In the ten years since Princess Diana’s shocking and tragic death in 1997, her hold on the world’s imagination has only increased. For The People’s Princess , Larry King asked many people who knew Diana, some officially and some more personally, for their favorite memories.
Sir Richard Branson recalls Diana sitting in the cockpit of one of his private planes with baby Prince William on her lap; as they flew past Windsor Castle she announced, “On our right you have Grandma’s house!” Heather Mills, who, like Diana, has been a tireless campaigner for charitable causes, recalls Diana’s work to eradicate the scourge of land mines, as well as the time she was photographed shaking hands with an AIDS patient in a London hospital, doing so much to counteract the stigma associated with the disease at the time. British radio and television personality Chris Tarrant recalls how clearly nervous he was upon meeting Diana for the first time, and how she put him at ease with an incredibly rude joke about Kermit the Frog. Photographer Tim Graham remembers Diana lying on the floor with baby William in order to coax a smile from the young prince. And her chief bodyguard recalls how happy and at peace she seemed on the day he agreed to her simple request: to be allowed to walk, truly alone for once, along a beautiful, deserted beach.
Some of these recollections are warm and intimate, celebrating Diana for her ability to make a human connection with everyone she met, others are perceptive and revealing, even about Diana’s human failings and frailties. Together, they coalesce into a multifaceted portrait of a woman that the world has long desired to know a little better.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: The People's Princess|
|Release Date: 07-17-2007|
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|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
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The People's Princess
Former press secretary to Queen Elizabeth II Dickie Arbiter is a British broadcaster and journalist. He has covered royalty, heads of state, and other international personalities for more than thirty years, and his unique access to so many important figures of recent history makes him one of the most experienced commentators in Britain. He is currently in high demand throughout the world as a lecturer and commentator on radio and television.
I met Diana, Princess of Wales, at Buckingham Palace a couple of days before she became the "new royal kid on the block" at her wedding, on Wednesday, which took place July 29, 1981. The event stopped the world for most of the day, as a global television audience of 750 million, more than half a million spectators lining the wedding route from Buckingham Palace, and twenty-five hundred guests in St. Paul's Cathedral witnessed "shy Di" say "I will" to her Prince Charming and prepared to "ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after." As one of the commentators on that memorable day, I, too, was carried along by the euphoria of the royal match.
My first impression of Diana on that Monday morning was one of a nervous, apprehensive girl, barely out of her teens, hiding smiling eyes behind her fringe. I wondered how she was going to cope on her big day, whether she could pull off the pomp and ceremony, and how she was going to handle being a newly paid-up member of the Royal Firm. In fact, she did carry the day off, much to her credit, and mercifully she was unaware of what lay ahead of her.
When I joined Buckingham Palace, I'd spent more than twenty years in radio and