- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
The subtitle notwithstanding, at least three of the essayists in this warm collection edited by CNN talk-show host King not only didn't know Diana best, they never met her. On the positive side, those who did know the princess, including her own secretary, Patrick Jephson, as well as less intimate acquaintances like Joan Collins, share some lovely memories of the woman they remember as compassionate, warm, loving and, above all, funny. British journalist Piers Morgan recalls that she had "a great laugh. A really earthy, infectious cackle." The queen's former press secretary Dickie Arbiter remembers professing mock horror at a British princess driving a German car, to which Diana retorted, "Well, at least it's more reliable than a German husband." While most of the contributors are admiring, several, including actor Robert Powell, mention her shortcomings as well, citing her temper and questioning her status as royal victim. Some of the pieces are simply maudlin, but one of the most genuinely touching ones is by Tessa Dahl (daughter of Roald Dahl and Patricia Neal), a childhood friend of Diana's. Interspersed with recollections of her chum, Dahl reveals painful details of her own life, and a writing talent that leave one hoping she'll write a memoir of her own. (July)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
LORD JEFFREY ARCHER
Lord Jeffrey Archer is an accomplished British author and former member of Parliament and deputy chairman of the Conservative Party. His novel Kane and Abel reached number one on the New York Times bestseller list and was eventually made into a miniseries. He was a good friend of Diana's and helped her fund-raise for numerous charities.
I first met Princess Diana at a Red Cross function twenty-five years ago, when I was the charity auctioneer and she was the guest of honor. After that, she regularly requested that I carry out the same duties at all her charity functions, which, of course, I was delighted to do. Over the years, what had started as a professional relationship developed into a personal friendship, and we often dined privately in each others' homes.
In 1993, the prime minister (John Major) asked me to be with her on the day the palace and the government were announcing that she would be retiring from public life. I think my saddest memory of that occasion was taking her home to Kensington Palace after she had received a standing ovation from the thousand people who had listened to her speech at the Hilton Hotel. I later learned from her butler that she had a TV dinner and sat alone in the drawing room before going to bed.
I learned of the Princess's tragic death when Sir Nicholas Lloyd, the newspaper editor, phoned me at four o'clock in the morning on August 31. I refused to turn on the television or the radio, as I attempted to convince myself that it couldn't be true.
Her funeral at Westminster Abbey was one of the most poignant events I have ever attended, and I was touched by Earl Spencer's kindness in seating Mary and me with the family in the private part of the abbey.
Following the hugely successful sale of her dresses in June 1997, at her request I purchased the remaining four hundred catalogs for £27,000, and the Princess promised to sign them for any auction she attended, where, on average, ten years ago, they would make £5,000 each. But sadly, her premature death meant that we didn't make the million pounds for the Red Cross that she hoped to achieve for the remaining unsigned copies. Ironically, I still have a few left, which I continue to auction, as long as the person sends the check to the British Red Cross.
I'm reminded of her almost daily, because whenever I do an auction, I always realize how much more I would raise if she was sitting there. She was an amazing servant who, in her seventeen years of public life, made a genuine difference in many peoples' lives.
I am fortunate to have the most beautiful signed, silver-framed photograph, a magnificent pair of cuff links, and several private letters, should I ever forget the minor role I played in her amazing life.
Diana would have been surprised by the public's unbelievable response to her death, and even more surprised that ten years later this interest has not waned. But then they don't make them like that very often, do they.
Moroccan-born couturier Jacques Azagury trained at St. Martin's School of Art in London. In his final-year show, he was hailed as one of the most promising new designers and launched straight into his first collection. He opened his flagship store in Knightsbridge, London, in 1987.
I was introduced to the Princess by Anna Harvey from Vogue in the mid-eighties when she was still experimenting with clothes and far from the fashion icon she later became. As soon as I saw how stunning she was, I urged her to make more of her allure, but she resisted, because she was afraid of drawing criticism from the Royal Family. Her natural instinct was to hide away her beauty, and it took years before she was able to believe she was actually a beautiful woman.
After the pain of her divorce from Prince Charles had subsided, she grew in confidence, and the Diana I saw was no longer the insecure, uncertain woman who would come into the salon with her shoulders stooped and head bowed. She looked her very best--slim but not thin, fit and glowing with joy, standing tall with her head held high.
She prided herself on being normal and didn't stand on ceremony. She made everyone comfortable when she came into the shop, sometimes unannounced, and if I was with another client, she would say "Carry on. I'll wait." Whenever I visited her at Kensington Palace, she would bound to the door and greet me herself, rather than have the butler show me into the drawing room. She didn't like formality; she found it oppressive.
As well as looking gorgeous, she loved wearing clothes and dressing up. She knew people expected it of her, and she did not like to disappoint anyone. I made clothes for her for almost ten years, but our heyday together was in the mid- to late nineties, when she was free to be herself and was not afraid of wearing clothes that made her look sexy, but not like a sex symbol. One of her favorites was a beaded, full-length, backless dress, which she wore to a political dinner in 1994. She was conscious that the occasion was quite serious, so we used understated colors--graphite on black. But the thigh-high split gave the dress a sexy twist. It became famous when she wore it for her first photo session with Patrick Demarchelier, with her hair slicked back.
The Princess was dedicated to her campaign for a ban on land mines. After she had returned from Angola in 1997, she came into the salon, and when she was telling me about her trip, she was almost crying. She explained how terrible things were there, and that she was trying to make people aware of it. It was so important to her that she agonized over what to wear for the charity dinner in New York on behalf of the Red Cross. She wanted it to be just right so that people would concentrate on what she had to say, not what she was wearing. Eventually, she chose a dazzling long red dress--red in honor of the Red Cross--with a high neckline. I wanted her to turn heads when she was dancing, so I persuaded her to allow me to put a deep V shape at the back, which was perfect.
The last dress she ordered from me was in late June 1997, when she was looking for a "statement frock" for a charity dinner at the Tate Gallery to be held on July 1--her thirty-sixth birthday.
From the Hardcover edition.
Posted May 26, 2011
Posted September 23, 2010
No text was provided for this review.
Posted January 28, 2012
No text was provided for this review.
Posted August 29, 2011
No text was provided for this review.