Guests: Paul Burrell, Harold Brooks-Baker
ANNOUNCER: DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT.
DEBORAH NORVILLE, HOST: A royal performance. He once enjoyed the confidences of the British royals until Paul Burrell‘s tell-all book, “A Royal Duty,” rocked the House of Windsor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL BURRELL, FORMER BUTLER TO PRINCESS DIANA: I know that if queen got murdered (ph) tomorrow, she‘d know that her secrets were safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: But wait until you hear and see what Princess Diana‘s butler is up to now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURRELL: They won‘t see singing and dancing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: It‘s “A Royal Duty,” the Broadway-bound one-man play.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURRELL: An incredible story of a lifetime spent within royal service.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Starring the man Diana called “my rock.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURRELL: This is who I am, and I‘m pretty proud of who I am.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Tonight, another peek behind the very private walls of the palace.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURRELL: And I make no apology of making money out of—out of the book.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: And reaction. Is Paul Burrell‘s latest venture cashing in on his relationship with Princess Diana?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURRELL: I think she might be up there having a good giggle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: From studio 3K in Rockefeller Center, Deborah Norville.
NORVILLE: And good evening. It has been nearly seven years since Princess Diana was killed when the car she was riding in crashed inside a Paris tunnel. There have been plenty of books and television shows and articles about the princess and her death, but this week, get ready for something new, a Broadway show. Paul Burrell, Diana‘s long-time butler and confidant brings his one-man show about his relationship with the Princess of Wales from London to New York. It will be on Broadway tomorrow for one night. The show is entitled “Paul Burrell: In His Own Words.”
And I‘m joined now by Paul Burrell. Welcome. It‘s nice to meet you.
PAUL BURRELL, FORMER BUTLER TO PRINCES DIANA: Thank you, Deborah.
It‘s nice to be here.
NORVILLE: Tell me about this show. Where did the idea of taking your history with the princess and standing on stage and sharing it with an audience come from?
BURRELL: I‘ll tell you, it‘s a nerve-wracking experience. Having done Theatre Royal Drury Lane, then bringing it to Broadway, it‘s quite something. The producer says, We think it‘s an extension of the book. We think, you know, it‘s an opportunity for the audience to judge for themselves in your words. So they can ask me questions. They can interact with me. And I get a—I get a lot of pleasure out of that.
NORVILLE: So the producers connected with the publisher? This is sort of a joint—a joint project...
BURRELL: That‘s right.
NORVILLE: ... with the two of them?
BURRELL: That‘s right. Yes, Penguin, the publishers in the States, are backing this as part of my book promotion tour. So perhaps, you know, President Clinton might have done the same.
NORVILLE: Well, what do you do when you‘re up there? I mean, you don‘t—you said in the clip you don‘t sing, you don‘t dance.
BURRELL: I know.
NORVILLE: I mean, what happens?
BURRELL: Well, I stand there and I talk about my life, the incredible journey I‘ve had behind those closed doors in the House of Windsor and share some funny anecdotes and some stories which haven‘t never been aired before, which—you know, a nice side of the royal family.
NORVILLE: What‘s in the show that wasn‘t in, first, the hardback book and then paperback that came out last week?
BURRELL: Well, I think, in the show, it‘s more the human sort of face of the House of Windsor, some very amusing anecdotes which are very hard to write down, but really nice to tell.
NORVILLE: Give me a for instance. What‘s one of your favorites?
BURRELL: Some of the funny things that happened with the queen behind closed doors. And she has a wonderful edge for mimicry. And wherever she goes in the world, she does wonderful accents. And when she‘ll come home after an engagement, she will then do the accent in the dialect which she‘s learned. She‘s an incredible...
NORVILLE: Like, who‘s she done a good send-up of?
BURRELL: Some famous people, but I‘m not going to tell you who because she might be embarrassed if I told you. But she does a great American accent. She does regional accents from all over the United Kingdom, Liverpool and Birmingham and Cockney. And one day, we were driving in the carriage down the Royal Ascot racecourse, and this lady, she‘s waving her flag very proudly by the railings, and she shouted, Give us a wave, Liz! And Prince Charles turned...
NORVILLE: Translated, that means?
BURRELL: Give us a wave.
NORVILLE: Give us a wave. OK.
BURRELL: Give us a wave, Liz! This Cockney accent. And Prince Charles leaned over to his mother and said, What did that woman say, Mummy? And she said, Give us a wave, Liz, in a really broad Cockney accent. Now, you don‘t get to hear the Queen in that way usually.
NORVILLE: And she did the queenly...
BURRELL: Oh, yes. Like screwing in a lightbulb.
NORVILLE: Is that the official—the royal...
BURRELL: Yes, the royal wave.
NORVILLE: The Windsor wave.
NORVILLE: I have to tell you, I told a couple of friends that you were going to be on tonight, and that the reason for this was because of this Broadway show. And they said...
