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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Growing Up Diana
Aired August 21, 2007 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): You think you know her story, as a princess, a mother, a tireless crusader, an icon who died too young.
Tonight, meet the Diana you didn't know, a shy girl from a broken home...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn't fun growing up in this house.
O'BRIEN: ... who swore her life would be different...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said, I never intend to be divorced.
O'BRIEN: ... and saw her dream shatter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was miserable with the royal family.
O'BRIEN: Stories you have never heard...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She had misgivings the night before the wedding, big time.
O'BRIEN (on camera): What did she say?
(voice-over): ... told by those closest to her.
ANNOUNCER: Now, Soledad O'Brien. "Growing Up Diana."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Princess Diana has died.
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: She was the people's princess.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I stand before you today the representative of a family in grief and a country in mourning, before a world in shock.
O'BRIEN (on camera): The tragic and complicated death of Princess Diana is contrasted by the beauty and simplicity of its beginning.
Diana Frances Spencer was born in the English countryside on July 1, 1961. She spent her early days right here at Park House, a country home leased from the royal family's Sandringham estate. So, from the very beginning, she lived in the shadows of royalty. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Spencers are probably one of England's oldest, most established, wealthiest families.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The wedding of Viscount Althorp and Ms. Frances Roche and was attended by the American ambassador...
O'BRIEN: Unquestionably, Diana was born into a life of privilege. When her parents married in 1954, the ceremony at Westminster Abbey made headlines.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the queen and the duke of Edinburgh, it was the first...
O'BRIEN: A star -studded event attended by the royal family.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was indeed a brilliant occasion and likely to be remembered as the wedding of the year.
O'BRIEN: As with the royals, it was vital for the Spencers to carry on the family name. So, just a year after their wedding, Johnnie and Frances Spencer welcomed their first child, a girl, Sarah, two years later, another girl, Jane. And, in 1960, a third pregnancy, but hopes for a son were quickly shattered.
CAPTAIN ROBERT SPENCER, COUSIN OF PRINCESS DIANA: They suffered a stillborn son. And that is a terrible thing to happen.
O'BRIEN (on camera): Tell me a little bit about Diana as a child.
(voice-over): Robert Spencer was Johnnie Spencer's cousin. He remembers the birth of the Spencer's next child. It was a girl, Diana.
R. SPENCER: I suppose they were disappointed that it wasn't a son.
O'BRIEN: Rosalind Coward wrote the only authorized biography of Diana. She had unprecedented access to Diana's family, including a rare interview with her mother, Frances.
ROSALIND COWARD, AUTHOR, "DIANA: THE PORTRAIT": She admitted that actually the family were desperate to have a son. But she was quite prickly about whether or not that meant she didn't want Diana.
O'BRIEN (on camera): She was the third daughter, a disappointment, many people said, because they wanted a son.
COWARD: But I think the critical thing was that Diana didn't feel wanted. Whether or not that was because she wasn't wanted or whether she was, you know, not given sufficient attention, there's no doubt at all that she -- she felt not wanted.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Diana herself would later confess that she was haunted by these feelings throughout adulthood. We will have more on that later in the hour. But, at the time, those close to Diana say they saw only a happy and joyful child, especially evident when her brother, Charles, was born.
INGA CRANE, FORMER AU PAIR OF PRINCESS DIANA: There was so much happiness in the house, both from the children, as well as the parents.
O'BRIEN: Inga crane was Diana's au pair from the age of 3 until 8. She's never given an interview before.
CRANE: She's quite tomboy. It's amazing she turned out to what she was, became, you know, a beautiful young lady. It was happy and ordinary. And it certainly wasn't like the royal children. They were very free children.
(on camera): Still, life at Park House wasn't exactly normal. The queen's estate at Sandringham is just about a mile that way. And young Princes Andrew and Edward, who were just about Diana's age, used to come over often to swim in the pool. It wouldn't be until years later that Diana would meet Prince Charles.
R. SPENCER: The royal family treated the Spencer family with great love. And, as I say, many family were part of the royal household.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): But no one knew the marriage of Diana's parents was falling apart. Diana was just 6 when it began to unravel.
R. SPENCER: It was a shock to everybody. A happily married couple suddenly fell apart, and I think people did feel sorry for the children.
O'BRIEN: Divorce was rare at the time in England. Her parents' breakup would be an eerie foreshadowing of Diana's own future. The Spencers' wedding had the makings of a fairy tale. Yet, it too, was shattered by adultery. Diana's mother had an affair with a married man, a major factor in their divorce and bitter custody battle.
