writes this stuff? Where is it...

KING: Has there been -- well, there's been some -- some of the New York tabloids have been rather trashy, haven't they, Joan Collins?

COLLINS: Yes, I think "The Post" has been quite vicious, actually. And what I find incredibly unfair is that the comparison between a beautiful 21-year-old girl, which is what Diana was when she came to America 20 years ago, and a mature 50-something-year-old woman, it's very unfair. I think that Diana was a radiant beauty, and Camilla is a good-looking woman, but there's 35 years difference or 38 years difference between the two of them, and it's so wrong to make an odious comparison between the two of them, because obviously in the looks part, Diana is going to win hands down.

KING: Phoenix, Arizona, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Since somebody already asked my question, I have something else I'd like to ask.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: I am probably the only person in the world that doesn't know. But if Charles could make Camilla queen, why couldn't the queen make her husband king?

KING: That's a good question. Dickie Arbiter?

ARBITER: Very simply, the wife takes on the mantle of the husband, rather than the husband taking on the mantle of the wife. Sorry, I didn't -- I missed that?

KING: In other words, if a man is king, he can make his wife queen, but if the wife is queen, she can't make her husband king.

ARBITER: Exactly. Exactly.

KING: And also, Prince Charles, he walks four steps in front of Camilla, right?

ARBITER: He's actually bringing her alongside him more often than not. It's quite interesting watching them.

You know, I wonder about this criticism. Yes, there's been the odd comment in the New York tabloids, but I think generally, if you take the media coverage overall in the newspapers, on television, it has been pretty favorable. And I think it's wrong to draw comparisons between this visit -- Joan Collins is absolutely right. I mean, here we have got Camilla, is 58, and Diana was 25 when she came over here, over to the States. So it's wrong to draw comparisons. They're two completely different women.

These are a middle age couple, coming on a diplomatic mission. They are doing it extremely well, and they are going to go back to the U.K. having achieved what they've set out to do.

KING: Boston, hello.

CALLER: Hi. I would like to ask how the British populace, who are Diana's age and younger, feel about this marriage?

KING: Hugo?

VICKERS: Well, I think it's very interesting. I think that there was an enormous amount of hostility before the wedding. I mean, every aspect of it was picked over. But since the two of them got married, and people on the whole have I guess kind of shrugged, and said, OK, well, let's give them a chance, and you know, obviously if they want to be together and they want to be happy, and so forth, and it has to be said that in the course of the time, since April, Camilla has certainly not put her foot wrong and she has not been seen sort of dismissing staff, or she hasn't made any unpleasant remarks that have been quoted in the papers. And therefore, you know, full mast to her as far as that is concerned.

But I don't know how interested the very young people are of Diana's age. And you know, going back to what we said before, I mean, Diana was always going to be the great heroine, I mean, partly because she's a tragic figure and because she died so young.

But can I just make one other point as well? You know, there has been a certain amount of kind of suggestion that Camilla will take on the queen mother role. Well, I think that's -- she has got quite a long way to go before she achieves anything like that. Because the queen mother, you know, really worked incredibly hard for Britain, and during the war she was writing Mrs. Roosevelt, getting her involved in bringing her over to England to see what was going on here and things. And hers was a huge and massive achievement.

I think that Camilla's achievement, if anything, is going to make Prince Charles happy. I mean, he always says that was her great thing. I'm not sure that she is going to do a great deal more than that, frankly. I may be wrong.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with some more moments right after these words.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Take one more call before we get into some more comments. Devon, England, hello.

CALLER: Oh, hi, Larry. Love your show.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: And I'd just like to make a comment. I'm just a member of the public, I'm 59, and I couldn't agree more with Joan. I really don't want to hear about Diana. I'm watching this program to hear about Charles and Camilla. I think we shouldn't be making a comparison. I'm not interested. I mean, I agree that Diana was marvelous. But she had flaws, and there would be one or two wives that would be a little bit against what she was doing with some of their husbands. So let's not put her on a pedestal. She isn't -- she is a human being who makes lots of mistakes, just like everybody else. She did a lot of good, but this program is about Charles and Camilla's trip to America. And I'm watching this to see how they are getting on.

KING: Thank you. Well, Joan Rivers...

RIVERS: May I say something? Can I say something, Larry?

KING: Yeah, sure.

RIVERS: You know, don't dismiss that she is not going to be like the queen mother. The queen mother died at 101. She has got 40 years to do wonderful things and be a wonderful queen. So why don't we discuss it in 41 years? Because I think she is going to be amazing.

KING: OK. You wanted to add something, Joan Collins?

COLLINS: Well, the queen mother was an inspirational woman. During the blitz, she stayed in London, she went around when buildings were being destroyed. She picked up babies and children. She never left Buckingham Palace. She has -- was an absolute rock, and that was 60, 70 years ago when she was in her 40s. So from then on, she has been completely adored by everybody in Great Britain.

KING: We're running out of time.

COLLINS: OK. Well, she was.

RIVERS: Joan, give this one a chance. She has got 40 years to do it.

COLLINS: Good.

KING: OK, you made...

(CROSSTALK)

COLLINS: I'm giving her a chance, Joan.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Joan Rivers, Joan Collins, Patrick Jephson, Dickie Arbiter, Hugo Vickers and Bob Colacello for joining us. We did have a divorce show as well scheduled for tonight, featuring a new book "What Were You Thinking?" by attorney Mark Barondess. He unfortunately is ill, and we will reschedule that program.

Tomorrow night, we'll rebroadcast our interview with Ambassador Joe Wilson. Sunday night, we'll rebroadcast the interview with attorney Robert Shapiro. Ted Koppel is the guest Monday night. "NEWSNIGHT" is next, and that dynamic duo of Kyra "You don't know the real Kyra" Phillips and Rick "Oh God I have to sit next to her" Sanchez. Take it away.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: I love this woman.

KING: There they are.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: I love you too, Larry.

SANCHEZ: Thank you, Mr. King.

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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