NORVILLE: ... What in the world are you thinking? Frankly, what a stupid idea. Why would you do this?
BURRELL: Exactly. I‘m wondering that. Why—I‘ll be still on stage, thinking to myself, Why am I putting myself through this torture? Because I‘m not an actor. I‘m not a performer. But it is a great opportunity to meet people. And there are millions of people out there who adored the princess. There are so many people that want to know more about her, and this is a way to judge me. Much has been written about me in the last few years...
BURRELL: ... and now it‘s their opportunity to see me in the flesh and get to ask me questions and judge for themselves in my words.
NORVILLE: Because there‘s a question-and-answer period after...
NORVILLE: ... you do your presentation.
BURRELL: Yes. They can ask me any question.
NORVILLE: Well, the people who have seen you, at least some of the newspaper reviewers, frankly, didn‘t like what they saw. And here‘s some of the headlines. “The Telegraph” said, “What the butler really missed: an audience. It was like a stick of Blackpool rock—sweet, sickly and leaving a nasty taste.” “The Daily Express” said, “Burrell‘s West End debut is a no-show.” “The Herald Sun” said, quote, “Now the butler‘s really done it. Di‘s lies (ph) exposed on stage.”
BURRELL: Oh, please! Well, I live in a very controversial world. I‘m attached to a phenomenon, a modern-day icon. And so, of course, the media are going to attack me. I‘m used to it. I‘ve grown a thick skin. I mean, I was dragged through the highest court in the land. And you know, quite frankly, they can write what the hell they want because I‘m very happy with who I am and very happy with what I say because I know it‘s the truth.
NORVILLE: But you know who‘s...
BURRELL: They (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
NORVILLE: ... not happy? The princes, the sons of the woman whom you say you love so much.
NORVILLE: When your book came out last fall, they begged you not to do any more. They‘ve accused you of, quote, “a deeply painful, cold and overt betrayal.” Why go out there yet again in this new format, if you know it‘s hurtful to them?
BURRELL: Well, Deborah, I have to tell you that I‘m—I love those boys. It‘s a very sad thing. The boys actually made a statement before the book was published. They hadn‘t read it. It is a loving tribute to their mother, and if they read it tomorrow, they‘d understand that. The statement was made from Clarence House, which is the home of Camilla and Charles. And of course, the boys are siding with their father. He‘s their father, and that‘s as it should be. But I‘m very saddened about the way the princess‘s memory‘s been treated. None of the princess‘s friends have seen the boys since she died. You know, her—her own mother, the boys‘ grandmother, never saw her grandchildren from the moment the princess died to the moment she died.
NORVILLE: But the princess had not seen her mother, either. I mean, there was a great, great rift between Mrs. Shand-Kydd and Diana...
BURRELL: That‘s true.
NORVILLE: ... Princess of Wales. Plus, she moved to an island which is on one of the most remote parts of the Scottish coast. It‘s not like you could pop in the car and go around the block...
NORVILLE: ... to Grandmother‘s house..
BURRELL: No, but she visited London often, and she was often in those royal circles and not very far away. And I think it‘s very sad. The whole situation is very sad in that respect...
NORVILLE: You were...
BURRELL: ... because I would never upset the boys because they grew up with my children.
NORVILLE: But you have. But you have, and you know you have.
BURRELL: Yes, but they have asked to see me, and I‘m going to go and see them in the near future. When all this has died down, it‘ll go away. It‘ll be tomorrow‘s news, and I can go back to my life. And then I‘ll have the opportunity to meet with the boys. I would have had the opportunity to meet with them at the unveiling of their mother‘s national memorial.
NORVILLE: Which will be next month in Hyde Park in London.
BURRELL: On the 6th of July, the monarch will unveil the national memorial to the princess. But I thought, It‘s not right for me to be there. This would be the first time I‘d come face to face with the boys.
NORVILLE: Isn‘t this—isn‘t this an event to which invitations are sent?
NORVILLE: And you have not received an invitation.
BURRELL: No, I have.
NORVILLE: You have received an invitation?
NORVILLE: And you‘ve declined.
BURRELL: I‘ve declined because it would have turned into a three-ring circus. It would have been the boys watching me, watching the boys, the queen watching the boys. It would be the media watching everyone. This is on the world stage. And that day‘s about the Princess. It‘s about her memory, about no individual.
NORVILLE: You worked for her for how many years?
BURRELL: I was there for 10 years with the princess, 11 with the queen.
NORVILLE: And when she died, she left something to you in her will, did she not?
BURRELL: Yes. I was left 50,000 pounds in her will.
NORVILLE: So what in American dollars? That‘s, like, $75,000?
BURRELL: It‘s $75,000.
NORVILLE: And since then, you‘ve written the book. And in interviews, you‘ve said you received about $2 million for the publication rights for that book.
BURRELL: I never said that. You must have read that in a clipping.
