A Look at Diana's Boys

This partial transcript from The Edge with Paula Zahn, August 15, 2001 was provided by eMediaMillworks.


PRINCE WILLIAM: Harry and I are both quite upset about it, that our mother's trust is being betrayed and that even now, she's still being exploited. But I don't really want to say any more.


ZAHN: On the Personal Edge tonight: Diana's sons, William and Prince Harry. For the most part, the paparazzi have left the boys alone since their mother's tragic death, but that has not stopped the tell-all books from being printed.

You just heard Prince William condemning a book about his mom written last year by Diana's private secretary. Now a new book out about Diana and her sons has the royal palace furious. Diana's Boys, was written by best-selling author Christopher Andersen, who wrote The Day Diana Died.

Christopher Andersen joins us now in the studio.

Welcome back to The Edge.


ZAHN: Boy, do you have Saint James's palace ticked! Let me read to you...


ZAHN: ... what they have said in a rare public statement about Harry's private life. They call some of your charges ludicrous. The statement reads this:

"These allegations are without foundation and are utterly contemptible. We are sure that the British media, who place great emphasis on accuracy, would not wish to report them and give them credence."

ANDERSEN: They're basing that not on having read the book, I hasten to add, but on reading inaccurate American press reports that speculated about what was in the book.

ZAHN: OK, what did they get wrong?


ZAHN: What did the American press get wrong that the royals are misinterpreting?

ANDERSEN: There was a piece that said that I report in the book that William is involved in kind of menage-a-trois. I don't say that.

ZAHN: What do you say?

ANDERSEN: I say that he is romantically active, sexually active. I mean, that's obvious from the number of women that he's been romantically involved with over the past couple of years. He's 19...

ZAHN: What, have they come and told you? Have they confirmed that for you? How do you know that?

ANDERSEN: Well, actually, friends of William's have talked about this. And the security that surrounds him, you know, they have to be very careful about him and so they're paying very close attention to who he's with and where he's going at all times. So that's another delicate issue.

But during his time in Chile — during his "gap year" prior to entering college, he went to Chile, worked there with a program to help build facilities for villages and that sort of thing. And he was involved romantically with a number of girls. I guess they extrapolated from that this notion that there was a threesome.

ZAHN: But so do you not describe a relationship with a brunette and a blonde that transpired in...


ZAHN: ... Chile in these tents?

ANDERSEN: Yes, well, they were in a tent together in the evening, but I don't go into any more and I don't speculate beyond that. But the fact of the matter is, I would like somebody at the palace to sit down and take the time to read this book, just as they didn't read The Day Diana Died, either, and condemned it right off the bat based on American press reports.

The fact of the matter is, this is really a tribute to the boys and to the job that Diana has done in raising them. I think they're spectacular success stories, in terms of the royal family.

ZAHN: But you and I both understand the reality of selling books. What people are really going to latch onto are the more salacious details in this book. Now, first of all, had you ever met Diana? Had you ever interviewed her when she was alive?

ANDERSEN: No, I had not.

ZAHN: And how about the boys?

ANDERSEN: No. Well, they don't do interviews. And the way I've been doing this job now for 35 years. This is my 22nd book. And I can tell you that an authorized book, an approved book, is not going to be the real story. In order to get the real view of a person's life and an accurate portrayal of the kinds of people they are, you have to go to the people who know them best. And that's what I did. And I can...

ZAHN: For example, who did you go to who confirmed for you these sexual escapades?

ANDERSEN: The people who were down there at the time, people who were involved in the...

ZAHN: The people running the program?

ANDERSEN: People involved in the program.

ZAHN: The women themselves, women that were potentially involved with them?


ZAHN: Did you talk to them?

ANDERSEN: No. No. Eyewitnesses. There are eyewitnesses to a number of the episodes that happened in this book. And as far as what goes on in London — I have sources here that really are as close to William and Harry as you can be and not be a member of the immediate family. So I, you know, I stand by every word that's in this book.

ZAHN: But they are so protected.


ZAHN: How do you know the information you got from these people, this cadre of people around them, is correct?

ANDERSEN: Well, it's eyewitness testimony. I mean, you try and get independent sources to verify what you hear, here and there, or you trust the people who are telling you to be, you know, accurate. And in this case, these are people that are thoroughly unimpeachable and reliable.

ZAHN: Well, on the other side of the break, we should get to some of the details so people better understand why the palace is so darn mad at you tonight, Christopher.

