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Profiles of Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Diana

Aired August 31, 2002 - 11:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, she is one of the most glamorous woman in Hollywood's history.

MICKEY ROONEY, CO-STAR, "NATIONAL VELVET": She had the essence of a growing, beautiful child, who was going to be more beautiful every day.


ANNOUNCER: A movie icon whose failed marriages and struggle with addiction has played out in public.


DARRYL HICKMAN, CHILDHOOD FRIEND: People have used Elizabeth and I think it's been very difficult for her.


ANNOUNCER: Now, she is one of the leading crusaders in the fight against AIDS.


ELIZABETH TAYLOR, ACTRESS, AIDS ACTIVIST: But that's not a practical answer.


ANNOUNCER: Legendary starlet, Elizabeth Taylor. Then, a woman the world will always remember as the People's Princess.


MARK SAUNDERS, LONDON PHOTOGRAPHER: I don't think she ever really understood quite how famous he was.


ANNOUNCER: She married young and died young.


LORD CHARLES SPENCER, BROTHER: It was almost as if she had to die before people realized what he had done.


ANNOUNCER: A rare glimpse into her life and the place she grew up from her brother, Lord Charles Spencer.


C. SPENCER: This is a woman who was very glamorous, but she was also a humanitarian.


ANNOUNCER: On the five-year anniversary of her death, a look at Princess Diana. Those stories and more now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

KYRA PHILLIPS, GUEST HOST: Welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. For Paula Zahn, I'm Kyra Phillips. If anyone has made the glare of celebrity their champion, their companion, it's Elizabeth Taylor. From adoration and acclaim to gossip and innuendo, Taylor has always seemed to command the spotlight and while she's more recognized today for her charity work, she remains to many, the ultimate movie star. Here's Sharon Collins.



TAYLOR: Do you know what I feel like? I feel all the time like a cat on a hot tin roof.

PAUL NEWMAN, ACTOR: Then jump off the roof, Maggie, jump off.


SHARON COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A frustrated wife in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof..."


ROONEY: Hang on Velvet! Come on fight!


COLLINS: ... and a young jockey in "National Velvet." Elizabeth Taylor's had roles in more than 40 movies. Two Oscars, seven husbands and several life-threatening conditions later, it seems Taylor, at the age of 70, has finally settled into the role she was born to play, that of a crusader in the fight against AIDS.

TAYLOR: We need more money for AIDS and we need it now. We must not spread fear or panic in our education. We are at war with a virus. We must not be at war with each other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Miss Elizabeth Taylor.

COLLINS: After spending over a half century on screen, Taylor is putting her enormous fame to work off screen.

TAYLOR: Enough is enough.


COLLINS: Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born in London, February 27, 1932 to American parents. The family fled at the start of World War II and by 1940, they were in southern California and Elizabeth was in pictures, becoming a contract player for MGM Studios.

TAYLOR: I want to be a famous rider.

COLLINS: In 1944, "National Velvet" made Elizabeth Taylor a reluctant sensation at the age of 12.

HICKMAN: The truth of it is, the worst way to grow up ever is to be a child actor. It was very difficult to be treated the way she was treated. The studio used her. I think probably her parents used her. I think the public used her. I think the media has used her. I think people have used Elizabeth and I think it's been very difficult for her.

ROONEY: She wasn't a kid in "National Velvet." She had the essence of a growing, beautiful child who was going to be more beautiful every day.

HICKMAN: She suddenly became a woman. I guess it was happening. We were all under contract together, but one day I saw her as a girl and then the next day -- she must have been 14 or 15 -- suddenly, there was this most beautiful woman I ever saw.

GEORGE HAMILTON, FRIEND: First of all, this is magnetism in these eyes that are a color that you really can't -- really can't explain. They don't even show up in the film. You see them in life and you go, "Wow!"


COLLINS: A beauty that was on full display opposite Montgomery Clift in her 1951 picture, "A Place in The Sun".


TAYLOR: Hello.



HICKMAN: And then, her career went in such a way that she became beyond where most of us were and I'm -- maybe I have no right to say this, I'm not sure that it ever made her that comfortable.