MARY CLARKE, FORMER NANNY OF PRINCESS DIANA: Of course, I came here to look after the children, not to end up in the queen's court in London.
O'BRIEN: Mary Clarke was Diana's nanny when she was 9 years old. She testified at one of the custody hearings.
CLARKE: I think it was the saddest moment that's imaginable, that two people who were obviously in love to begin with could end up like that.
O'BRIEN: It was very unusual for a father to get custody of the children. The reason he got custody, Clarke says, is that Diana's own maternal grandmother testified against her daughter, Diana's mother. Her testimony in court, that the children would be better off with their father, was an unbelievable turn of events.
CLARKE: She took the side of the father against her own daughter. And this had a very strong knock-on effect.
COWARD: This was not a kind of, you know, pleasant, easy resolution of things.
(on camera): Did Diana feel abandoned by her mother?
COWARD: It doesn't take much to sort of guess what a sensitive child like that, you know, someone who needed physical contract and needed warmth and affection, and found it through other means.
O'BRIEN: When we come back, a stunning statement a young Diana made about the divorce.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Spring 1969. The very public divorce of Diana's parents is final; 9-year-old Diana and her younger brother, Charles, would live with their father in the English countryside. They would visit their mother on weekends and holidays.
CLARKE: I was to have sole charge of the children.
O'BRIEN: Twenty-one-year-old Mary Clarke had no experience caring for children, yet she was hired as the Spencer nanny.
CLARKE: We would all come rushing down the stairs, and several of us would slide down the banister.
O'BRIEN (on camera): It's a good banister for that.
CLARKE: Good banister, as you can see.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Clarke was not intimidated by the stories of a mischievous Diana, who gave nannies a hard time, like the one she locked in a bathroom.
CLARKE: The riding stable's out back, but it was out there at the front that we used to ride.
O'BRIEN: Mary remembers the first time she met Diana.
CLARKE: She was very shy. But, soon, it became apparent from the word go that her parents' divorce had quite a profound effect on her. And she said: I will never, ever marry unless I'm really in love, because, if you're not in love, you're going to get divorced, and I never intend to be divorced.
O'BRIEN (on camera): She said that the first time you met? That is a very profound thing for a 9-year-old girl to say.
CLARKE: Very profound, yes.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): And very ironic, given what we now know of Diana's future.
COWARD: This was someone who was looking for love, you know?
O'BRIEN: Rosalind Coward is the only authorized Diana biographer. She interviewed Diana's siblings, parents and close friends for her book "Diana: The Portrait."
COWARD: She was one of those children who made herself into a little mother, I think. And she was someone who needed love and perhaps wasn't getting as much.
O'BRIEN: This mothering is evident in these rare pictures from Coward's book.
COWARD: There was lots of fun, and there was lots of out in the open, and mucking about, and animals. And, you know, it wasn't all sort of misery and lurking in corners and weeping.
O'BRIEN: The casual country life changed dramatically when Diana's grandfather died in April of 1975. Diana, just 13, inherited a title, Lady Diana. Her father became Earl Spencer and inherited the very formal and huge family estate known as Althorp, with 550 acres and 32 rooms.
CHARLES SPENCER, BROTHER OF PRINCESS DIANA: The main hall is called Wooten Hall, and that's got this wonderful marble floor. And I remember one of her great fads for a couple of years was tap dancing. And it was perfect for that.
O'BRIEN: Diana's brother, Charles, remembers life there at Althorp as quite an adjustment. He gave an exclusive tour of the estate to CNN in 2001.
C. SPENCER: The inside of the house, very formal. There wasn't even like a family kitchen. It wasn't fun growing up in this house. But it was -- you know, we knew we were privileged.
O'BRIEN: But privilege came as a cost. Diana struggled with the change. She switched to a new school, the West Heath school, 100 miles from home.
(on camera): This used to be Diana's bedroom. She attended West Heath at a difficult time. Her family had just moved out her childhood home. Her father had a new woman in his life. He would later suffer a stroke. And, so, Diana looked at West Heath as a refuge of sorts, a place where she could make her mark. And she did, writing, "Diana Spencer was here" in this cupboard.
