updated 7/6/2004 2:31:19 PM ET 2004-07-06T18:31:19

Guest: Andrew Morton>


DEBORAH NORVILLE, HOST:  Princess Diana, the final chapter.  Few women in history have been photographed and written about as much as the Princess of Wales.


ANDREW MORTON, AUTHOR, “DIANA: IN PURSUIT OF LOVE”:  It would have driven any right-thinking person mad.


NORVILLE:  Now, just when you thought everything about the tragic ending had been chronicles comes new revelations by royal biographer Andrew Morton.


MORTON:  After her death, it seems to me that her life has been diminished.  Her memory is being tarnished.


NORVILLE:  But will Morton‘s latest book set the record straight about Diana or merely create new controversy about her final years?


MORTON:  Diana was a woman trying to find herself as a human being.


NORVILLE:  And what about the reported love affairs?


MORTON:  Oh, some of the things that she was doing was playground stuff.


NORVILLE:  And her innermost fears.


MORTON:  She‘s now just seen as a paranoid princess, beautiful but bonkers.


NORVILLE:  Tonight, best-selling author Andrew Morton unwraps the last chapter in the life of Princess Diana, the conspiracies, the hearsay and her secrets.


MORTON:  And the rest, as we know, is history.


ANNOUNCER:  From studio 3K in Rockefeller Center, Deborah Norville.

NORVILLE:  And good evening.  The man Princess Diana hand-picked to tell her story, biographer Andrew Morton, is back now with his fourth book about the princess.  It‘s called “Diana: In Pursuit of Love,” and it looks at the last five years of her life.  Using new sources and new materials, Morton explores some long-held secrets involving Diana‘s hopes, her fears, the men in her life and a possible conspiracy surrounding her death.  Andrew Morton joins me now here in the studio.

Good to see you.

MORTON:  Nice to see you again.

NORVILLE:  Well, you say it‘s your fourth book, but it‘s actually the first one since the book with which Princess Diana cooperated was published.

MORTON:  Yes.  It‘s been, what, 13 years since Diana asked me to be her biographer.  And we worked together for a year on that book, and an awful—and an awful lot was—was left unsaid and unspoken.  And then, obviously, last five years are the years that intrigue people, and these are the years I‘ve gone back to because I was still in touch with her during some of that time.

NORVILLE:  How were you in touch with her?  Did she call you?  I mean, during that period when she was no longer married to the Prince of Wales, I gather she had a lot more freedom to do what she wanted.

MORTON:  Yes, well, I mean, what happened is that, obviously, the first book had come out, and the world was just—was just trying to digest the end of the fairy tail, and she was keeping her head down.  And she would use an intermediary, a chap called James Colhurst, to speak to me.  And you know—and she would ring about all kinds of bizarre things.  I mean, for example, she was going for lunch one day with the head of British Airways, and it was his farewell lunch.  She said, Well, I‘ve got to make a farewell speech, and so in between sipping the coffee and eating our morning toast, we jotted down this speech for her and then read it out to her on the phone.

So that‘s the kind of thing it was.  It wasn‘t just about interviewing her about her life, it was writing speeches, giving her advice.  It was, effectively, being member of a bizarre amateurish shadow cabinet.

NORVILLE:  Yes.  And—and you said that there was material that you couldn‘t release before.  And what‘s gotten a lot of headlines in your new book are some of these letters that you say the princess showed you.  They were love letters from Camilla Parker-Bowles to the Prince of Wales during the time when the prince and princess were still married.

MORTON:  That‘s right.

NORVILLE:  Why were these still not included when the first book was published?

MORTON:  Well, when the first book was published, then the material was so kind of  explosive that even with—with Britain‘s tight laws, we just had to say that Charles and Camilla were secretly friends, not that they were having an affair.  And...

NORVILLE:  So what changed?  Are the laws different?

MORTON:  No, now that Diana has died and now that the fact that Camilla and Charles are obviously an item, it‘s worthwhile recounting this episode because this episode now is quite historic, in a way, because it was the moment that Diana realized in her heart that her marriage was over.  Before that, it had always been suspicions.  It had listening to Prince Charles at the door, hearing him on the telephone saying, Whatever happens, I‘ll always love you, obviously talking to Camilla, always be suspicious of Camilla but never knowing for certain.  Now, our...

NORVILLE:  And this was the proof.  And I want to share with our audience some of what you contain in your book.  And you say in your book, “I particularly remember one vivid passage that read, quote, ‘My heart and body both ache for you,‘ “ end quote, “and later, Camilla advised Charles to erase any thoughts of guilt about the relationship and to rise above the, quote, ‘onslaughts of that ridiculous creature,‘ “ obviously meaning the princess.

How hurtful that was to her?

MORTON:  She was devastated.  I mean, in a way, she‘d—she was the architect of her own heartbreak because she played detective.  On my behalf, she‘d got these letters that Prince Charles had in his briefcase.  And when she read them, she realized that, effectively, she was the third wheel in this marriage and that‘s Prince Charles‘s heart truly belonged to someone else and that, more than that, that Camilla‘s affection for Charles was undimmed and, in fact, more intense than probably it had ever been before.