TAYLOR: I'd like you to meet my new dog, Bonko (ph).

COLLINS: When we return, Elizabeth Taylor all grown up now goes into a life of celebrity, chaos and heart break.


ANNOUNCER: And later, on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, a royal remembered by those closet to her.


C. SPENCER: I said, "I've got some awful news for you, I'm afraid. I'm afraid Aunt Diana is dead. And then, one of my little twins looked at me and smiled, and she just said, "Not real live, Daddy."


ANNOUNCER: Princess Diana, five years after her death, an intimate look back. That still ahead on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.




COLLINS (voice-over): With Elizabeth Taylor, MGM brass knew they had a star on hair hands and as luck would have it, her May 1950 wedding to Conrad Nicholas Hilton, heir to the Hilton hotel fortune, coincided with the release of "Father of The Bride."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I pronounce that they are man and wife in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

COLLINS: To ensure a fairly tale event, the studio went so far as to design the 18-year-old Taylor's wedding dress, dress her bridesmaids and arrange the flowers.

CONRAD NICHOLAS HILTON, FIRST HUSBAND: Well, we're looking forward to a very wonderful trip and I know that my bride and myself are going to have a wonderful time in Europe. Honey, what about it?

TAYLOR: Well, I certainly am looking forward to it.

HICKMAN: I knew Nicky and I liked Nicky. But Nicky was a difficult -- had a difficult life himself.

COLLINS: And it was a difficult marriage. Less than six months passed before it was over.

VAN JOHNSON, ACTOR: Norman Crasel (ph) looked at Elizabeth one day, our director, and he said, "Elizabeth, I think you're in for a very tempestuous life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What day are you getting married, Mr. Wilding?

MICHAEL WILDING, ACTOR: Well, I hope to God -- I hope Friday, maybe Saturday. But I hope for Friday, even Thursday if I can.

COLLINS: It was Michael Wilding, a popular British actor, who next would woo Elizabeth Taylor and win her. Twenty years his junior, she was still only 19 years old when she married him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: London Airport and arriving in Britain is film star Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Wilding. They've come to spend a holiday at home and to have blue-eyed, seven-month-old son, Michael, christened.

COLLINS: The Wildings were happy enough for a time. They had two sons, Michael born in 1953 and Christopher sharing his mother's birthday in February of 1955.


TAYLOR: Please do go on talking. I'd love it.


COLLINS: Later that year, Taylor was shooting "Giant," playing opposite heartthrob, Rock Hudson, and a young upstart named James Dean.


JAMES DEAN, CO-STAR, "GIANT": And I guess you're about the best- looking gal we've seen around here in a long time.


COLLINS: Twenty-four-year-old Dean and 23-year-old Taylor bonded off screen. It was a friendship that would end abruptly with Dean's tragic death.

DENNIS HOPPER, ACTOR: Jimmy died at the -- two weeks before we finished the movie. And I remember Elizabeth was very close to Jimmy and she would come in and get ready to work and then she would just fall apart and have to be sedated and start crying hysterically and have to be taken off the set.

COLLINS: It wouldn't be the first time Elizabeth Taylor would lose a man she loved. By "Giant's" premier, one year later, her relationship with Michael Wilding was over and she was on to the next, a hot romance with extravagant showman, Mike Todd.

TAYLOR: The day after my separation with Michael Wilding, Mike called me and said he had to see me right away. He just told me. And Mike just charged in. I mean rather like a bull, he just charged in without saying a word to anyone. And he came over to the table and he grabbed me by the arm. He sort of plopped me down on the couch, pulled a chair around and started in on a spiel that lasted about an hour and a half without a stop, saying that he loved me and that there was no question about it, but we were going to be married. So I was absolutely sort of hypnotized.

COLLINS: Twenty-four-year-old Elizabeth Taylor married for the third time, becoming Mrs. Mike Todd on February 2, 1957.

TAYLOR: When Mike bought me my engagement ring, I think he was almost as proud of it as I was. But he always used to make a joke about it, saying that it was 29 and seven-eighths carets because 30 would have been vulgar. I call it my ice skating rink.