PENNY WALKER, FORMER MUSIC TEACHER OF PRINCESS DIANA: She was very shy, so I didn't really notice her.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Penny walker, Diana's music teacher, remembers how Diana struggled academically. WALKER: There was an awful lot of unrest in her home life. That often affects children in their work, where they can't concentrate properly enough to actually take enough in.
O'BRIEN (on camera): Were her bad grades troubling to her?
WALKER: Oh, I think immensely troubling. And I think she tried really hard, but I think her concentration was elsewhere.
O'BRIEN: On what?
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Diana was happy, though, at school, happiest when she was in the school pool or playing piano.
WALKER: And she managed to learn the Dvorak G-minor Slavonic Dance, which goes like this. But Diana had trouble with that bit at the beginning. She played E-flat on the right hand, and then she would forget the next one, so we would get this. And I would be shouting E-flat, E-flat. And we would both just collapse in laughter.
O'BRIEN: It was here that Diana's extraordinary passion for volunteering began. Along with other West Heath students, Diana visited patients at a mental hospital. It was immediately obvious to everyone that Diana connected in a way no other student could. She bonded with people, ordinary people, disabled people.
WALKER: Once she was engaged with somebody, the interest in the person she was talking to I think must have overcome any worry or shyness of her own.
O'BRIEN (on camera): Diana was like most of the teenagers at West Heath boarding school. She liked the outdoors, she liked music, and she liked boys. In fact, it was here where everyone first started to realize 13-year-old Diana's somewhat unusual crush. While the other girls loved young pop stars, Diana's crush was on a much older Prince Charles.
WALKER: She was always known to adore Prince Charles. And her little bedroom cubicle had pictures of him all over it. It was common knowledge.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): When we come back, Diana meets her prince.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): The French Alps, winter 1979, and Diana as you have never seen her before.
JAMES COLTHURST, FRIEND OF PRINCESS DIANA: She had charisma.
O'BRIEN: Exclusive photos of a carefree, unguarded 17-year-old Diana on a ski vacation.
Here, she met lifelong friends, like James Colthurst.
COLTHURST: Full of energy, full of a sense of humor, great fun, great fun to have around, bit of a tonic in the -- in the group, too.
O'BRIEN (on camera): After traveling abroad for a while, Diana settled here, into this fashionable London flat that her mother bought for her. She lived with three roommates and socialized with a group of wealthy young people known as Sloane Rangers, sort of the British equivalent of yuppies.
COLTHURST: A kind of girl who had been privately educated and who probably had no defined future at all, but were living off dad's pocket, or mum's, maybe.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): But Diana was very different from most Sloane Rangers. Sure, she had the privileged upbringing and the private education. But she also had several jobs.
COWARD: Diana worked partly as a cleaner for Sarah and her friends.
O'BRIEN (on camera): That seemed very surprising to me.
COWARD: You know, they weren't kept women. They were expected to work.
MARY ROBERTSON, EMPLOYED PRINCESS DIANA: She showed up at our front door to interview as our nanny. And she was just a vision.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): When American Mary Robertson hired Diana as a nanny for her 9-month-old son, Patrick, she had no idea that Diana was from nobility. But soon it was obvious that Diana was a great nanny.
ROBERTSON: She was just so natural, loving, affectionate. I mean, just really connected, you know, emotionally.
O'BRIEN: Diana was growing up. She was maturing into the woman that the world would soon know.
COWARD: The males began to notice.
O'BRIEN: That she was beautiful.
COWARD: That she was very attractive.
R. SPENCER: She really had transformed from a sort of teenager into a young lady. And she did look terrific.
O'BRIEN: One man took notice, Charles, the prince of Wales. He first met Diana when she was just 16. Her boarding schoolteacher Penny Walker remembers.
WALKER: She had met him face to face, and she came back alive with it, and said: "I have met him. I have met him."
O'BRIEN: Some years later, Charles and Diana recalled that meeting.
PRINCE CHARLES, WALES: What I remember thinking, what a very jolly and amusing and attractive 16-year-old she was, and, I mean, great fun, and bouncy and full of life and everything. And I don't know what you thought of me.
LADY DIANA SPENCER: Pretty amazing.
O'BRIEN: When they met again, at a party, Diana was 18 and Charles 31. They began dating in secret.
ARTHUR EDWARDS, ROYAL PHOTOGRAPHER, "THE SUN": And this is the picture I took at the polo match.
O'BRIEN: Arthur Edwards, royal photographer for "The Sun" newspaper, spent most of the summer at polo matches.