NORVILLE:  And these letters were written in 1991?

MORTON:  They were written when Diana and I were intensively collaborating, about the August of 1991, that—this kind of febrile summer of the war of the Waleses.

NORVILLE:  And at that time, she still loved him?  Is that why she was so devastated?  Was it the fact that, The man I‘m in love with doesn‘t love me, or it was the black-and-white proof that he‘s in love with someone else that was so devastating to her?

MORTON:  I think it was—I think it was the confirmation that—that someone else truly loved her husband, who, as she said herself, she was besotted with.  But having said that, she was trying to engineer an escape from that life, that marriage, as well.  So you know, there‘s anger there.  There‘s regret.  There‘s disappointment.  It‘s not just one emotion, there‘s a whole panoply of emotions that she went through.

NORVILLE:  And part of that engineering of the escape came when she did the interview with the “Panorama” television program in Britain and talked about that—that three-person marriage.  Here‘s a revisit of that moment with Princess Diana.


MARTIN BASHIR, BBC:  Do you think Mrs. Parker-Bowles was a factor in the breakdown of your marriage?

PRINCESS DIANA:  Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.


NORVILLE:  Three people in the marriage.  And I gather from what your conversations with her were about, she realized that the third person was not Camilla, but rather herself?

MORTON:  Yes, she realized that she was—she was surplus to requirements (ph), really.  And effectively, it was a confirmation of everything that she‘d seen about her husband‘s life.  I mean, around that time, Prince Charles broke his arm very badly, and the person who nursed him back to health was Camilla.  She was the mistress of their country home in the west country, and she would—she and Prince Charles would host events there.  So effectively, Diana was ousted as Prince Charles‘s consort.

NORVILLE:  This is later in the marriage.  This is about 10 years into their marriage.  But even early on, she talked about how she knew that this was not going to be the fairy tale marriage that she perhaps hoped it would be as she walked down the aisle.  And it was through those conversations relayed by James Coldhurst that these questions—you would, what, write the question down, and James would deliver it to her?

MORTON:  Yes.  I mean, what happened is that Diana said to me through James, Do you want an interview?  And of course, yes.



MORTON:  Here‘s the world‘s most photographed woman, has never spoken before.  And of course, yes.  And I sent him some questions.  But those questions essentially were superfluous.  She wanted just to tell her story.  And the first tape that I made is extraordinary because she speaks in a kind of a breathless haste about this life in the prison, as she saw it, at Kensington Palace, and her general unhappiness.  And I came to realize that she realized that she was walking into a trap just before she walked down the aisle because she realized that her husband‘s heart belonged to another.

NORVILLE:  And she certainly had confirmation of that, she said, when she was on her honeymoon.  Here‘s a section of audiotape that James Colhurst made at your request as the Princess of Wales was talking about those early days of her marriage.  Give a listen.


PRINCESS DIANA:  We were opening our diaries to discuss various things.  Out comes two pictures of Camilla.  And on our honeymoon, we have our white-tie dinner for President Sadat.  Cufflinks arrive on his wrist, two C‘s entwined, like the Channel C.


PRINCESS DIANA:  Got it in one.  Knew exactly.  So I said, Camilla gave those, didn‘t she.  He said, Yes.  So what‘s wrong?  They‘re a present from a friend.  And boy, did we have a row!  Jealousy, total jealousy.


NORVILLE:  Did James tell you what her mood was like as she was saying that?  We could hear the music playing in the background.  Obviously, they‘d cranked up the radio...


NORVILLE:  ... so that nobody would listen to what else was going on in there.

MORTON:  Yes, indeed.  I mean, it was all done very surreptitiously.  She did it in her sitting room, and if there was ever a butler hovering around, listening at the keyhole, they‘d shut the doors and turn the music up, or even stop the taping.

And in actual fact, the mood is often quite light-hearted.  I mean, I asked her about her suicide tempt attempts, and she kind of said, Well, Andrew‘s trying to write my obituary now, isn‘t he.  And she was kind of—in a way, she was talking about a person that she‘d left behind, as well.  The person of the early 1980s was this woman who lived in what she called the “dark ages,” where she was cutting herself or she throwing herself downstairs while she was pregnant with Prince William, while she was suffering from this slimmer‘s disease, anorexia nervosa.


MORTON:  So—so—bulimia nervosa.  So effectively, she‘d moved away from that, and she was able to kind of almost joke about it.

NORVILLE:  So this is a woman describing her past, as she was looking forward with optimism to her future.

We‘re going to take a short break.  When we come back, we‘re going to talk about the television interview that completely changed the entire picture with the Prince and Princess of Wales.  And why was the princess so afraid of the British secret service?  And is it possible that her fear forced her to take an unprecedented step?  We‘ll look into that in just a moment.


NORVILLE:  The fall of 1995 was the beginning of what Andrew Morton calls Princess Diana‘s year of living dangerously, according to his new book, and it was that time when Diana took the unprecedented step of giving an incredibly frank television interview.

