the view from the top of the pyramid of power
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|Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 1:08 am Post subject: Prince Charles puts his faith in ouija boards?
|Prince Charles uses ouija boards!!!
On Prince Charles: She said he surrounded himself with an assortment of gurus, tried to contact his dead uncle Earl Mountbatten though a ouija board and was dismissed by his father as a "wimp".
The most savage attack on Diana EVER
From SHARON CHURCHER in New York - More by this author » Last updated at 12:36pm on 24th April 2007
When Tina Brown wrote her devastating critique of the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in the American society magazine Vanity Fair in October 1985, it caused a furore on both sides of the Atlantic.
The cover story - with the eye-catching headline "The mouse that roared" - painted an unflattering portrait of an estranged couple just four years into what had, until then, always been cringeingly referred to as a "fairytale marriage".
Tina Brown: Ex-Vanity Fair editor's scorching book depicts her 'friend' Diana as a spiteful and manipulative neurotic
Brown, at the time an ambitious young British editor charged with turning around the fortunes of an ailing title, did not mince her words. She described Charles as cranky, self-obsessed and, at 36, prematurely old.
She said he surrounded himself with an assortment of gurus, tried to contact his dead uncle Earl Mountbatten though a ouija board and was dismissed by his father as a "wimp".
Diana, meanwhile, was portrayed as a restless and demanding shopaholic who was obsessed with her public image, spent hours with her Press clippings, and regularly assuaged her loneliness by dancing to Wham! on her Sony Walkman.
The expose initially stunned a Royal court that was unprepared for such an uncompromising assault by so well-informed and well-connected a source - Tina Brown is the wife of Sir Harold Evans, the highly respected former editor of The Sunday Times.
But despite a hurriedly arranged rearguard action, in which tame friends of Charles and Diana were lined up to rubbish Brown's account, Royal reporting would never be the same again.
Ever more lurid stories about the state of the Royal marriage became everyday tabloid fodder.
Diana herself helped shape the climate of hysteria by becoming the secret source for Andrew Morton's 1992 book, Diana: Her True Story, which has since been regarded as the definitive account of an innocent Diana wronged by the House of Windsor.
Now, however, just four months before the tenth anniversary of Diana's death, Tina Brown has revisited the marriage in a new book, The Diana Chronicles, which presents a more balanced but, if anything, even bleaker portrait of the marriage and its main players.
While her 1985 article blamed Diana's "boring" and neglectful husband for her slow transformation from mouse into international star, the new publication depicts her as a "spiteful, manipulative, media-savvy neurotic" preying on Charles and then a series of other rich men for their status and wealth.
Brown claims to have interviewed more than 250 insiders, some of whom have never spoken publicly about Diana before.
They range from Tony Blair - whose role in orchestrating the Princess's funeral was recently depicted in the film The Queen - to Dr James Colthurst, the bicycling son of a baronet who has broken a 15-year silence about his secret role in passing on Diana's taped reminiscences to Morton.
The book, to be serialised in Vanity Fair later this week, makes a series of startling allegations:
lDiana ruthlessly pursued Charles because of his position. Her mother Frances Shand Kydd tried to talk her out of the marriage. When she demanded to know whether she loved the Prince or loved "what he is", Diana retorted: "What's the difference?"
Camilla, until now seen as Charles's true love, was also interested in him only because he was the heir to the throne.
She was infatuated with her first husband, Andrew Parker Bowles, whom she pursued relentlessly for six years. Camilla eventually began her adulterous affair in retaliation for Andrew's infidelity.
Diana had two "assignations" with Charles on the Royal train before their marriage, then co-operated with denials by the Palace to preserve her image of virginity.
Diana falsely convinced herself during their honeymoon that Charles had resumed his affair with Camilla. Brown maintains the Prince was faithful until his wife's eating disorders and "loony" tantrums drove him back to Camilla.
Diana's claim that she tried to commit suicide while pregnant with William was a sympathy-seeking lie.
Diana had no intention of marrying Dodi Fayed, whom she romanced purely to infuriate the Palace. Instead, she was plotting to land a far richer man, American financier Teddy Forstmann, as her next husband.
Charles, for all his bitterness over Diana, was still a little in love with her in her final years. In the hours after the Paris crash, he clung to the hope that she would survive, pledging to bring her home and care for her.
Brown is said to have received a £1million advance for her book from Random House, a company formerly headed by her husband.
With 200,000 copies scheduled to be released in America and Britain, and the publishers already taking advance orders on Amazon, it is certain to be a bestseller.
The trenchant account is being defended vigorously by Brown's entourage, who say it is authoritative, meticulously researched and dispenses with the romantic myth that a ruinously self-absorbed and paranoid Diana had turned her life around.
A friend of Brown who has seen a copy of the book said: "Almost everyone except Charles, William and Harry comes off badly - the Queen, Camilla and, most of all, Di.
"It is going to be highly controversial, but this book isn't based on the myths that Diana created about herself and it certainly isn't gossip.