Among another one of your charges that is really upsetting Saint James's palace is the allegation that William is hanging with a pretty tough crowd.


ZAHN: You describe them as drug-abusing young aristocrats. How do you know this to be true?

ANDERSEN: Well, five of his closest friends have publicly admitted that they have had serious drug problems. Two of those five, most notably, are Tom Parker-Bowles — that's Camilla Parker-Bowles's son — and her niece, Emma Parker-Bowles. They're very open about it. William, you know, has partied with them in London and continues to do so.

I definitely don't believe William is a drug user or has ever even experimented with any of these things.

ZAHN: So an...

ANDERSEN: Although he's a drinker and a smoker. He can drink. It's legal at his age. You know, he's 19.

ZAHN: And you describe him as a chain smoker.

ANDERSEN: He is a smoker, just like Jackie Onassis. You know, he smokes, and he doesn't do it near the cameras, so people have never actually managed to take a photograph of him doing it, but he does. And it would upset Diana. No question about it.

ZAHN: At any time when you interviewed folks who were familiar with these five kids that he mostly hangs out with, no one ever alleged that William has used drugs.

ANDERSEN: Absolutely not. But it was a concern for the people who protect him because he always has security guards with him, even in these clubs in London. And they would see open drug use, cocaine and ecstasy, specifically, in the presence of Prince William. And they did not know what they were supposed to do. They are law enforcement officials. They had to go to their higher-ups and say, "Are we supposed to make arrests or what?" And they were told basically to just hang back and let other people take care of that local law enforcement and that sort of thing. So there continues to be a concern...

ZAHN: Doesn't that sort of surprise you that he continues to be exposed to these kinds of dangerous situations?

ANDERSEN: Well, it bothered Charles, too. I mean, I don't think it's any secret that Charles is very upset about this, and that Tom Parker-Bowles was given a strict talking-to about that. There are other concerns about his safety, as well, though. William specifically is quite a target now for — as he goes off to Saint Andrew's, for a variety of extremists and terrorist groups. And I think that should be a principal concern, at this point.

ZAHN: In one of the more poignant parts of the book, you try to describe to the reader what happened with the young men the night they were told their mother had died.


ZAHN: And you have William quoted as saying what a restless night he had had and how he perhaps had a premonition that something was going to happen to his mom. Who told you that?

ANDERSEN: Well, it wasn't so much a premonition that something was going to happen to his mom. It was that he kept waking up all night, could not get to sleep. And when he was told that she had been killed in a crash, he said, "I knew something was wrong." I mean, they're never alone. The royals always have someone present to hear and witness these statements.

ZAHN: So you're telling me that someone who was in close proximity to William...

ANDERSEN: Oh, yeah. And he repeated it several times because...

ZAHN: ... repeated this quote to you?

ANDERSEN: ... it was amazing. He could not get to sleep that night. He kept tossing and turning. And whether or not he made a connection with the fact that his mother at that time had died — and as a matter of fact, he wasn't told until the morning. The queen felt that neither Harry nor William should be disturbed, that they should get a relatively peaceful night's sleep prior to being told in the morning of their mother's passing. It was very emotional.

I also write for the first time about the eve of the funeral, when they were taken to Saint James's palace for a last — to say good-bye to their mother, to see her body for the last time. Earl Spencer couldn't bring himself to look at his sister's body. William could. But Harry couldn't, either. And Harry just looked away, and it was a very emotional in a moment the night before the funeral.

ZAHN: And you also talk about what mementos the sons took to remind themselves of their mother. Just a brief answer on that.

ANDERSEN: Well, a few months later they went to Kensington Palace, and they had to pick little mementos. And William and Harry took their mother's stuffed animal collection and divided it up. William took her gold Cartier tank watch, which is now his most prized possession, and a little silver figurine that he had made for her at the Eton School metal shop.

ZAHN: Well, it's all very interesting and all from your new book called Diana's Boys. And I can't imagine you're expecting any invitation to Buckingham Palace anytime soon with this new book out.

ANDERSEN: Knighthood is not coming along any time soon.

ZAHN: And the British publishers aren't going anywhere near this book. You can't buy this book over there, right?

ANDERSEN: Oh, I wouldn't say that. Well, we'll see.

ZAHN: All right, Christopher Andersen, good of you to drop by.

ANDERSEN: Thank you.

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