Andrew Morton continues with us for the entire hour, talking about Princess Diana‘s life and his new book called “Diana: In Pursuit of Love.”  That interview completely changed the dynamics of the relationship between the Princess of Wales, the Prince of Wales, the monarchy, the people‘s reaction toward what was going on in their marriage.  I mean, it completely just tossed everything in the air.

MORTON:  Absolutely right.  Totally life-changing interview.  As soon as she gave that interview, the queen intervened in the failed marriage of Charles and Diana, wrote to both parties and said, You must divorce.  Diana herself found herself cast into the outer darkness by the royal family.  Princess Margaret, her next-door neighbor, who was, basically, her only friend, refused to speak to her.  Politicians who had kind of warmed to Diana, who she schmoozed over the last five years, said, OK, you‘re a loose canon.  We don‘t want anything more to do with you.  So her life was changed upside—turned upside-down.  And people think, Oh, it‘s the tit for tat because Prince Charles had given an interview the year before about where he had (UNINTELLIGIBLE) adultery with Camilla Parker-Bowles.  I discovered something differently.

NORVILLE:  And you discovered that the reason she was persuaded to do this was not that it was out of revenge interview, but rather that she was very fearful for her personal safety.  And you get a hint of that in the interview that she gave to Martin Bashir.  Let‘s give a listen.


BASHIR:  Do you really believe that a campaign was being waged against you?

PRINCESS DIANA:  Yes, I did.  Absolutely.  Yes.


PRINCESS DIANA:  I was the separated wife of the Prince of Wales.  I was a problem.  Full stop.  Never happened before.  What do we do with her?

BASHIR:  Can‘t we pack her off to somewhere quietly, rather than campaign against her?

PRINCESS DIANA:  She wouldn‘t go quietly.  That‘s the problem.  I‘ll fight until the end because I believe that I have a role to fulfill.  And I‘ve got two children to bring up.


NORVILLE:  Why did she pick that man to speak with?  He wasn‘t someone who was particularly well known.  I know, though, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) had been going to Kensington Palace for tea.  We know that Barbara Walters had been over there doing the schmooze.  Why pick him?

MORTON:  Well, this is what—the question I answer in the book because Martin Bashir was an unknown BBC reporters, and he convinced Diana that her life was under threat.  And it came at a time where the climate of suspicion and this kind of subterranean terror was infecting everything to do with Diana.  He showed her documents, bank statements, subsequently shown to be forged, forged by him and a co-worker...

NORVILLE:  A graphic designer...

MORTON:  A graphic designer...

NORVILLE:  ... at the BBC.

MORTON:  ... at the BBC, who‘d forged these documents to show that, somehow, she was under surveillance by the security services.  And whatever story he told her—and there were meetings in underground car parks.  It‘s all very cloak-and-dagger.  But like “All the President‘s Men”—you remember that scene where Redford‘s running away in fear?  And remember, her life had been lived in conspiracies.  Her conversations had been broadcast, secretly taped.  She had been confronted in the past by even Prince Philip saying, You know, we‘ve got taped conversations of you speaking on the telephone.  So she knew that her life was under surveillance, and now she felt under genuine threat, and that threat was exacerbated, it was prompted by Martin Bashir and the BBC.

NORVILLE:  So you believe he contrived all of this, quote, unquote, “proof” to persuade her that if she didn‘t get her story out and get it out fast, she might go to some terrible watery grave without having ever gotten it out there.

MORTON:  Absolutely right.  I mean, she believed that “the men in gray,” as she called her enemies, were out to get her.  And she believed that by speaking over their heads to the British people, to the world public, she could—she felt safe.  And you know—and the people that I spoke to who were talking to Diana at this time—there are only just a handful of people knew about this.  They said she only did that interview, only did that interview to save her life and because of those banks statements, those forged bank statements.

NORVILLE:  And in fact, she was advised by some pretty high-placed people, members of parliament and others in whom she confided, not to do this.  They said, This would be the worst thing you could possibly do.

MORTON:  Yes.  Don‘t touch it with a barge pole.  Don‘t—Lord Putnam, great friend of hers, very solid character, said, Just don‘t do it.  Clive James, great broadcaster, said, Don‘t do it.  But she went ahead and did it because they didn‘t know that she felt under such threat.  And of course, Diana would have done an interview.  Of course, she would have, with Barbara or Oprah or yourself.  And she was in discussions to do that, at some stage, but probably after the divorce, when she was an independent woman or when she could say to the world, This is what I want to be.  I want to be an ambassador.  I want to do this.  I want to be the queen of people‘s hearts.  But then, you know, you look at that interview in the round (ph), the famous interview that she gave, an awful lot of it is, as you showed in your clips, about her talking about being under threat.

NORVILLE:  And—and yet after she did the interview, she felt great about it.  And in the book you say, quote, “I am on top of things at the moment.  I‘m fine.  I‘m strong.  I‘m looking to whatever the future brings me.”  How soon after the broadcast did the she make that remark?  And she said this to you.