NORVILLE: Well, I did read it in a clip of—a transcript of an interview that you did. And it‘s been reported that you‘ve received 300,000 pounds for the newspaper rights for the same book. That‘s an awful lot of money.
BURRELL: It is. But Deborah, look what‘s happened to me in the last seven years. I mean, I had to defend my—not just my liberty, my loyalty to the princess, my—everything went down the pan because they dragged me through the courts and tried to ruin my name, in order that my story would never be published. This is a story that no one wanted to be published, by a man they tried to crush and silence. Because remember, I‘m a servant, in their eyes. In the British culture, I‘m—I should know my place and stay downstairs. Well, the princess taught me much more than that in life. She taught me to stand up and be proud of who you are, go out there and tell the truth. And I am going out there, at my own cost...
NORVILLE: But how long will you go out there? I guess that‘s the question. How long do you keep going back...
BURRELL: Yes. Yes, well...
NORVILLE: ... to the Diana well and take another bucket of money out of it?
BURRELL: Do you know what? How—do—do you lose—when you lose someone so dear to you and precious in life, you carry with them—you carry their memory with you for the rest of your life. You don‘t actually stop loving them. They‘re always there. And I do feel, if it‘s appropriate to defend the princess‘s memory, you‘ll find me there. But this little phase in my life is coming to an end now. But I will always be haunted by that friendly ghost. I‘ll always be there beside the princess, and my name will always be attached to that icon. If I‘d been Marilyn Monroe‘s butler, you‘d be asking me the same questions today. Was she beautiful? Do you think she was murdered? All those questions would be still the same.
NORVILLE: I didn‘t ask you any of those questions, did I?
NORVILLE: We‘re going to take...
BURRELL: You didn‘t.
NORVILLE: ... a short break. We‘ll see if I do in a moment. More with Paul Burrell after this.
ANNOUNCER: Still to come: the men in Princess Diana‘s life—
Charles, William and Harry, plus a few other key players. Tonight, a recap of Britain‘s royal clan seven years after the death of Princess Di. DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT is coming right back.
NORVILLE: Back with the butler, the former butler, to Princess Diana, Paul Burrell. He‘s bringing his one-man show about the princess to Broadway, and this month, an updated version of his memoir, “A Royal Duty,” came out in paperback with some new details.
We went to the theater. We checked. There‘s still, like, 25 percent of the theater still open.
BURRELL: Oh, really?
NORVILLE: Does that distress you to know that what was two days got winnowed down to one, and now it‘s not yet a sellout?
BURRELL: It doesn‘t matter if it‘s six people, 60 people or 600 people to me, Deborah, because those people are there because they want to be there. They want to be there to share memories of an incredible, unique, inspirational human being.
NORVILLE: And these people are all people who are just completely enamored with...
NORVILLE: ... with Princess Diana. They probably have lots of magazines with her photograph, and books, and so on.
BURRELL: Yes. And do you know, the power of that phenomenon around the world is still there today. And people do come to me, and where were they when the princess died. It‘s the sign of a great person. You remember where you were when that tragedy happened.
NORVILLE: Would she approve of you going out and doing this? I‘m not talking about...
BURRELL: Keeping her memory...
NORVILLE: No, I‘m not talking about keeping the memory alive. I‘m talking about making money off of her memory, which is a quite different thing.
NORVILLE: It‘s one night. It‘s one night. If I was doing it for weeks on end on Broadway or the West End in London, yes, I‘d question it myself. It‘s one night. It‘s backed by the publishers. It‘s part of the book promotion tour. And it‘s a different way of doing it, and that‘s why it‘s received criticism.
NORVILLE: It sounds like you‘re trying to distance yourself from this, that maybe they pushed you into this and this was not something you really wanted to do?
BURRELL: I‘m not a natural actor. I‘m not used to being on the center of the stage. I‘m used to being in the wings. I‘m very happy being in the shadows. To be there, it‘s a nerve-wracking experience.
NORVILLE: Was it your idea or was it theirs?
BURRELL: It was their idea. It was their idea, but...
NORVILLE: Do you wish you‘d said no?
BURRELL: No, I don‘t, actually, because it was very enjoyable in London, even though it wasn‘t a packed house. It wasn‘t. And...
NORVILLE: And the reviews were not exactly great.
BURRELL: I knew that—they were written before they even came to the theater. And that‘s what I say to the audience, Judge me on what you see. Judge me on what you hear tonight. Judge me on my words, not theirs.
BURRELL: Because they sell newspapers. You know bad stories sell
copy. Good stories don‘t.
NORVILLE: One thing in your updated version of “A Royal Duty” is a letter that you included that you say is in the collection of letters that the princess had given you prior to her death.
BURRELL: Yes. Yes.
NORVILLE: And this one generated a lot of news headlines. And there you see the princess‘s handwriting. What this says is, “This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous.” X-ed out here “is planning an accident in my car, brake failure and serious head injury, in order to make the path clear for Charles to marry.”