EDWARDS: Just parked and rushed across the street as they were leaving.
O'BRIEN: His assignment, to cover Prince Charles...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Number 4, his royal highness, the prince of Wales.
O'BRIEN: ... who usually brought his girlfriends to watch him ride. It was the summer of 1980.
EDWARDS: I was told that he had brought a girl with him called Lady Diana Spencer. But nobody knew what she looked like. And I spied this young girl. I thought, I bet that's her. And she had a -- she was wearing a necklace with a D on it. I thought, that has got to be her. So, I said, are you Lady Diana Spencer? She said, yes. I said, can I take your photograph, please? And she said, yes. And she posed up.
O'BRIEN: When Edwards discovered that Diana was just 19 years old, he thought she was too young for Charles to be serious about. So, he didn't publish the photo. Some months later, when Edwards followed Prince Charles to Balmoral, the royal estate in Scotland, England's most eligible bachelor was not alone.
EDWARDS: And I see these -- Prince Charles fishing. And I see the princess rushing through the woods to hide. Then, later on, I found out it was Lady Diana Spencer. And then I put two and two together. And we came up with this, "He's in Love Again."
O'BRIEN (on camera): This London school marks the beginning of the media's relentless pursuit of Diana. She was working as an assistant kindergarten teacher when the news broke of her relationship with the prince of Wales, the Fleet Street press descended in full force. Diana didn't know what to do, so she grabbed a couple of the children and decided to pose for the cameras, hoping that would be it; they would all go away. But those pictures would actually make her even more famous.
EDWARDS: Halfway through photographing her, the sun came out. And we saw those beautiful legs. And I think she said, I think I will be known as the girlfriend who didn't wear a petticoat. So, it wasn't too good for her. But I think Prince Charles quite liked the picture.
O'BRIEN: Really? Because she was concerned that that was it, that that...
EDWARDS: Yes, she was concerned that, you know, it...
O'BRIEN: It would end their relationship.
EDWARDS: Yes, well, that. But, of course, it wouldn't. You know, Prince Charles is much -- I mean, he's not that sort of a person. For a start, he's got the most wonderful sense of humor, and he would have seen the funny side of it.
COWARD: Some people say that, actually, the fact that the press went so crazy for Diana was one of the factors that almost forced Charles' hand. He asked one of the journalists, do you think this is the one?
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Arthur Edwards was that journalist.
EDWARDS: I said, I just think that Lady Diana is a smashing, really lovely girl, sir. And he says, yes, he says. But he said, I have got to get it right first time. He said, I can't live with a girl for two years to see if everything works out OK. I have got to get it right first time, or you will be the first to criticize.
Quite prophetic words, really.
O'BRIEN: The pressure to get it right, Diana's private misery -- when we come back.
COOPER: I'm Anderson Cooper in New York. "Growing up Diana" continues in a moment, but first, here's the latest on Hurricane Dean. The storm is back over open sea now heading for mainland Mexico with 80 miles-per-hour winds. Chad Myers is in the CNN Weather Center with the latest on the storm's track -- Chad.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Anderson, it's beginning to regain strength now and that's what hurricanes do. When they're over land they die, when they're over water, they get their energy back. The energy is the warm water. That water is 87 degrees right now.
Moved over Campeche, now right in the Bay of Campeche and then very, very close to Poza Rica later on tomorrow at about 110 miles- per-hour. Now, that's the forecast at this point. What I want to show you is where the storm is -- that's the center of the storm, there -- compared to where it should be.
This line is where the storm should be on the hurricane center's path. It's about 20 miles north of where it should be right now. We'll see where it goes from now. This is 400 oil wells, the Cantrell oil field there, in trouble with 80 mile-per-hour winds spinning around. Could be moving around some of those offshore oil rigs -- Anderson.
COOPER: Chad will continue to cover it at 11:00 tonight. Chad, thanks.
Dean roared ashore on the Yucatan, earlier this morning, just north of Chetumal. It was a category 5 storm then, top of the scale with 165 mile-per-hour winds. Cancun and Mexico's other Yucatan tourist areas were spared the worst and there are no reports of casualties so far. There is great concern tonight for the remote Mayan villages that took the full force and no reports yet from the area.
The hurricane forced NASA bringing the shuttle home a day early. "Endeavour" landed safely just past noon at Kennedy Space Center in Florida after a 13-day mission.