MORTON:  She—she—no, she said that—she said that in—to a friend of mine.  But—but what she felt was that she felt vindicated.  She saw all the letters that came in from people.  She had something like 6,000 letters from people around the world, mainly women, saying, you know, You spoke to something inside of me.  And the general response was pretty positive amongst commentators, but of course, amongst the great and the good, as it were, the real movers and shakers, the queen, the prime minister and the rest of it, they were disheartened.  So Diana felt vindicated.  She felt safe.  And she‘d moved on.  And it wasn‘t for another six or seven months that those bank statements were uncovered as forgeries.

NORVILLE:  Do you know what her reaction was when it was revealed that those were not accurate documents that she had been shown?

NORVILLE:  Well, I don‘t know what the—what her reaction was, in that sense, because Martin Bashir was still a good friend of hers.  He ended up writing speeches for her, and he became quite close to her.  And the...

NORVILLE:  Close in the same way, quite frankly, that you became close to her.

MORTON:  Exactly...

NORVILLE:  Part of that shadow cabinet.

MORTON:  Absolutely.  So when I first saw the “Panorama” interview, the BBC interview, I thought, Fantastic.  It vindicates everything I‘ve ever written.  because to then, before that, nobody knew about Diana‘s involvement.  People half believed what I‘d said.  So I was thrilled when that TV documentary went out.  And I thought, Well, good for you, Diana.  You‘ve owned what you want—what you‘ve always been saying to me.  It‘s not me saying it for you.  You‘re saying it yourself.  And I was quite shocked, I was really shocked, when I discovered what the truth was.  And then I thought...

NORVILLE:  How do you know that that‘s true?  How do you know that those documents were forged?  Because the BBC over the weekend gave a statement, said, We support Mr. Bashir.  We support the interview.

MORTON:  Oh, because I spoke to the forger.  I mean, the forger said, I was there.  I worked through the night forging those documents.  Martin was sitting next to me.  Martin Bashir was sitting next to me.  And he had certain things he wanted to put on the documents.  And I...

NORVILLE:  And the reason this was plausible is because one of the names on the account to which this money was allegedly paid was the name of a person who was a security individual that Diana‘s brother, Charles Spencer, had had some trouble with.  And he‘d actually taken some legal action against this fellow.

MORTON:  Absolutely.  It seemed plausible because it was the security

·         the security—the head of security who‘d been getting payments.  And also, there was an offshore, shadowy offshore consultancy company that could have been portrayed as a some kind of front for the secret services.

NORVILLE:  I have to ask you—Diana admittedly self-mutilated, admittedly took dangerous acts when she was expecting her first-born son, admits to having bouts with bulimia and anorexia.  By her own account, she has had a number—had had a number of difficult emotional, mental situations that she had to deal with.  Are you sure that she wasn‘t a little bit unhinged when she gave this interview, when she said the things, when she perceived that there was this dark plot against her?

MORTON:  No, because—it‘s the whole point.  It wasn‘t something out of her imagination.  She‘d been shown these documents by a credible outsider, a man working for the BBC.  More...

NORVILLE:  But that was someone playing on her fears.

MORTON:  But—hang on.  But more than that, at the same time, she‘d seen a servant who‘d worked for Prince Charles who had told her about male rape inside Prince Charles‘s household.  She was nursing these secrets.  She‘d been told all kinds of other things.  And remember, over the years, she‘d been the center of conspiracy about Charles and Camilla for the first 10 years of her marriage.  After the separation, she was at the center of a conspiracy to denigrated by her enemies, by Prince Charles‘s camp, cursing her as some kind of loose canon.

All the way through our discussions, when we—when I was talking to her on a regular basis, one of the things that she said time and again is, I‘m not mad.  I know what I‘m saying.  I need a time and space, certainly in my earlier days.  And the whole point of this book is to show this progression, that Diana was not this unhinged character of the early days of her life inside the royal family.

NORVILLE:  She had gotten herself together.

MORTON:  She‘s a woman who‘d got herself together.  And when she spoke in that interview—and let us not criticize Martin Bashir too much because it‘s Diana herself who said what she had to say.  She owned those words.  She was reflecting on somewhat that she‘d left behind, a persona that had gone—that was years in the past.  And she was looking to the future.  And I think, when you look at her, the way her body was, the way that her heart was, the way that her mind, Diana was moving forwards.  And it‘s easy to diminish her as some kind of unhinged paranoid, bonker—beautiful, bonkers, but she wasn‘t.

NORVILLE:  When we come back, we‘re going to talk more about conspiracy and the fact that there may have been a role by one of the service agencies, the secret service agencies, in the timing that coincided with the Princess‘s death.  And we‘ll also take a look at the men in Princess Diana‘s life.  That in a moment.



NORVILLE:  My guest tonight is author Andrew Morton.  His latest book on Princess Diana is entitled “Diana: In Pursuit of Love.”

Andrew, I wonder, would the world be as fascinated by this woman if she hasn‘t been as beautiful and photogenic as she was?