TOM MANKIEWICZ, DIRECTOR: He was a larger than life character and from everybody's perception at the time, he was the man who could tame her. He, Mike Todd, was never shy about turning to her in public and saying, "Shut up." And for somebody like that, I think it was a very refreshing -- there was no question that even though she was the biggest star in the world, he was a star.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you suggest a good fight now and then to married couples, Mike?

MIKE TODD, PRODUCER: Well, we're not introverts. We -- if we have something to say, I say, "Hey Liz." And she's always, "Hey Mike" and I -- and if you make a Dreyfus case out of that, then it's too bad. But we're very -- well, I -- we're so happy...

TAYLOR: It doesn't matter. I don't really care what anybody thinks anyway because we know. And we'll know 20 or 30 years from now if we're still alive.

COLLINS: The loving couple had a daughter, Liza, on the sixth of August 1957, but before her first birthday, she would lose her father.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the private plane named for his wife, the drama of the showman reaches fini. He was rarely without her as in these last films of him alive. Mike Todd left Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood because she had a virus and flew to his death in an isolated mountain valley 22 miles southwest of Grants, New Mexico.

COLLINS: A widow at 26, Elizabeth Taylor found comfort in singer, Eddie Fisher, who had been a close friend of the Todds. There was one catch though -- Fisher was married to Debbie Reynolds. Sympathy for Elizabeth Taylor was short-lived. The public was appalled when Fisher left America's sweetheart to take up with Taylor.

HAMILTON: What's charming about Elizabeth Taylor is that just when you think that she can live without a man, that's when a man becomes the most necessary thing in her life.

COLLINS: She converted to Judaism and married Eddie Fisher in Las Vegas in 1959.


TAYLOR: How much are you willing to pay for that...


COLLINS: Despite her chaotic personal life, Elizabeth Taylor was flourishing as an actress, sharing the screen that year with two of Hollywood's heavyweights in "Suddenly Last Summer."

MANKIEWICZ: But I do think "Suddenly Last Summer" is her best performance. It's just extraordinary and sometimes a little overlooked because she's always on the screen with Kate Hepburn and Montgomery Clift and some, but she's the one that's dishing it out and doing it. She's terrific in that picture.

COLLINS: After "Suddenly Last Summer," Elizabeth Taylor became the first seven-figure actress demanding and getting an unprecedented $1 million to play "Cleopatra" for 20th Century Fox. But before MGM would release her from her contract, Taylor was forced to make a film she would always dislike, "Butterfield 8" in which she played a call girl.

Finally, in late 1960, she went to London to film "Cleopatra." London was cold and rainy. A fragile Taylor became ill not once but twice. The second time with a viral pneumonia that nearly killed her.

MANKIEWICZ: She could get so sick so quickly, I remember, and where other people would just get a cold, she would have pneumonia.

COLLINS: In April of 1961, one month after an emergency tracheotomy saved her life, Elizabeth Taylor accepted her first Oscar for "Butterfield 8." She had won not only the Academy Award but the affection of her public again.


RICHARD BURTON, CO-STAR, "CLEOPATRA": Nothing like this has come into Rome since Romulus and Remus.


COLLINS: In September of 1961, "Cleopatra" resumed shooting this time in Rome with Richard Burton playing Marc Anthony. The film was epic in every regard, including the real life love affair that erupted between Taylor and Burton. Again, lives and marriages would be torn apart, his to Sybil Burton, mother of his two small children, and hers to Eddie Fisher.

MARTIN LANDAU, CO-STAR, "CLEOPATRA": I walked into makeup at 7:30 in the morning and Elizabeth was sitting in the makeup department. Richard came in and said, "Morning, Martin," went to her and kissed her on the forehead, and sat down in the chair next to me, and I said, "Oh, boy. Oh, my God."

COLLINS: It was the first relationship lived out under the prying eyes of the paparazzi and a huge international scandal.