I'm Anderson Cooper. "Growing up Diana" continues right now. We'll have all the news on the hurricane at 11:00 p.m. Eastern, tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lady Diana's London flat laid siege by photographers. Their activities put an end to an uneventful lifestyle...
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Lady Diana Spencer was the most sought after woman in London. It was the fall of 1980 and she was only 19 years old.
QUESTION: How well are you coping with all the press attention?
O'BRIEN: A relentless game of cat and mouse with the press had begun.
QUESTION: What are you going to about us?
O'BRIEN: A game Diana didn't want to lose.
LADY DIANA SPENCER: No comment.
MARY ROBERTSON, FMR BOSS OF DIANA: She was terribly concerned about handling the press the right way.
O'BRIEN: And she had good reason.
(on camera): Dear misses -- Dear Mrs. Robertson.
(voice-over): Her boss at the time, Mary Robertson, remembers.
ROBERTSON: She did mention that her sister had dated Charles earlier. And had talked to the press and had been stricken off the palace list. And she mentioned at one point that she didn't even dare pick up the phone at home for fear that her sister, Sarah, would be calling to pry.
O'BRIEN: Sarah Spencer, Diana's older sister, briefly dated Prince Charles three years earlier.
She gave an interview to myself and another chap where she talked about Prince Charles.
O'BRIEN (on camera): What did she say?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would only marry for love whether he is a prince or a dustman or something, which is a garbage man, you know. She certainly learned from her sister, don't speak to the press. Look good, smile, look down the lenses, but don't speak to them. And that was good advice.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): For five months, Diana kept silent silent. She stood her ground against the prying press.
QUESTION: Can you say anything like if there is going to be an announcement soon?
QUESTION: Lady Diana?
QUESTION: Lady Diana?
O'BRIEN: Then, February 1981, Diana's silence ended. Buckingham Palace announced the engagement and Diana gave her first interview ever.
QUESTION: Has it been a strain trying to carry out a courtship without anyone knowing?
PRINCE CHARLES: What do you say?
DIANA: Yes, it has, but I think anyone in this position would feel pressure and everything. But it's been worthwhile.
ROBERTSON: She was just thrilled. She got her dream. She had a crush on him since she was a teenager.
O'BRIEN: Some people called it a match made in heaven.
ROBERTSON (on camera): You thought at the time and I honestly believed, because they had both had such lonely childhoods, that they would be able to connect once they were in, what I thought was going to be, a positive, loving, supportive relationship.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): The kind of relationship Diana had wanted since she was nine years old, a marriage based on love. But Prince Charles might have had different feelings. The world got a glimpse with that famous phrase.
PRINCE CHARLES: And I suppose in love?
DIANA: Of course.
CHARLES: Whatever in love means. Put your own interpretation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously means two very happy people.
JAMES COLTHURST, DIANA'S FRIEND: I think she found that very tough.
O'BRIEN: Diana's friend, James Colthurst, recalls how devastating that comment was.
(on camera): It was an odd thing to say.
COLTHURST: It was a very odd thing.
O'BRIEN: I mean, it's one of those things where even if you're not sure, you say: why, yes I am.
COLTHURST: Of course. You know, a silly question stuff, you know, but it was not -- it wasn't said that way and I think that was a tough one. I think she reflected on that a great deal and maybe put it to him being old fashioned, perhaps, and all the rest, but it was a difficult comment.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Almost incomprehensible until now. Insiders say Charles did care deeply for Diana, but maybe wasn't ready to marry. He was pressured, they say, to propose by his family, particularly his grandmother who many believe was secretly plotting with her close aide, Diana's grandmother.
COLTHURST: She was very clear what was going to happen.
O'BRIEN (on camera): Really? What did she say?
COLTHURST: Yeah, even then, she was very clear that this was going to be a happening relationship.
O'BRIEN: When the engagement was announced, Diana moved out of her flat and into the royal household, cloistered behind the walls of Buckingham Palace, she was isolated from the closest friends. Palace insiders say a very lonely Diana seemed more comfortable with the palace staff than with the Royal Family, she'd often wander down to the kitchen for friendly conversation.
COLTHURST: She lost her independence.
O'BRIEN: Was she incredibly lonely?
COLTHURST: Very lonely.
O'BRIEN: Did she tell you that?
COLTHURST: Absolutely lonely.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Weeks after the engagement, Prince Charles left on the first of many trips before the wedding. Diana cried at the airport. She was isolated and lonely, feelings that were all too familiar to Diana.