MORTON:  I think that‘s a very good question.  An American once said to me, If she‘d been 80 pounds heavier, would we have mourned her the same way?  I think that the answer‘s got to be yes, that people were attracted initially to her beauty, and this—and the iconography was born from that.  And then afterwards, they were intrigued by her personality.  And I think that people responded to Diana not just because of her beauty, but because of the way that she‘d, as it were, fought the inner demons and fought the outer demons in her life.  So they responded to her journey in those vital five years after her separation.

NORVILLE:  So in a sense, her going public with her inner demons and the way she felt that she‘d conquered them made her more relatable perhaps than other members of the royal family.

MORTON:  Yes, I mean, I think—I think people saw in her something of themselves.  They may not have led such extreme lives, and who has?


MORTON:  But nonetheless, we all have dilemmas.   We‘re all struggling to come to terms with the problems in our lives and the issues in her life.  They saw that Diana was a woman who cared for other people and reached out to other people, and in a way, was struggling to find herself.

NORVILLE:  And in the book, you talk a great deal about—I mean, the subtitle is “In Pursuit of Love.”  It was something that she obviously had not had as a little girl, and it was something that you submit she was looking for her entire adult life.  She didn‘t find it in her marriage.  She was looking for it beyond then.  What was her childhood really like?

MORTON:  Well, there‘s a sense of—a profound sense of abandonment that Diana had.  In fact, what I discovered—and I was shocked to discover this—for a time when she was a little girl, she became an elective mute, she was so shocked by her parents‘ divorce and the...

NORVILLE:  And her mother left them, right, when she was a small child, what, 4 or 5 years old?

MORTON:  Yes, when she was about 6 years old.  And one of the most enduring memories of Diana‘s life—and she keeps—she kept coming back to it and coming back to it—was listening to her mother packing her bags and leaving the family house forever.  And her mother doesn‘t remember it like this.

NORVILLE:  This is her mother, Mrs. Shand-Kydd.

MORTON:  Her mother—her mother doesn‘t remember it like this, but nonetheless, Diana did.  And this scenario was played out throughout her life.  It explains to me so much that she went into the royal family.  It wasn‘t just that she was besotted with Prince Charles.  She saw him as the idealized husband.  She saw the royal family as the idealized family, this kind of family of home, hearth and familiarity.  And She didn‘t get any of that because, as we now know, the royal family themselves are as dysfunctional as you can think of.

NORVILLE:  After her separation in 1992, she had a series of boyfriends, and I just want to kind of go through each one and get your take on what role he played in her life at that time.  James Hewitt was the army man who‘d gone and fought in the Gulf war, and the dashing redhead who wrote a sort of caddish book about their affair.  I mean, nobody wants a boyfriend who goes and tells all later.  What was his—what was his role for the princess?

MORTON:  Well, she felt abandoned by her husband, who by then had gone back to Camilla Parker Bowles.  And what I find intriguing, that throughout Diana‘s life, she was never not in an intense love affair. 


NORVILLE:  She always had a boyfriend. 

MORTON:  She always had some kind of romantic attachment.

And James Hewitt was probably the first.  Well, let me backtrack.  The first one was probably her bodyguard, a guy called Barry Mannakee, who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident.  She thought, again, it could have been the security services.  One of the first questions she asked me was, Andrew, can you find out the reality of that death?  And I did so for her.

NORVILLE:  Now, when you say boyfriend, is it someone with whom you enjoy their company or was it someone with whom you were personally intimate? 

MORTON:  Well, with Hewitt, obviously, she was intimate with him. 

With Mannakee, it‘s probably more an avuncular, uncle figure. 

But with Hewitt, she felt alone.  She felt abandoned.  She felt bereft.  And here‘s this guy who was very good with the boys, taught them how to ride horses.  And in a funny kind of way, if her boys liked the person that she was with, then she warmed even further to them.  And she always had these romantic visions of opening a riding school in the west country of England.  And so, in a way, she kind of had a very imaginative romantic vision of.


NORVILLE:  She was always looking for the fairly tale, it sounds like. 

MORTON:  Yes.  In many respects, she lived her life backwards.  She was 20 when she got married, a very naive 20-year-old. 

NORVILLE:  Very protected, very sheltered. 

MORTON:  She had not really had any boyfriends before that.  And so when she came out of the marriage after the separation, she was kind of flirting and dating in a way that, say, a 15- or 16-year-old would probably do. 

NORVILLE:  Talk about some of the other boyfriends, two of which were married Oliver Hoare and Will Carling.  Both were gentlemen who were married at the time that they were involved with the princess.  What was that all about? 

MORTON:  Well, there is often a feature of a woman who is separated, that they enjoy the kinds of highs and lows of a romantic attachment, but within relatively safe boundaries.  You are smiling at me there. 

NORVILLE:  Right.  Don‘t men do this, too?


MORTON:  Of course.  So, therefore, she was doing what many people do. 

She was not having to commit, but she was enjoying life. 


MORTON:  Sorry.  Go on.

NORVILLE:  And then comes Dodi Fayed.  And while most people say it was just a fun relationship, you found a minister with whom the princess had a conversation that is rather telling.

MORTON:  Yes. 