You put this in the book as proof that the princess told you someone, she thought, was trying to kill her. And people have filled in the blank and said it was the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles.
BURRELL: Well, it was leaked by a national newspaper. They said it was—it says “my husband” underneath that piece of paper, but I took precautions to make sure that that didn‘t come out because I thought of William and Harry, and I didn‘t want them to think that their father was going to murder their mother.
NORVILLE: Then why would you put the letter out there?
BURRELL: Because it‘s a matter of public interest. It‘s a matter of
national importance. That letter, written by the princess in her own hand
· how clear can it become? It can‘t become more clear than that. Her thoughts, her feelings, that‘s what she wrote, not me. She wrote it. So I think it‘s important for everyone out there to know. If I‘d given that letter to the queen, she‘d have archived it. It would never have seen light of day.
NORVILLE: but you could have give that letter to the French government, who was conducting an inquest beginning in 1999.
BURRELL: I could, and we should have had an inquest then. And I thought we would have an inquest in Britain seven years ago. It‘s taken seven years to have one for a British subject.
NORVILLE: Well, why didn‘t you make this public? Look, you know that you can say, I‘m Diana‘s butler. I‘m Paul Burrell. I‘m having a press conference with a matter of national importance. And Fleet Street will be there. You could have had that letter with the little piece of paper over the “my husband” and gotten it in the public domain while the inquest was going on. Why wait unless it wasn‘t to sell books?
BURRELL: Well, in a foreign country, yes, I could have done it then. But I thought myself, This is going to happen in Britain. We are going to have an inquest here. It should be done by a British judge in a British court. And that‘s—that‘s why I left it. Plus, you know, take yourself back, way back into those years when the Princess died. So many people were grieving. I—what happens when someone dies...
NORVILLE: Did you think she was murdered? Do you think she was murdered?
BURRELL: I‘ve got to keep an open mind. I have to keep an open mind on this. There is an investigation under progress right now, as we speak, and we have to wait and see what they find. I‘ve told them what I know. I‘ve told them what the princess told me. I‘ve told them what I saw in Paris. I don‘t know what happened in between. We‘re going to have to wait and see.
NORVILLE: We had an interview a couple of months ago with a gentleman who produced a documentary that I‘m sure you‘re probably familiar with, “The Diana Conspiracy.” His maim is Martin Gregory (ph), and he—he went through, page by page, every aspect of the French inquest, which was finally completed. It did take a long time. And this is what he had to say about the reason why there wasn‘t the inquest in England, as you and many other people said, What‘s gives?
NORVILLE: This is the why, the answer to why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN GREGORY, “THE DIANA CONSPIRACY”: But it must be understood by everybody who‘s listening and watching this tonight that the only reason the coroner did not start the inquest earlier was because the French finished their investigation two years after the crash. And since that time, Mohammed Fayed has been challenging different aspects of the investigation in the French courts. So the British coroner said, Until the French courts finished, I can‘t start. And now the French courts have finished, he‘s started.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Do you believe that? Does that make sense to you, that explanation?
BURRELL: It makes some sense, but I didn‘t know that. I had no idea. I don‘t think the British public know that, either. We think, Well, she‘s our princess. Why didn‘t we have an inquiry? You know, every British citizen who dies overseas is allowed an inquest into their death, but not the princess. Why not the princess? And all those questions—the French inquiry finished with how many questions unanswered? Why did it take an hour for the princess to get to hospital, when it was only a 10-minute drive? What about all those cameras in the tunnel that were switched off that night? Were there MI-5 officers in the crowd? They were spotted by other people. And you know Patricia Cornwall (ph) did a very good investigation, too, into the princess‘s death, and she had questions. And quite frankly, she said, Paul, you‘re a brave man to stand up there and challenge the system.
NORVILLE: Do you think the British inquest will finally put to rest questions that you obviously still have?
BURRELL: Well, let‘s wait and see what they say because once they make their findings known to the general public, everyone‘s going to read it, and then we will see if all the questions have been answered. But there are a lot of questions.
NORVILLE: You also say in your book that Diana wrote a lot to try to put things in their proper space, and by writing, she was able to kind of download and emote that way.
NORVILLE: But the one person about whom you say she was never able to successfully do that was Camilla Parker-Bowles.
BURRELL: That‘s right. She could never exorcise that ghost from her life because she was always there in the wings. She was always the specter at the feast. She was always there at a state occasion. Even on her wedding day—you see her going down the aisle at her wedding, she‘s looking from side to side. She‘s looking for Camilla. All her life, Camilla was there.
NORVILLE: What did she say to you about her?
BURRELL: Well, she was the woman the prince loved because the prince turned around one day to the princess and said, I never loved you anyway.
NORVILLE: And yet in the book, you have a letter that she wrote in—this is what you call the crash letter, that, quote, “Camilla is merely a decoy, so we are all being used by one man in every sense of the word.”
NORVILLE: I don‘t understand what that means.