ROBERTSON: She was trapped in Buckingham palace. She had gotten no help from anybody.
O'BRIEN (on camera): Eat or be eaten sort of?
O'BRIEN: From the palace's perspective.
ROBERTSON: One of her letters spoke very movingly about how she longed for the company of people her own age. No contact with her friends, no contact with the Royal Family, just stranded there.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Mary Robertson gave us an exclusive look at Diana's letters to her.
ROBERTSON: And her little wonderful signature with the "X" for a kiss and the circle for a hug.
O'BRIEN: They reveal the very private struggle Diana was having.
ROBERTSON: "Everything (INAUDIBLE). The wedding dress has to be taken in. I'm sure it has a lot to do with nervous energy and there is plenty of that."
O'BRIEN (on camera): That's a pretty clear indication of how stressful it would be.
ROBERTSON: Oh, "And any moment I have to myself I dream of being away from everyone on honeymoon!"
O'BRIEN: In other words, people at the palace are getting to her?
ROBERTSON: Yes, they are.
ANNOUNCER: A large crowd and corps of pressmen concentrated their attention on Lady Diana.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): The public got a glimpse of Diana's pain when she broke down at a polo match just days before the wedding.
ANNOUNCER: Apparently in tears, she was led away from the small stage overlooking the polo field by Lord and Lady...
COLTHURST: I think there was a sense of foreboding and a lot of people -- and those who knew her could see her getting swept along on the wave of this popular support. I mean, everybody seemed to want it to work, big time.
O'BRIEN (on camera): Why?
COLTHURST: It was that support -- because it's a dream.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): When we come back, the dream is shattered.
COLTHURST: She had misgivings the night before the wedding.
O'BRIEN (on camera): What did she say?
O'BRIEN (voice-over): July 1981, London was alive with anticipation. Songs were written, people were cheering, everybody celebrating the first royal wedding in almost a decade.
ELIZABETH EMANUEL, DESIGNER: We were all very excited. It was just such an incredible experience.
O'BRIEN (on camera): It's much smaller than I thought.
EMANUEL: That's right. This is a baby one.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Nowhere was that excitement more evident than in the studio of Elizabeth and David Emanuel.
(on camera): Gosh, you look so young. You and David look so young.
EMANUEL: Well, 26 years ago. You know?
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Young designers, hand picked by Diana to create her wedding dress.
EMANUEL: And she said: "Would you do me the honor of making my wedding dress" as if she thought that maybe I might say, well, no, actually, we're too busy or something.
O'BRIEN: The Emanuel's were a surprising choice to design such an important dress. They were virtually unknown.
ANNOUNCER: Comments on her appearance ranged from fabulous and stunning...
O'BRIEN: That is until the world saw this Emanuel creation.
ANNOUNCER: As lady Diana entered the hall for the concert there were audible admiring gasps...
EMANUEL: It was that transformation moment and people loved that, I think. Suddenly, she just looked so elegant and like a movie star. She looked wonderful.
O'BRIEN: So the world could hardly wait to see the wedding dress. EMANUEL: This was going to be the biggest secret we ever had to keep and we were determined to keep it.
O'BRIEN: Security guards stood vigil 24 hours a day.
O'BRIEN (on camera): Tim and Burt.
EMANUEL: Always, you know, very cheerful.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): The dress, locked up every night, in a specially designed vault.
EMANUEL: And this was the safe as it came up through the window.
O'BRIEN (on camera): That's very subtle.
O'BRIEN: It's giant.
INDIA HICKS, DIANA'S BRIDESMAID: Really good fun. There was an air of excitement around everything.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): India Hicks, a bridesmaid, was one of the few people allowed inside the studio. Just 14 years old at the time of the wedding, India was closer in age to Diana than to Charles.
HICKS: Diana was one of the girls, I mean, of course, she was 19, incredibly young, very timid.
O'BRIEN: And some would say desperate for friendship. This is a time when most brides to be are surrounded by their loved ones, but not Diana.
EMANUEL: You know, normally brides will bring their mom in, or sisters, friends, whatever, but Diana would come in on her own.
O'BRIEN (on camera): Did it strike you strange she didn't come with a girlfriend or sisters or her mom?
EMANUEL: We didn't think about it at the time, but looking back, you know, I think -- I think it is -- it's different, you know, it is not the norm.