In fact, her local parish priest became quite a good friend of hers towards the end, a guy called Frangelli (ph).  And she phoned him from the yacht where she was enjoying her last holiday with Dodi and said, look, what would happen if a Muslim and a Christian wanted to get married?  Could they get married in an Anglican church, in a Christian church.  And he said, yes, they could.  And as far as he was concerned, they were probably going to get married. 

And, certainly, when I smoke to Diana‘s stepmother, Raine Spencer, Countess Spencer, with whom she was reconciled, she knew both Dodi and Diana very well.  And she said, look, the thing is that Dodi was the first man that was really able to give something to her.  He looked after her.  He cared for her.  And that‘s something Diana had been looking for all her life.  She wanted to be cared for, looked after.

And when she was talking to me, she always said, with Prince Charles, I want somebody to look after me and take care of me.  And that was the kind of tragedy of her life with Prince Charles.  He didn‘t do what she romantically wanted.  Dodi did.

NORVILLE:  Much was made about a ring that Dodi Fayed had apparently given during that holiday in Paris.  Do you think it was an engagement ring? 

MORTON:  No, I don‘t.  And I‘ll tell you why.  He bought it very early on in the relationship, very early on, within a matter of days.  So it was a kind of a token, a very expensive token. 

NORVILLE:  Yes.  Some people can afford that. 

MORTON:  Not too bad.

But on the last night where people say, oh, well, he was going to propose to her, in actual fact, as I discovered, they were due to go out for dinner with his uncle, a very sophisticated character called Hussein Yassin. 

Now, he said, I have got a prior engagement.  Now, the world‘s most talked about couple was snubbed by Dodi‘s uncle.  But in the last conversation that Dodi had with Hussein, Hussein said to him, look, you have got to take this lady seriously.  He says, yes, I am taking her very seriously indeed.

So it‘s one of the kind of unresolved aspects of Diana‘s life.  It serves as almost like a metaphor for Diana‘s life, that her life was unresolved romantically, just as it was in the round. 

NORVILLE:  Also unresolved are some of the circumstances of her death. 

When we come back, we‘re going to talk more with Andrew Morton, including a look at the princess‘ final days.  Could she still be alive today if the Secret Service had let her take a vacation in the United States? 


NORVILLE:  In 1997, Princess Diana wanted to spend the summer in America.  The Secret Service said no.  Could that have cost the princess her life?  In a moment.


NORVILLE:  It‘s been seven years since Princess Diana died in that tragic car accident in Paris. 

But Andrew Morton‘s theory is, she could be alive today if she had been allowed to take a trip to America. 

I‘m back now with Andrew Morton now.  His new book is called “Diana:

In Pursuit of Love.” 

That is maybe one of the most shocking things that you say, that it all might have played out a different way. 

MORTON:  It could have played out very, very differently indeed.  She had invitation to go to Aspen or the Hamptons, thanks to—a friend of hers, Teddy Forstmann, the billionaire businessman.

And for some reason or another, the Secret Services—don‘t know whether it‘s the British or the Americans—said no because she also wanted to take William and Harry with her.  So she ended up accepting a standing invitation from Mohamed Al Fayed to go to the South of France.   And the rest, as we all know, is now history. 

NORVILLE:  And it was, what, a security issue that the Secret Service, whether it was the Americans or the Brits? 

MORTON:  Yes. 

NORVILLE:  What‘s insecure about a billionaire‘s home in the Hamptons?

MORTON:  Search me, because, having said that, in the past, she had been stopped from going to America because they had reports of some kind of lone stalker after her.  So you never quite know what is the hidden agenda in these things. 

NORVILLE:  And was this just a friendship with the American or was this, again, another boyfriend potential situation? 


MORTON:  Oh, I think Teddy Forstmann was an old—was a boyfriend and became a friend of hers.  And, in fact, he ran into her on the boat while she was with Dodi and said, look, you can do a lot better than this guy.  And Teddy Forstmann was very popular among Diana‘s staff at Kensington Palace, particularly her private secretary, who thought that he was a very strong character, very sensible, down to earth, and just the kind of chap that they would have approved of as a future husband. 

NORVILLE:  Or at least as someone she should be spending her time with. 

MORTON:  Yes, because he was a reliable character.  He was solid.  He wasn‘t flaky.  He was all there and also he had all the toys. 


In the book, you write, ironically, the decision by the Secret Services, perhaps more than any of their perceived plotting in Paris, was what led to Diana being in Paris on August 31.  Do you think it was deliberate that she was meant to stay in Europe? 

MORTON:  Well, that is an extraordinary chain of events to have predicated, because, remember, that decision, that fateful decision to go back to the apartment from the hotel was taken at the last minute. 

In fact, they were due to have dinner with Dodi‘s uncle in the hotel and he expected to have breakfast with them in the hotel.  So nobody quite knows why they decided to go back to the apartment.  They did.  And I‘m afraid even the security services can‘t be blamed for that one. 

NORVILLE:  Is it your personal sense that it was just a tragic accident, the guy was drunk, driving too fast, and that was what led to the crash? 

MORTON:  Yes. 

