This partial transcript from The Edge with Paula Zahn, June 20, 2001 was provided by eMediaMillworks.
PAULA ZAHN, HOST: On the Personal Edge tonight: the secrets about Princess
Diana's life you have never heard before. A new book called Diana: Story
of a Princess, gives the uncensored story on her marriage, divorce and
Author Phil Craig stopped by The Edge and revealed how he separated
fact from fiction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
So you have spent the last couple years of your life researching
Diana's life, and you knew a lot about her going into this project. What
did you learn about your own misconceptions about the life she led?
CRAIG: I think the most striking thing that came through to us all
working on this project is the fact that somebody can be so very, very
famous, and yet their story can be so completely misunderstood.
ZAHN: OK, explain to me what that means.
CRAIG: What it means is that what people know about Diana, what
people think they know about Diana came out during a very nasty and very
public divorce. And we all know what divorces are like. People make stuff
up. They get very vindictive. They exaggerate things.
Now, this divorce was played out inside a huge echo chamber made up of
people, I'm afraid, like you and I, by the media. And people picked up
these stories from this divorce, and they amplified them further because
there was an awful lot of money to be made from the stories. And so you've
got a very distorted account -- his story, her story -- and a very -- a
very inaccurate account.
It's one the most important things that people think they know about
Diana. For example, people think they know that she tried to kill herself.
Well, she didn't.
ZAHN: Yeah, that story was told over and over again about how she
hurled herself down a set of stairs. You couldn't get anybody to confirm
CRAIG: Well, more -- no, more to the point, we got a lot of people to
say it just didn't happen, and Diana told them it didn't happen. And
people saw the incident on which it was based, and they spoke to us about
what really happened.
ZAHN: All right, explain to us what your understanding is of what her
emotional state was throughout that marriage. There have been talks of,
you know, dysfunctional personality, borderline personality disorders.
What do you think is the truth of it?
CRAIG: Well, Diana made things up about her life, like, for example,
she said to people she tried to kill herself, and she didn't. But the
allies of her husband also made things up about her, and they spread some
stories about her being mentally ill. And those stories were picked up by
authors and by TV producers, with the result that a lot of people around
the world think that this woman had a thing called "borderline personality
Now, if Diana had that, then I certainly have it, and you may well
have it, too , Paula, because what we've established in forensic detail is
where that story came from. And believe me, it didn't come from
psychiatrists or anything even approaching a medical diagnosis. It came
from briefings. It came from spin. Like so much in this story, it came
from spin. And what we've tried to do is stand back and unspin it,
separate the legends, the maliciously spread stories from what really
happened. And what really happened actually, Paula, is often a good deal
ZAHN: All right, well, let me ask you this. Would you acknowledge
tonight that she was an extremely vulnerable, emotionally needy person?
CRAIG: I think in the last few years of her life, she was capable of
being very vindictive and quite erratic. I think earlier in her life, it's
a very different picture. But I think that what happened with Diana is
that she did indeed change. She went through a really horrible divorce.
She learned to become untrusting of people around her. After all, she
discovered that many of the people who had presented themselves to her as
her friends, people who had sat down with her and said, "Look, Diana,
you're making it up. There's nothing going on. Trust us" -- she then
realized a few years later that those same people were arranging the love
affair that her husband was carrying on at the time. Now, that's enough to
make anybody a little bit paranoid, I think.
ZAHN: All right. But you also...
CRAIG: I think we can forgive her that.
ZAHN: You also explain in the "Story of a Princess" that -- that
those kind of arrangements went two ways. Was there actually a formal
arrangement worked out that allowed Prince Charles to see Camilla Parker
Bowles during his marriage to Diana and gave Diana the freedom to see James
Hewitt or whoever she wanted to see?
CRAIG: For about five years of this marriage there was an
arrangement. I think Diana was fitfully happy with it. There were times
when she would complain still about Camilla's place in her husband's life.
But there's no question that for quite a few years -- and some of these
were the most successful years of her public life -- Diana was content to
live the sort of life that many British aristocratic families have always
lived. She had her homes. She had her friends.. She had her lover. And
Charles had the same.
Of course, later she denied this when she wanted to present herself as
a victim. But we've gone back and we've talked to people, for example,
James Hewitt's family, who've never spoken before -- his mother, sisters --
and they paint a really amazing picture of this alternative and secret
family life that she had, not with her own family, not with the royal
family, but with them in Devon. You know, weekend after weekend in this
cottage in Devon. It's where she lived, and nobody knew.
ZAHN: Phil, would you say this book is more sympathetic to Diana than
it is to Charles?
CRAIG: I think that's a very good question. When I began this
project, I was quite skeptical about Diana. So I've been attracted to some
of the people who themselves were skeptical. For example, on the land
mines crusade (INAUDIBLE) somebody who was very suspicious of that but
found themselves warming to her.
And I think it's fair to say that myself and my colleagues on this
project, we've warmed to her, as well. There's no question that by the end
of her life, she could be a very difficult person, quite a vindictive one.
But she had magic, you know? She had magic. And she had a kind of vision
and a mission to do something with her fame. And there's no denying that,
and there's no denying the impact that it made in terms of Prince Charles.
I think he had a pretty raw deal, as well. He's been presented as an
uncaring, selfish man, a cold man, a man who doesn't love his sons. All
those things were said about him, and many of them were really unfair. But
I suppose if I had to pick and choose the one I wanted to go out for dinner
with, it probably would be her.
ZAHN: And we appreciate, Phil, your sharing your thoughts with us
tonight on THE EDGE. Good luck with the book.
CRAIG: Thank you, Paula.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Somehow, that answer didn't surprise me -- would rather have
had a drink and dinner with the princess.
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