"Tina is incredibly well-connected. She has been able to persuade an unparalleled range of sources and eyewitnesses to talk fully and honestly for the first time, sorting through the layers of contradictions about Diana.
"Diana was a humanitarian who at one level really identified with the common people, as she thought of them. But she was also a very messed-up woman whose downfall was due to her own insane jealousy and self-obsession."
Brown, whose distinguished journalistic career has included editing The New Yorker magazine and Tatler as well as Vanity Fair, dramatically sets the first chapter of the book in the summer of 1997, when she and the Princess had their last "girls' lunch" at the Four Seasons restaurant in Manhattan.
Surprisingly, despite her 1985 article, Brown maintained a strong friendship with Diana.
Dressed in a striking green Chanel suit and 3in heels, Diana told Brown over lunch that she was considering a permanent move to the States.
She said that she dreaded spending August without her sons, who were due to visit their father and grandmother at Balmoral. "It will be so difficult,' she fretfully declared, "without the boys."
Brown dismisses this as either self-delusion or a lie. The Princess was openly on the look-out, she says, for a rich new husband.
"In August of 1997, Diana was seeking to replace what she had possessed as a Princess with a superstar's version of the same,' Brown writes. "What she was really seeking was a guy with a Gulfstream."
She embarked on her final holiday with Dodi Fayed in part because of the gifts he lavished on her and the comfort she enjoyed aboard his father's yacht, the Jonikal.
But according to her close friend the art collector Lord Palumbo, she relished the notion that the Queen and Charles disapproved of her cavorting in a bikini with the Egyptian-born playboy.
"She just wanted to make the people at Balmoral as angry as possible," Palumbo tells Brown.
For all the supposed agonies over her "boys", she seems to have ignored William's discomfort about her behaviour. He had a "blow-up on the phone with his mother" after seeing photos of her frolics, the book reports.
Meanwhile, behind Dodi's back, Diana was attempting to ensnare Teddy Forstmann, who owned not only a Gulfstream jet but the company that manufactures the elite executive planes.
Forstmann, who was 57 when he met Diana - about whom he has never spoken before - reveals he sent her flowers every week for three years but denies the relationship was ever sexually consummated.
"She was so unhappy," he said. "Diana definitely wanted a guy in her life. She had the idea that we should get married, that I should run for President and she would be First Lady."
Brown asserts that Diana had at least one other multimillionaire on a string - 58-year-old Hong Kong-based electronics entrepreneur Gulu Lalvani.
A friend of his claims that, despite Dodi and Forstmann, Diana was planning to meet Lalvani in London.
Other lifelong associates suggest that far from being a naive victim damaged by her parents' divorce, as she has often been portrayed, Diana was a skilled and sometimes nasty schemer and had been since early childhood.
In her young days, she took out her frustration by tormenting her nannies and buried herself in romantic fiction. Her daydreams centred on marrying Charles, whom she met when he dated her older sister Sarah.
She was enthralled, Brown says, not by him as a human being and a man, but by the notion of becoming the wife of the future king.
Diana felt that she was much more attractive than her sister, whom she cattily referred to as "a tough old thing".
Although she forged friendships with other eligible young men, including James Colthurst, she was determined to keep herself pure for Charles, her "Prince Charming".
Colthurst confides to Brown that he squired her to parties and the theatre but was "emphatic" that their relationship never became physical.
Charles, of course, numbered Camilla among his early conquests. But Brown comes up with the startling suggestion that Charles was not the love of Camilla's life.
That honour went to the philandering cavalry major she married, Andrew Parker Bowles. She pursued the major for six years, the book says.
When Charles eventually made another play for Camilla in around 1983, she agreed to resume their relationship because, according to Brown, she savoured the idea of being the consort of the Prince of Wales and wanted to sound a warning shot to her own faithless husband.
Targeted by two scheming women, Charles is depicted by Brown as a man desperate for affection. His own mother has often been pilloried as dutiful to the point of being incapable of showing emotion.
A Palace staff member, by way of illustration, told Brown that it was his job to break the news to the Queen that Earl Mountbatten had been assassinated. "She said nothing except, "Thank you very much,"' the employee says.
Diana, however, emerges as the coolest, most calculating character in the book. When Charles made his first pass at her, she told Morton that she was embarrassed.
But an eyewitness to the budding romance, Sabrina Guinness, gave Brown a very different account. It was Diana, Guinness says, who was "all over" Charles - "she was flirting, she was giggling...sitting on his lap".
The ambitious young Diana started to cultivate the Press, preening for photographers and buying newspapers and magazines by the armful so she could ogle herself.
"The shy Di is a myth," one photographer said. When a Sunday newspaper reported in November 1980 that she had spent two nights on the Royal "love train" with Charles, the Palace and Diana issued stern denials.
But Brown claims to have verified the trysts. They were witnessed, she says, by police officers assigned to protect the lovers. One of them leaked the story because he was outraged at the cost to taxpayers.
Brown also maintains that while Diana regarded her maidenhood as a commodity, Charles was "charmed and beguiled" by the seemingly innocent teenager.