ROSALIND COWARD, AUTHOR, "DIANA: THE PORTRAIT": She does seem to have been completely left alone through that period, actually, in the run-up to the wedding. She was very much moved into Clarence House and then left alone.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Isolated from friends, family, even Prince Charles, who was preoccupied with other commitments, including his ex- girlfriend Camilla Parker Bowles.
ROBERTSON: It was a tough night for her.
O'BRIEN: Mary Robertson knew something was wrong the minute she saw Diana at a private pre-wedding celebration. Turns out, just days before, Diana had discovered a bracelet Charles brought for Camilla. That and frequent phone conversations between the two crushed Diana.
ROBERTSON: After the receiving line, she just disappeared upstairs, so she knew that night that Camilla wasn't out of his life and she just couldn't face the crowds.
COLTHURST: And I think it just built up doubt in her mind and I think that's when it got difficult for her. She had misgivings the night before the wedding, big time.
O'BRIEN (on camera): What did she say?
(voice-over): Diana told her friend, James Colthurst, that she considered calling the whole thing off. She met with her sisters at the palace, they told her it was too late to back out.
COLTHURST: Tough, you know. Your face is on the tea cloths. You know? It's on the tea cloths and the mugs. Bad luck.
O'BRIEN (on camera): You're now a marketing phenomenon?
COLTHURST: Yeah. You're stuck. You can't now pull out because you're already on the merchandising, so stiff upper lip. She was going to, you know, stick with it, if that's how it was, fine. Then she'll, you know, bite the lip and hope it gets better after the wedding.
BARBARA DAILY, MAKEUP ARTIST: I don't think many people could have coped with that kind of pressure.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Makeup artist, Barbara Daily, one of the first people to see Diana the morning of the wedding. Diana showed no signs of having cold feet.
DAILY: Excited and delighted but, no. I didn't get the feeling of stress at all.
O'BRIEN (on camera): July 29th, 1981, it was a day the world had waited for. Lady Diana Spencer was to marry Charles, Prince of Wales at Saint Paul's Cathedral. Millions of people around the world watched the preparations and the pomp and the ceremony, live and amazingly one of the viewers was Diana, herself.
DAILY: We were actually looking at the television, looking at the crowds, and she was laughing and saying that it's a lot of fuss for one girl getting married.
HICKS: And at one point on the television, in between all of the broadcasts, came on a TV commercial at that time that was very popular.
And we all sat down and sang, "Just One Cornetta." And it was kind of fun, it was a kind of very surreal moment of seeing the princess of Wales about to become really from a girl to a princess and there we are singing a corny advert on the TV. O'BRIEN (voice-over): Diana sang that song all morning, even in the carriage to Saint Paul's Cathedral. Seven-hundred-fifty million people watched the wedding live on television. More than half a million people lined the wedding route. Diana seemed to be on top of the world.
EMANUEL: As she stepped out of the coach, the dress kind of exploded out. And you know, she was just like a butterfly coming out of a chrysalis.
O'BRIEN: A butterfly about to take on the monarchy.
ROBERTSON: She was miserable the Royal Family.
O'BRIEN: When we come back, Diana's royal battle.
O'BRIEN: This was Princess Diana's coming out party, October 1981.
PRINCESS DIANA: I am extremely grateful to you Lord Mayor and the city council and the city (INAUDIBLE) for granting me the freedom of the city.
O'BRIEN: Soft spoken and shy, nothing had prepared Diana for this moment.
LANA MARKS, DIANA'S CLOSE FRIEND: She was a very protected, country girl.
O'BRIEN: Lana Marks was one of Diana's closest friends. She knows, better than most, about Diana's struggle to become the princess of Wales.
MARKS: I think it was very difficult for Diana, as 19-year-old girl, being brought into that arena, not having a huge group of people advising her at all times.
O'BRIEN (on camera): It seemed that she was sort of left to her own devices, no one really told her what to do.
MARKS: She was left to her own devices at certain times and at other times people were incredibly helpful to her.
COLTHURST: It was a difficult time, because I didn't feel the whole of her support.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): One of those people was trusted childhood friend and surgeon, James Colthurst.
(on camera): The fact that she was sort of uneducated in a lot of ways, worked against her and her ability, later on, when she kind of needed it.
COLTHURST: I think it made a big difference. I think it didn't give her some mechanisms to cope with some of the situations she was in.
ANNOUNCER: Today we have two very special guests.
COLTHURST: And one day she just said: I've got to give this speech on Monday. What do you think?