BURRELL: Well, Prince Charles lives in a world where everyone says yes. Can you imagine how healthy that is, to get everything you want whenever you want with whom you want? So he lives in that very special environment now where no one says no. If you say no to him, you‘re out.
NORVILLE: So Camilla was a decoy how?
BURRELL: Well, the princess felt there were other ladies in the prince‘s life, too, and that it wasn‘t always just Camilla, that there were other ladies there in the wings, waiting, when the prince clicks his fingers.
NORVILLE: You were—you were a very young man when you started working in the royal household.
NORVILLE: Is there a part of you that regrets having had that life...
BURRELL: No, because—no.
NORVILLE: ... because of what you‘ve gone through?
BURRELL: No, I don‘t think so. It‘s been a roller-coaster of emotions, of highs and lows and things taken away and things given to you. But no. I met some incredible people during my time in royal service. I was able to witness heads of state visiting Buckingham Palace. President Reagan came. I looked after him four days. I met the pope. I‘ve done some fantastic things in my life. I don‘t regret it for one minute.
NORVILLE: Do you ever feel a sense that you have betrayed confidences...
NORVILLE: ... that people thought would remain with you?
BURRELL: Never because I know what‘s in here. You see, others don‘t.
If they could only quantify that betrayal aspect on the knowledge I have inside me, but they will never be able to do that because all those secrets will go to the grave with me.
NORVILLE: Is this the last Diana book that Paul Burrell will ever write?
BURRELL: I never thought I‘d write this one. If it calls upon me to defend her again, then I‘ll—I‘ll be there.
NORVILLE: I‘ll take that as a no.
BURRELL: I can‘t—I can‘t imagine I would write another. I can‘t imagine that.
NORVILLE: But you‘ll never say never.
BURRELL: But I—never say never.
NORVILLE: All right. Paul Burrell, good luck with your show tomorrow.
BURRELL: Thank you.
NORVILLE: Let us know how it goes.
When we come back, we‘ll talk more about how the British people are reacting to this one-man show, and also look ahead to what Prince William is up to, now that he‘s celebrated yet another birthday. That‘s next.
NORVILLE: Earlier we showed you how the critics have responded to Paul Burrell‘s one-man show. Ouch! But what‘s the reaction to Princess Diana‘s former butler from the British people? Joining me now from London are Harold Brooks-Baker. He‘s the director of publishing for “Burke‘s Peerage,” a British genealogy guide. Also with us, Dickie Arbiter, the former spokesman for Buckingham palace. And gentlemen, thank you very much for staying up late tonight for us. We appreciate it.
Dickie, let me start with you first. Generally speaking, how is Paul Burrell‘s efforts with respect to Princess Diana being greeted? He had his show in London last week. He‘s hitting New York tomorrow night.
DICKIE ARBITER, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR BUCKINGHAM PALACE: Well, he had his show in London, and I think the attendance speaks for itself. He booked a 2,100-seat theater, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and barely 300 people turned up, and most of those were journalists. So I think that speaks for itself. I think people are heartily sick and tired of Paul Burrell crawling out of the woodwork, touting his so-called truths and memories. I mean, you know, there‘s no one to question what he says except, you know, people like us, who do question him, because the silent witness died seven years ago.
I mean, you spoke a few moments ago about the delay in the inquest in the United Kingdom. Now, Burrell claims he didn‘t know. Quite frankly, it‘s fairly common knowledge why this inquest has been delayed. The French investigation was concluded after two years. Litigation was brought in France by Mohammed al-Fayed, Dodi‘s father, and it was litigation after litigation after litigation. Then there was the trial of the photographers who allegedly were pursuing the car. That eventually was over in November, when the photographers were acquitted.
Now, until such time that all that was done and dusted, the French legal system does not allow for the report papers to leave the country.
Once that was done, the report papers were allowed to leave, and the
inquest opened in January. And that‘s plain and simple. The British
public know that, and Paul Burrell knows that. To say he doesn‘t know is -
· well, it‘s a lie.
NORVILLE: And—and Harold, when—when—from your perspective, look at what Paul Burrell has done with the publication of his book now in paperback, with the addition of a couple of extra letters—what‘s your take on that?
HAROLD BROOKS-BAKER, PUBLISHING DIRECTOR, “BURKE‘S PEERAGE”: Well, Dickie Arbiter is absolutely correct, and he knows the cast of characters well. He‘s worked in the palace for a long time. And there is absolutely no question that this is rather reminiscent of the death after the murder of the late Empress of Austria, Elizabeth, who people are speculating on even to this day. Who murdered her? Why? How? It goes on and on and on. And these cheap tricks to make money out of the death of a poor girl is really reprehensible.
NORVILLE: And people are making money off of it. And people are making money. Someone is buying that book.
BROOKS-BAKER: Of course people are making money off of it. But I think that Dickie Arbiter is right. People are losing interest in this nonsense.
It‘s gone on too far. What we should be concentrating on is what is the future of the royal family. The cast of characters is strong, attractive and good. And the monarchy may last easily a few thousand years at this point.