Many years later, he would tell his friend and authorised biographer Jonathan Dimbleby that he married her only because of pressure from his father. But Brown says Charles rewrote history because he was so bitter about the failure of the marriage.
Aides to the Prince are quoted as insisting that he was in love, recalling instances such as the cold-lobster dinner at which he wooed Diana by candlelight.
Years after her death, he would wear a favourite pullover she gave him. "Diana bought it for me,' he said. "She had terribly good taste about those kind of things."
Diana's mother was always suspicious of her daughter's motives in marrying Charles. She feared Diana loved not the man, but the status he could bring her.
For instance, presented with a choice of engagement rings, to be paid for by the Queen, Diana picked out the biggest on the tray.
Diana told Morton that she discovered on the eve of her wedding that Charles still was seeing Camilla. She was so upset, she said, that she ate everything in sight, becoming as "sick as a parrot".
But the Queen Mother's page, William Tallon, has a very different memory of that night.
He told Brown that Diana spent the night giddily celebrating. He watched her ride a bike around the Clarence House grounds singing: "I'm going to marry the Prince of Wales tomorrow!"
Diana told Morton that a year into the marriage, and while pregnant with William, she was so distraught at the thought of Charles's infidelity that she tried to commit suicide by throwing herself downstairs at Sandringham.
In her initial version of the story, as relayed verbally to the loyal Colthurst, she said that the Queen found her.
Brown maintains that even Diana was alarmed at such a lie, and later in Morton's book she said it was the Queen Mother.
"Diana changed her mind because even she could see it was a bit dicey to include the sovereign of the realm in a made-up story," Brown writes, adding that members of staff at Sandringham now admit that the whole episode was, in fact, an accidental stumble.
One fact has always remained constant in the telling and retelling of the Diana story - that she became bulimic and Charles was unable to cope.
One aide recalled how Charles hurled her wedding ring at him. "Get it made smaller!" he barked.
Unable to tell the difference between truth and fantasy, Diana was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, a fact hinted at in the original Vanity Fair story.
But The Diana Chronicles goes much further in detailing the nastiness of the rows and the physical violence between the Royal couple.
Brown says that when Diana pelted Charles with shoes, the Prince often threw things back. Once, in a rage, he heaved an antique clock.
On another occasion at Althorp, Diana's family home, they shattered a mirror, damaged an 18th Century chair and broke a window.
Lucia van der Post, the daughter of Charles's mentor, Laurens van der Post, said her father recommended that Diana should visit a psychiatrist.
Despite the screaming matches, Diana made increasingly demeaning attempts to be a "turn-on" for Charles, asking Jasper Conran to design her sexy maternity clothes while she was pregnant with Harry in 1984.
After the birth she attempted to beguile the Prince with a private striptease, but Brown says it was too late. Her outbursts had driven him back to Camilla, who was delighted by her triumph over Diana, whom she considered "gormless".
Brown says the Queen ignored Charles's resumed dalliance, viewing adultery as a "regrettable weakness", while Diana's own romantic infatuations began with her bodyguard, Barry Mannakee.
She indulged in a succession of affairs with "interchangeable chinless wonders" - such as James Hewitt - whom Brown was told she chose because they were "boy toys" bowled over by her glamour.
The book says that while her charitable work gave her some of the satisfaction that she was unable to find in her relationships with men, she often deliberately timed her philanthropic appearances to upstage Charles.
Colthurst says that by the early Nineties, she was so bitter that he sometimes had to censor her more outrageous claims. "She was one very cross lady," he recalls.
Diana received a £17million divorce settlement from Charles. But despite her protestations of ordinariness, status was still important to her.
Her short-lived passion for heart surgeon Hasnat Khan floundered, Brown says, when she decided that he needed to become richer and more important. He angrily dumped her after she tried to line him up with a better job.
Towards the end of her life, Diana became increasingly paranoid, Brown says, making bizarre outbursts claiming that Prince Philip and other Royals wanted to kill her.
Diana told Brown that William was her closest confidant, but she feared that even he would be "Windsorised".
William, meanwhile, fought with his mother over her unseemly relationship with Dodi Fayed right until the end, leaving him devastated by her death. "They would never hug each other and say sorry again," the book says.
The tenth anniversary of Diana's death - and the much-delayed inquest in October - will surely prompt a renewed deluge of lurid claims and mawkish sentimentality.
Asked about the book yesterday, Brown denied taking a harsher view of the Princess than previous commentators.
"Not true at all," she said. "I think it's sympathetic to everyone actually. The book sees everyone from a very human point of view."
She declined to answer questions about specific allegations, saying: "You can wait for the content on that." But she added:
"I definitely think the portrait of Diana is one that has a lot of human generosity. Like everyone she's a combination of things and that's true of all the protagonists in the book."
The Diana Chronicles will certainly be controversial. But it will also puncture the myths surrounding Diana, many of which were propagated by herself.
And perhaps by giving a more balanced view of her life and marriage, it will allow The People's Princess finally to rest in peace.
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