My belief is twofold, that she was conspired against throughout her life either to deceive her about Camilla or to treat her like a loose canon.  But, on the fateful night in question, it was just a pure and simple, banal road traffic accident. 

NORVILLE:  And then, when she died, the British royal family, I gather, was a little bit perplexed as to how to handle it.  They know what to do when a royal family member dies abroad, but this was an unusual royal family member. 

MORTON:  Well, she wasn‘t really a member of the royal family anymore.  She was a mother of the future king, but totally disenfranchised from the royal family.  She had not seen even them for about half a year, for six months or so.  And so, there was kind of a powerless paralysis of protocol about what to do. 

NORVILLE:  And, in the book, you talk about her mother, Frances Shand Kydd, who got word of her daughter‘s death.  And talk about paralysis.  She stayed in Scotland. 

MORTON:  Yes, her mother was there waiting for the phone to ring and to say what she should do.  So you think, well, she is the parent.  She could go out to Paris.  There was nothing to stop her from doing that.  And she also has her other two daughters who actually went out to Paris, Sarah and Jane.  They accompanied Prince Charles on the flight. 

So you kind of think, well, what‘s going on here?  It‘s kind of like the aristocracy always kind of defers to the royal family, but the royal family themselves didn‘t quite know how to handle it.  And, in a way, I don‘t blame them because it was an extraordinary and a unique situation. 

NORVILLE:  Oh, it was a horrible shock.  And, as estranged as they must have been, it had to be just personally devastating for members of the royal family. 

And talk about, again, the protocol paralysis.  Even the prince of Wales, Prince Charles, you mention in the book seemed just kind of unable to deal with certain aspects of it.  You talk about an earring.  And I just want to read the quote about Charles.  He said: “It is absolutely essential that she is wearing both earrings.  She can‘t leave the hospital like that.”  One earring had apparently been lost in the wreck. 

MORTON:  One earring was embedded in the dashboard, I think, and eventually found. 

But, in a way, that was his response out of shock.  And it shows in a way—it‘s a great window into his mentality and the mentality of the royal family, that protocol, that the right look, that they can spot a misplaced insignia or a misplaced medal from 50 paces.  That‘s the way that the royal family are.  And even in death, they want them to look right.  And that whole day, that whole awful...

NORVILLE:  But wait a minute.  Let me just play devil‘s advocate.  Maybe the prince of Wales was so emotionally distraught over this that he wanted to make sure his ex-wife looked right.  I mean, anybody who has had a loved one, they want them to look good in the casket. 

MORTON:  But I‘m not denying that for a moment. 

What I‘m saying is that it‘s that attention to detail that is a characteristic of the royal family.  The fact that they can spot little things that are missing from a uniform shows that‘s the way, that‘s the kind of mind-set that they have.  And it‘s the same with Prince Charles‘ response to Diana, that the fact that she was missing an earring was a great concern to him.  And so, in a way, it‘s an insight into his personality. 

NORVILLE:  And yet, as focused on detail as some members of the royal family can be, I remember there was a great deal of commentary about the fact that it took a while for the flag at Buckingham Palace to be lowered to half-mast. 

MORTON:  Well, that‘s the central detail, because, in a way, the flag is only lowered when a monarch is no longer in residence.  And so they were just sticking to protocol.  And, in a way, they had to revise protocol as a result of Diana‘s death.  They were up in Bowlmor (ph), which is still stuck in the year of Queen Victoria. 

And their responses were essentially Victorian.  And they had to be almost like dragged kicking and screaming back into the 20th century. 

NORVILLE:  Even if death, Princess Diana was still making changes in England. 

We‘ll take a short break.  More with Andrew Morton in just a second. 


NORVILLE:  Back with author Andrew Morton.  His latest book is called “Diana: In Pursuit of Love.” 

As you know, next year, there is going to be an inquest, finally, in England, because the French one is finished with, into the death of Princess Diana.  What do you think it‘s going to find?

MORTON:  I think it is going to find essentially the same as the French inquest, because what they are doing is exploring all the kind of conspiracy theories and tracking them down and seeing, is there any plausibility behind it?  End of the day, if she was wearing a seat belt, she would still be alive today. 

NORVILLE:  Yes.  Yes.  A lot of people started wearing their seat belts after that, too. 

James Colthurst, who was your intermediary and the princess‘ intermediary in doing the first book and so much of the material you have received from the princess, said recently—quote—“As long as she stays not fully understood, then Diana will remain alive.”

Will this woman continue to be an enigma to the world?

MORTON:  I think she will. 

I think what I hoped I‘ve achieved in this book is to give you kind of a template as to her character, how she was going forwards, how she was trying to be herself, what was her state of mind when she did certain things.  But there is so much unresolved about her because she died young.  She died.  And you think, those sunlit uplands were there.  She was about to be an ambassador for Britain.  She was possibly going to get married to Dodi.  And there is that kind of tantalizing possibility held out for Diana of peace of mind and happiness, two things that she always sought. 

NORVILLE:  And you raise the possibility in your book that she might have sought the happiness here in this country.  You said of the princess:

“She loved Americans and loved America.  She felt a sense of freedom in America and was thinking, why not America?”