NORVILLE: Well, I want to talk about some of that cast of characters in just a moment.
Dickie Arbiter, let me ask you about two of the them, William and Harry, who released a statement after the book came out. And they couldn‘t have been more sincere and more pointed in what their thoughts were, as far as I can tell.
They said—quote—“We cannot believe that Paul who was entrusted with so much could abuse his position in such a cold and overt betrayal. It is not only deeply painful for the two of us but also for everyone else affected and it would mortify our mother if she were alive today and, if we might say so, we feel we are more able to speak for our mother than Paul.”
That doesn‘t seem to phase Mr. Burrell.
ARBITER: It doesn‘t at all.
You know, he‘s living in his own world. He‘s living in Cloud Cuckoo Land. I think he almost believes—this has been going on for so long that he probably almost believes that, give it a kick-start and it goes on any longer, he will believe that he‘s a reincarnation of the princess himself.
It has been going on a long time. A lot of people have made money. He‘s probably made more than anybody else. And the silent witness is not here to contradict anything that he says.
NORVILLE: How much you would guess he‘s made?
ARBITER: I think he‘s made a considerable amount of money. I wouldn‘t even like to put a figure on it, but you can bet your bottom dollar that, firstly—and he does talk about this national newspaper that published the letter.
Well, let‘s spell out, the national newspaper was “The Mirror.” “The Mirror” bought his story for a little over $500,000, after the collapse of the trial. “The Mirror” provided a journalist to write his book for him at “The Mirror”‘s expense, obviously “The Mirror” getting paid from the royalties. So let‘s let him not knock “The Mirror,” because “The Mirror” has actually been his paymaster and “The Mirror” have bought him hook, line and sinker.
NORVILLE: Harold, I‘m curious about how does this affect others in the royal family. Certainly, every family has personal business that they want to keep personal. But when you do wear a crown or someone in the family does, people are much more interested in what goes on in your home. How does the royal family ensure that there‘s not yet another trusted servant or member of the household who goes and publishes personal information?
BROOKS-BAKER: Well, I think that they‘re rather philosophical about it.
I mean, we have lived through these from Perkin Warbeck and Lambert Simnel, right through the late empress of Austria. It goes on and on and on. And I have no doubt that he was a superb butler. I think that he‘s perhaps in a bit deeper than he anticipated being. And the fact that he‘s made a great deal of money is interesting, but it‘s also unattractive.
Let‘s look at what the future of this nation is going to be.
NORVILLE: Would Princess Diana be mortified, as her sons said in that statement?
BROOKS-BAKER: I can‘t speak for the late princess of Wales. I only met her four times in my life. And I thought she was an immensely attractive person, but I certainly do not think that it would be right for any of us to speculate on what she would think, alive or dead.
NORVILLE: Well, let me ask you, Dickie, to speculate on something different. How do you think she would feel about how her two sons have turned out?
ARBITER: I think she would be very proud of how her two sons turned out.
I should add that I was her press secretary for five years, so I knew her pretty well.
ARBITER: And to go back to the question that you asked Harold a moment ago, yes, she would have been devastated at her intimate details and confidentiality has been betrayed.
What you have got to remember, Burrell said all the while that this book has been published and been selling that he was out of a job. Well, that‘s wrong. Yes, she died, but he was offered a job within the royal household. He was homeless. Well, that‘s wrong, too, because he was allowed to live in his grace-and-favor home for a year rent-free after Diana‘s death.
He was also given 50,000 pounds, which is $95,000 in today‘s rates of exchange, from the will, which he was not entitled to. So he wasn‘t exactly penniless, he wasn‘t jobless and he wasn‘t homeless. And she would have been devastated at this total betrayal of confidentiality.
But, having said that, had she been alive today, well, I doubt whether that he would have been working for her much longer after her death anyway.
NORVILLE: More with my guests in a moment, including a look at Prince Charles and his longtime companion, Camilla Parker Bowles. Might they be getting married any time soon?
Stay with us.
NORVILLE: A high-profile appeal in Britain for Prince Charles to marry his longtime companion, Camilla Parker Bowles. Could there be wedding bells?
More on the royals after this.
NORVILLE: Back talking about Britain‘s royal family with Harold Brooks Baker, the director of publishing for “Burke‘s Peerage,” and also Dickie Arbiter, a former spokesman for Buckingham Palace.
Gentlemen, as you know, the former archbishop of Canterbury just opined that he thought it would be just fine if Charles and Camilla went ahead and took that walk down the aisle.
Harold, what do you think about that? Is that ever going to happen?
BROOKS-BAKER: Well, first of all, Lord Carey, as he is now styled, before he was the archbishop of Canterbury, stated that he would be interested in the idea of marrying the prince of Wales to Camilla Parker Bowles.
Secondly, the change in the stand of the Church of England, of which Prince Charles will one day be head, titular head, to be certain, has changed a great deal.