MANKIEWICZ: The Vatican denounced it, and we're in Rome. Several members of Congress got on the floor to propose taking away her passport. Press credentials to get on to the set of "Cleopatra" were worth I don't know what on the black market. How somebody lives through that with a sense of humor and yet obviously with all kinds of things really wrenching her, but how she navigated through it, how she didn't just toss it in or whatever, I don't know. COLLINS: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were free to marry in 1964. They worked together again in 1966 in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" The movie seemed to mirror their often rocky off- screen relationship.


TAYLOR: You married me for it!

RICHARD BURTON, ACTOR: You're a monster.


COLLINS: It also earned Taylor her second Oscar.


TAYLOR: But I am not a monster!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do you think your relationship with Richard Burton was so fiery? Was it temperament or was it just the booze?

TAYLOR: No, I think we were two very volatile people. As a matter of fact, we were like two atom bombs and when we'd go off together, there'd be this tremendous explosion, but we'd come down together and we didn't sulk and we didn't pout and it never lasted. And we had a ball fighting.

COLLINS: They would marry twice, finally divorcing for the second time in 1976, but the mystique of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton never disappeared.

KATE BURTON, DAUGHTER OF RICHARD BURTON: They were such a corporation there for a while, that I mean, you know, they both went to much more low-key relationships after each other, understandably.

COLLINS: Taylor retreated from the Hollywood spotlight to the horse country of Virginia, taking up with politician John Warner. But after five years as the wife of a United States senator, Elizabeth Taylor realized her seventh marriage was a mismatch.

Warner and Taylor divorced in 1982, when she was 50 years old. A year later, Burton died of a stroke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know you don't have regrets, because that's not your style, but do you somehow wish that you had been reunited with Richard Burton?

TAYLOR: I'm sure we will be one day.

COLLINS: For Elizabeth Taylor the struggles would continue, but so would her determination. When we return, Taylor takes on a new challenge late in life. TAYLOR: We have only one weapon to combat the spread of AIDS. That weapon is education.


PHILLIPS: Elizabeth Taylor uses passion to reinvent herself yet again, when PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, but first here's this week's "Passages."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he hear the rap, rap, rapping on his hyperbolic chamber door? The king of pop is apparently ready to play the king of the macabre. According to friends, Michael Jackson has signed on to play poet, Edgar Allen Poe, in an upcoming movie. Marlon Brando will reportedly coach Jacko for the starring turn. No wonder they're calling it "The Nightmare of Edgar Allen Poe."

It's looks like the new district attorney for "Law and Order" has a bit more on his resume than summer stock. Retiring Senator Fred Thompson will be joining the case of the drama this season, replacing Dianne Wiest. Now, Thompson is not a novice to acting though. He has appeared in movies like "In The Line of Fire" and "The Hunt For Red October."

Come and listen to a story about some real life Beverly Hillbillies. CBS has announced the network will soon be casting for a Beverly Hillbillies reality show. Like the Clampetts, a rural family picked to live in a posh California neighborhood without having to hit any bubble and crude. You can just see people practicing their hillbilly wave, Clampett style, at trailer parks across the country. For more celebrity news, that is, pick up a copy of "PEOPLE" magazine this week. We'll be right back.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Miss Elizabeth Taylor.

COLLINS (voice-over): The '80s was a decade of extremes for Elizabeth Taylor.

TAYLOR: Where passion rules, how weak does reason prove? You'll see.

COLLINS: Taylor launched two of the most successful perfumes in history, but her acting career seemed to disappear and the media became consumed with her unusual friendships and her battles with weight. By 1983, Elizabeth Taylor was clearly unhealthy. She was an alcoholic and she was addicted to pills. After a family intervention, she checked herself into the Betty Ford clinic.

TAYLOR: I admitted to myself that I was an alcoholic and I had a problem with prescription pills. And in order to survive, in order to live, I had to change that.

COLLINS: During a second stay at Betty Ford, Taylor met construction worker Larry Fortensky. Many people were bewildered by their relationship, but in 1991, at age 59, Elizabeth Taylor, now a grandmother of eight, married the 39-year-old Fortensky at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. Four-and-a-half years later, her eighth marriage was over.