Do you think that she would have come to this country? 

MORTON:  Yes.  I‘m convinced of it, a bit like the duchess of York, Fergie.

NORVILLE:  Ferguson, yes.

MORTON:  Because, when I looked through her engagements for the last year, she had made something like 10 visits to America.  She had only done one engagement in London.  For Diana, abroad was comfortable.  Abroad was away from the criticisms that she got at home.  She wasn‘t hounded on the streets by the paparazzi.

She enjoyed moving with the movers and shakers of Washington and New York.  She felt very comfortable, very at home and very appreciated.  And why not?  Her boys were at school.  She could visit them.  And it wasn‘t a question of living here full-time, living in America full-time, but going backwards and forwards. 

NORVILLE:  We don‘t know what Diana‘s future would have been, but we can speculate about Prince Charles.  Just last week, the prince of Wales released his annual accountings. 

For the first time, he mentioned Mrs. Parker Bowles and said that some of her personal expenses were being paid out of the income of his estate, as are the expenses for William and Harry.  What do you make of that? 

MORTON:  Well, I think it‘s really a definite showing that Camilla Parker Bowles is a feature of his life in some way or another.  Whether they get married or not remains to be seen.  But she is there forever.  And she has a suite of rooms at Clarence House, where he lives in London.  She is the mistress of Highgrove, his country estate.  So she is an integral part of her life.  And it‘s kind of a parlor game now as to, will they, won‘t they get married?

NORVILLE:  We know that the princess of Wales was content, it seems, with where she was in her life at the time it ended.  Do you think the prince of Wales is content with where he is in his life? 

MORTON:  Good question. 

I think that his position now is -- 15 years ago, he only got in the press because of Diana.  Now he only gets in the press because of either Camilla or Prince William.  So, his tragedy is, whatever he does in life, he will always be remembered by the women in his life. 

NORVILLE:  Interesting observation. 

The book is called “Diana: In Pursuit of Love.”  It is by Andrew Morton, who had an incredible source of access to the princess when she was still alive.

It‘s good to see you and good luck with the book.  Thanks for being with us.

MORTON:  Thanks a lot.

NORVILLE:  And as we have been talking about the late princess, Great Britain of course is preparing for the first official memorial which will honor her memory.  On tomorrow, Queen Elizabeth will open the memorial fountain, which is located in London‘s Hyde Park.  The fountain is a large stone ring with water pouring on to it flowing in two directions at different speeds. 

It also serves as a children‘s play area.  Diana‘s late mother reportedly criticized the fountain for having what she called a lack of grandeur.  But a member of the committee in charge of the fountain says it is fitting because Diana was—quote—“the most unstuffy person I think I know. “ 

Princes William and Harry, Prince Charles, Diana‘s brother, the Earl Spencer and other members of the late princess‘ family are all expected to attend the opening.  The Spencers and the royal family will be seen together at the official opening for the first time since Princess Diana‘s funeral in 1997. 

We‘ll be back in just a moment with some of your e-mails. 


NORVILLE:  We are still getting tons of e-mails from many of you about our story of a woman who escaped a forced polygamist marriage. 

Ron Curtis wrote in and said: “I believe that this subject should be brought out into the open much more.  I hope you continue to investigate this practice.”  He said, “Many women and children would benefit.”

Melissa wrote in,  saying: “While I agree with you that forcing minors to marry is wrong, as a libertarian, I don‘t really understand what mainstream Americans have against polygamy between two or more consenting adults.”

Jared King from Omaha, Nebraska, wrote in saying: “Please note to your viewer that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Mormon Church, has had no association with this practice since 1889.”

And 14-year-old Ashlie wrote in on our show about the suspected eating disorder of Mary-Kate Olsen.  She said: “Maybe you could get teen problems on your show more often, depression, fitting in, peer pressure, drugs.  I think those subjects should be pushed in our faces more.  I think it might do some good.”  It‘s a good idea.

And Glenn Victory writes in on my interview with Nicole Richie.  He said: “Nicole seems to be an honest and good person, good head on her shoulders.  I hope what I saw this evening is how Nicole really is when the cameras are not on.”

Well, I can tell you, she is just as charming and delightful when the cameras are not on. 

You can send us your e-mails and comments to us at NORVILLE@MSNBC. 

We‘ve got some of them posted on our Web page.  That‘s NORVILLE.MSNBC.com.  And you can sign up while you‘re there for our newsletter at that same location.

Thanks for watching our program tonight.  I‘m Deborah Norville. 

Before we go, do you know what today is, besides the day after Independence Day?  Today marks the 50th anniversary of the recording of “That‘s All Right,” recorded by Elvis Presley at Sun Studios in Memphis, July 5, 1954.  It was his first hit song and it is widely regarded as the beginning of the rock ‘n‘ roll age.  And 50 years later, millions will celebrate the landmark tonight.  And we will feature a full hour tomorrow on Elvis.  That‘s coming up tomorrow. 

Coming up next, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.”  Thanks for watching.  We will see you tomorrow. 


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