BROOKS-BAKER: It‘s now possible for people who are divorced to be married again in the Church of England. This was not possible a few years ago, when, for example, the princess royal, Princess Anne, had to go to Scotland to be married in the Church of Scotland for the second time.
However, it seems that the former archbishop of Canterbury in his book
has made somewhat of an issue out of this. And I personally think that if
everything goes directly the possibility of a marriage is very great. But
we don‘t know if it will go
NORVILLE: What do you mean if everything goes correctly?
BROOKS-BAKER: Well, if there are great problems within the royal family, if there are great political problems from Downing Street, it will not be easy for the prince of Wales to say, now we‘re going to get married.
On the other hand, it‘s very difficult for the prince of Wales to think in terms of his political and Ecclesiastical assignments in the future by having somebody who is his official mistress. There‘s no place really for an official mistress. There was under Louis XIV, Louis XV, and various continental kings, but not in his country. And the idea of an official mistress is just about as strange to the British people as an unofficial marriage.
NORVILLE: Well, certainly times are different.
Dickie Arbiter, I‘m just curious. Does having the former archbishop of Canterbury, even if he‘s publishing a book, come out and say something like this, does this just not complicate things for the prince of Wales?
ARBITER: Well, it does beggar belief, doesn‘t it? Because here‘s a man who obviously counseled both the prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles in confidence and here he is blurting it out in his book. It makes you wonder how confident people can be when they go and talk to their local vicar or pastor or in this case the archbishop of Canterbury, and lo and behold no sooner has he hung up his miter than he‘s gone off to write a book and he‘s publishing it and airing all the dirty washing in public.
I can‘t agree with Harold. I don‘t think that the prince of Wales will marry Camilla Parker Bowles. And no place for official mistresses, but it‘s quite interesting, because the prince of Wales‘ great-great-great-grandfather, Edward VII, had a mistress in his 10 last years. She wasn‘t necessarily official, but everybody knew about it. Queen Alexandra, his wife, knew about it.
And that mistress happened to be one Mrs. Alice Keppel. And who is he? Well, she just happens to be the great-great-grandmother of Camilla Parker Bowles. So, yes, there is a place. I don‘t think there will be marriage, quite frankly. Why do they have to?
NORVILLE: I was just going to say, do they need to be?
ARBITER: No, of course they don‘t need to be.
People in this country—there‘s a mood swing towards modernizing the monarchy. Well, here‘s an ideal opportunity to modernize the monarchy. They love each other. They‘re comfortable in each other‘s company. They‘re a couple of middle-aged people who are getting on and they enjoy doing things together. Why pressure them about marriage? Let them just get on with it.
And we‘re talking about Prince Charles coming to the throne. Well, the queen is fit and healthy. Last year, she had two operations on her knees, cartilage operations. She‘s hale and hearty. She‘s 78. She ain‘t going anywhere. She is going to be around another 20 years, at least, I think. So Prince Charles has got a long time to think about, A, becoming king and whether he wants to get married or not. My guess is, he won‘t.
NORVILLE: And, Harold, help us to understand how the monarchy is different in England. This is not a situation where the queen might decide at some point, oh, I will step down and advocate in favor of my son. That‘s apparently not an option she has. How so?
BROOKS-BAKER: Well, let me go just back a second.
I agree with almost everything that Dickie Arbiter has said, but the fact that is that Edward VII had many mistresses. It‘s true that Alice Keppel was his favorite mistress for a while toward the end. And there‘s also no question that Camilla Parker Bowles has a very important part of his life to consider.
But there is no such thing as an official mistress in this country.
There never has been.
NORVILLE: But the queen can‘t abdicate, right?
BROOKS-BAKER: The queen cannot abdicate, because she is an anointed monarch. At the ceremony at Westminster Abbey during the coronation, she gave her word to God and to her people, to the commonwealth, etcetera, that she would remain on the throne until she‘s called by God. She will be there until she‘s dead. And that probably, as Dickie Arbiter said, is 20 years away, maybe a quarter of century away.
Prince Charles will be a very old king by then.
NORVILLE: Dickie, one quick question before we go to break.
There was a report in an American newspaper that Camilla Parker Bowles was suffering from sort of a health ailment, possibly cancer. Can you confirm or deny that?
ARBITER: No. Camilla Parker Bowles is hale and hearty. She‘s been seen out in public with the prince of Wales over the past week on a couple of occasions. She looks pretty fit and healthy.
Just very quickly on this abdication business, the queen can‘t abdicate. The queen won‘t abdicate because you‘ve got to remember, that‘s how she got in there the first place, because her uncle abdicated in 1936. And she‘s committed herself six times in her life, since 1947 through to the golden jubilee in 2002, six times for life. And life it is.
NORVILLE: All right. We‘ll take a short break. When we come back, more on the British royal family.