No longer someone's wife, Taylor immersed herself in the fight against AIDS, something she had been passionate about for some time. Taylor co-founded AMFAR, the American Foundation for AIDS Research, in 1985. It was the same year her dear friend and former co-star Rock Hudson died as a result of the disease. In 1991, the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation was formed, raising more than $8 million to date for AIDS service organizations around the world.

And in 1992, she was recognized with the Gene Hersholt Humanitarian Oscar.

TAYLOR: It's all fine and well to say, "Abstain from sex," but that's not a practical answer.

COLLINS: From testifying on Capitol Hill to lobbying politicians for research money, Taylor never minced words when fighting for the cause, once saying that then-president George Bush didn't even know how to spell AIDS.

TAYLOR: AIDS education must be forthright and understandable.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Elizabeth Taylor has brought to life unforgettable characters on film. But she has brought even more hope to millions around the world. We thank her for sharing her talent and her heart. Thank you, Elizabeth Taylor.

COLLINS: In 2001, her humanitarian work earned Elizabeth Taylor the Presidential Citizen's Medal, but no honor was greater for the British native than the dameship bestowed upon her by Queen Elizabeth one year earlier.

TAYLOR: It is the most exciting -- and I do not exaggerate -- day of my life.

COLLINS: And as she enjoys her seventieth year...

TAYLOR: I'm a great-great grandmother.

COLLINS: It's clear Elizabeth Taylor has no intention of slowing down.

TAYLOR: I feel wonderful! And world, watch out!


PHILLIPS: Although Elizabeth Taylor says she's not quite ready to write her autobiography, she does have a new book due out October 1 that's very close to her heart. It's about one of Taylor's legendary passions, her love affair with jewelry. The book includes the story of Taylor's thirty-three-and-a-third carat square diamond, the one she received as a gift from actor, Richard Burton.

ANNOUNCER: Coming up on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, Princess Diana gone, but not forgotten.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not so sure that there will ever be another Diana.


ANNOUNCER: Memories of the People's Princess when we return.


PHILLIPS: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Five years after her death, Princess Diana remains one of the most intriguing figures of the last quarter century. A recent poll by the British Broadcasting Company even goes so far as to name her one of the greatest Britons of all time. It's a testament to Diana's enduring legacy, the lives she's touched, and the causes she stood for. As we remember Princess Di this week, her brother Lord Charles Spencer offers Steven Frazier a unique glimpse into the life of the People's Princess.


C. SPENCER: All over the world, she was the symbol of selfless humanity, a standard bearer for the rights of the truly downtrodden.

STEVEN FRAZIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): As I walk around here, I'm more and more impressed with the fact that coming from all this comfort and privilege, all this private beauty, that she had developed such an ability to sense that people lived less fortunate lives, and she had become such a champion for them.

C. SPENCER: She came from a rich heritage where, you know, snootiness had no place. You judged people on what they were like and you did your bit for other people. She never lost touch with what we were all about, which is to be open and to accept people for what they are.

Wherever I go, I hear about people's affection for her. And actually in one of the rooms here, we've got 14,000 condolence books from all over the world. And I think that proves the huge appeal she had. And it certainly seems to have survived.

She had such quality, such style, such beauty.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She brought some sort of freshness into the royal family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not too sure that there will ever be another Diana. FRAZIER (voice-over): Princess Diana, for a long time the most famous woman in the world.

SAUNDERS: I don't think she ever really understood quite how famous she was.

LADY COLIN CAMPBELL, BIOGRAPHER, "THE REAL DIANA": I think in some ways she was like Jackie, someone who's absolutely perfect for the time.

C. SPENCER: She'll never grow old. Just as the movie icons, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, they never grew old.

FRAZIER: Christened Diana Frances Spencer, the future princess was born July 1, 1961. She was born to the daughter of a baron and to Lord Althorp, who would become the eighth earl of Spencer. There were older sisters Sara and Jane, and later, little brother Charles.