O'BRIEN: And what did you think?
COLTHURST: I thought it was really boring.
COLTHURST: I said well, how would it be if you had one that was a bit more you, you know, a bit more life in it? You know, it would help the charity if it had some life in it.
O'BRIEN: And what did she think of that?
COLTHURST: She then said, well, sort -- you can write one. See if it's any better.
PRINCESS DIANA: And now, I'm asking...
O'BRIEN (voice-over): And he did. With the new speeches Colthurst wrote for Diana, she moved from the fashion page to the front page. So, for several years after the wedding, Diana and her old friend secretly collaborated.
COLTHURST: Very often they'd come and they'd arrive with sort of with fairly amorphous envelope.
O'BRIEN: Colthurst still had some of those speeches. He's never shown them to anyone before now.
O'BRIEN (on camera): Can I take a look?
COLTHURST: Yeah. You do.
O'BRIEN: "Dearest James, I wonder what your views are. Lots of love to you both, D." Really, this says, can you rewrite this speech for me?
COLTHURST: That's right. And that's what had to happen.
O'BRIEN: "It must be clear to everyone from the media world that AIDS has raised some enormous issues, moral, spiritual and emotional, which transcend the disease itself.
COLTHURST: It was fine -- I mean, there was some good stuff in it. The other thing is it's much too long and I always tried to work on three to four pages was enough.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Colthurst says it took nine hours to rewrite one of her speeches. On top of that, Diana would call up to 10 times a day.
O'BRIEN (on camera): Was it wearing for you?
COLTHURST: Yeah, very hard.
COLTHURST: It was very, because, I had a day job as it were, so I -- suddenly the pager goes off, I'd have to phone, make an excuse for why I wasn't there, couldn't tell them who was calling.
O'BRIEN: It is the princess of Wales calling to get help on a speech.
COLTHURST: Well, I couldn't do that, so I just had to say I had to answer the call. They just had to believe it was necessary.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): And the secret collaboration went well. Diana became famous for her public speaking.
PRINCESS DIANA: HIV does not make people dangerous to know, so you can shake their hands and give them a hug. Heaven knows they need it.
O'BRIEN: Diana was putting words into action. Diana's ability to connect with AIDS patients, young children, the terminally ill, all goes back to her childhood.
ROBERTSON: And the memories of her are just, you know, they're always with me.
O'BRIEN: Mary Robertson stayed in touch with Diana until the end, even visiting her at Kensington Palace.
ROBERTSON: I mean, she was miserable with the Royal Family. She was reaching out for affection whether it was from children or friends or the greater public, because she wasn't getting any of that at home.
O'BRIEN: At the height of her reign, Diana, Princess of Wales, averaged 600 public appearances a year. And at each one, the press was always there.
O'BRIEN (on camera): Some people said she was manipulative.
MARKS: She wanted to take influence with the media and affect underprivileged people, particularly really good causes.
PRINCESS DIANA: There's a challenge here for all of us, as members of society.
CHARLES SPENCER, DIANA'S BROTHER: People say to me, didn't she manipulate the media? And I think, well, it's one thing to manipulate the media, but what she did more was harness the media and make them focus on the causes she thought were important. And that's great, I've got no problem with that.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): But someone did have a problem with all the attention Diana was getting. Royal photographer, Arthur Edwards, remembers.
AUTHOR EDWARDS, ROYAL PHOTOGRAPHER: We were all obsessed by her, so much so that the rest of the Royal Family got ignored. I don't know if it was jealous or not, but they couldn't be too happy about it. I remember press secretaries begging, begging the photographers, please won't someone photograph the prince because he'd be completely on his own.
O'BRIEN: This obsession with all things Diana did focus attention and money on causes that weren't popular at the time, like landmines and, of course, Aids. In the process, Diana defined what a modern princess could be.
EDWARDS: At the end, she was completely her own boss. You know? For a girl who did very badly at school with almost no academic qualifications, she married a prince and she changed an awful lot of things.
ROBERTSON: You know, whoever would have, could have foreseen that this little 18-year-old I hired, you know, two days a week, would turn into the wonderful human being she was and the most famous woman of her generation.
O'BRIEN: A woman who began life in the shadows of royalty, became royalty and ultimately, changed the face of the monarchy. A woman still mourned 10 years after her death, whose legacy is love, caring and, yes, controversy. Whose children are living the lessons their mother had learned, growing up Diana.
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