And if you want to know about how the British royal family tree is set up, we‘ve got it online for you. You can come to our Web site, NORVILLE.MSNBC.com, to check it out. And we‘ve got a link for you.
And when we come back, more on the House of Windsor, Princes William and Harry. And is Sarah Ferguson, the duchess of York, back in the royal good graces? That‘s next.
NORVILLE: Back talking about the British royal family.
On Monday, Prince William celebrated his 22nd birthday.
Dickie Arbiter, will he continue in the footsteps of his father and enter the military, you think?
ARBITER: Well, he has got another year to do at university. He switched from history of art to geography, so that‘s got to be done and dusted first, and he doesn‘t finish there until next year.
The likelihood is that, yes, he will go into the military. There is a tradition of British heads of state going into the military. His father was in the Royal Navy. His grandfather was in the Royal Navy and fought in the Second World War. His great-great grandfather was a midshipman in the First World War in the Royal Navy.
And his great-great-great grandfather, George V, was in the navy. So there is a tradition. Whether he chooses the navy or the army remains to be seen. And that‘s an option that‘s left open to him. But you have got to realize that he is going to be head of state. And, as a head of state, he is going to be commander in chief. And our commanders in chief, unlike your commander in chief, like to wear uniforms.
NORVILLE: Hey, don‘t get political on us here.
NORVILLE: Harold Brooks-Baker, one of the big questions, then. We know what Prince William will do at some point in his future. What will the future hold for Prince Harry?
BROOKS-BAKER: Well, I think that it‘s perfectly clear that Prince Harry will be an important second. He is the spare. And like the late Princess Margaret, who stood by the queen for years, until Prince William has children of his own, Prince Harry will be of immense importance. After the children arrive, then of course, Prince Harry‘s position will not be very important, and one has to feel sorry for anyone in that type of position.
NORVILLE: But isn‘t the monarchy sort of a different game these days, Dickie, where, well, yes, he will be the second? And, as his brother has kids, he will be further down the line of succession. There‘s still interesting, exciting, meaningful lives to be had by being a member of the royal family. Certainly the brothers of the prince of Wales have done so.
ARBITER: Oh, absolutely. Yes, absolutely.
Don‘t write Harry off just because he is the spare. Firstly, he is going to be very shortly sitting the exams to go to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. And if he passes those exams, he will go for officer training in January. And he will make a career of the army. Now, having said that, he will also be required to undertake, when he gets to a certain age, certainly not now in his 20s, but probably his late 20s, to undertake certain royal duties.
If you look at his uncles and his aunt, his aunt, Princess Royal, Princess Anne, has virtually put on her own the Save the Children Fund on the map because of her tireless work and the publicity that is generated from it.
ARBITER: She does a lot of work in this country with prison reform. Prince Andrew, duke of York, ex-Royal Navy pilot, he worked for British Trade International, so he goes around the world selling British trade.
NORVILLE: Let me just stop you there and ask you about Andrew‘s ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson. I was astonished to see a news clip the other day where she was in the royal box with the queen at a polo match. That‘s not happened for quite some time, has it?
ARBITER: No, that hasn‘t happened for some time, but the media were jumping up and down here, saying, oh, she is being welcomed back into the fold.
Sarah Ferguson, as the duchess of York, has never been out of the fold. She is, after all, the mother of two of the queen‘s grandchildren. So she‘s never been out of the fold. But why they‘re jumping up and down is that—because this is the first time she has been photographed in the company of the queen. She has been in the company of the queen many times, but not in public and not photographed in public.
NORVILLE: And, Harold, is that a statement that the palace would have wanted to make?
BROOKS-BAKER: I think it‘s very clear that there is a happy reunion there of types.
But, nevertheless, Sarah Ferguson is more and more appreciated on both sides of the Atlantic and certainly by the royal family because of the wonderful job she has done with her children, the superb relationship she has with her ex-husband. There is clear sailing.
NORVILLE: Well, we will let that be the last word. Unfortunately, we are out of time.
But, boy, this has been interesting. I hope you both will come back and talk more royals, because we on this side of the pond really like to hear about it.
Harold Brooks-Baker, Dickie Arbiter, thanks so much for your time.
And when we come back, Nicole Richie may be starring in “The Simple Life,” but her real life is anything but simple.
NORVILLE: You can e-mail us at NORVILLE@MSNBC.com.
And that is our program for tonight. Thanks so much for joining us.
I‘m Deborah Norville.
Coming up tomorrow, Nicole Richie, she talks about “The Simple Life.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICOLE RICHIE, ACTRESS: Oh, man, I smell something. Oh, it‘s burnt rubber.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: The daughter of music sensation Lionel Richie is making some waves of her own now in reality TV. Nicole and her co-star, Paris Hilton, are back, this time traveling across the country, working what they say are normal jobs. Tomorrow night, Nicole talks about the program, about her friend Paris, about her famous dad, and the pitfalls of partying that come with life in the fast lane.
That‘s it for now. We‘ll see you tomorrow night.
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