The Spencers lived a life of luxury. They spent their early years at Park House, a 10-room mansion on the queen's country estate in Sandringham, Norfolk. The boy next door was her future husband.

Prince Charles was 12 years older than Diana, so she played with royal children more her own age, Charles's younger brothers, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward.

Her privileged upbringing did not guarantee a happy childhood, though. In 1969, Diana was traumatized by her parents' public and bitter divorce, completed when she was seven.

CAMPBELL: She was being pulled back and forth between both parents, who were using her and her brother, Charles, in a war of attrition, and she was effectively a hostage in this war.

FRAZIER: Her father, by then Earl Spencer, won custody of the children. So when Diana was 13, she and her siblings moved to the Spencer family home at Althorp, a 14,000-acre country estate 75 miles north of London.

C. SPENCER: This whole room is surrounded by family portraits, going back 400 or 500 years. And actually it's nice to know, you know, I mean, people are always interested in their roots, but it's so good to be able to look around and actually place a face with these characters and sort of understand them.

FRAZIER (on-camera): This whole row is of women, and you said sometimes Spencer women are more interesting than men.

C. SPENCER: The women have been more interesting as personalities, certainly, much more feisty and individual.

FRAZIER (voice-over): She enrolled in the fashionable West Heath boarding school, where they called her Lady Diana because her father was an earl. Although described as a mediocre student, Diana showed talent in music and dancing. C. SPENCER: And I remember one of her great fads for a couple of years was tap dancing. And in fact, the main hall was for the working hall, and that's -- it's got this wonderful marble floor, and it was perfect for that.

FRAZIER: At age 16, Diana's path once again crossed that of the Prince of Wales. He was 28.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was your instant impression about her to you? What do you like about Lady Diana?

PRINCE CHARLES, WALES: Well, I remember thinking what a very jolly and amusing and attractive 16-year-old she was. And, I mean, great fun, and bouncy and full of life and everything. And I don't know what you thought of me.

LADY DIANA SPENCER: Pretty amazing.


FRAZIER: In 1979, Diana was 18 and bored with life at Althorp. She moved to London and found work as a nanny, then as a kindergarten teacher.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you go into teaching? What made you -- what prompted you?

D. SPENCER: Well, you know, I adore children. It just seemed to appeal to me.

FRAZIER: In the summer of 1980, a phone call changed the course of her life. It was Prince Charles, asking for a date. She watched the prince play polo and spent time with him on the royal yacht. Soon Diana was seeing the prince, and that meant dealing with the press.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How well are you coping with all the press attention?

D. SPENCER: Well, as you can see, you can tell.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you bearing up with it quite well, though, because it must be quite a strain with all of us after you?

D. SPENCER: Well, it is, naturally.

MARLENE EILERS, ROYAL GENEALOGIST: Can you imagine coming out of a door and finding 16 photographers, all flashes in your face, and not having ever seen this before?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want the window down for a picture.

EILERS: No matter what she did, the press wanted to be there.

FRAZIER: Just six months after their polo outing, Charles proposed to Diana following a candlelit dinner for two at Buckingham Palace. PRINCE CHARLES: I'm amazed that she's been brave enough to take me on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And, I suppose, in love.

D. SPENCER: Of course.

PRINCE CHARLES: Whatever "in love" means.

FRAZIER: Buckingham Palace announced the engagement. Diana was the first English girl in 300 years to become Princess of Wales.

LADY RAINE, DIANA'S STEPMOTHER: And they both look so happy, don't they, darling? Diana looks beautiful.


LADY RAINE: She looks beautiful.

J. SPENCER: Diana is lovely, and I must say, I've never seen her look better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she's just the right person for him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why have you come here today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To try and get a glimpse of Diana and Charles.

FRAZIER: The world got more than a glimpse. Crowds packed the London streets, and worldwide millions watched on television as Charles and Diana exchanged vows at St. Paul's Cathedral, July 29, 1981.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I, Diana Frances...

D. SPENCER: I, Diana Frances...

FRAZIER: But Lady Diana's fairy tale romance and marriage would not have a storybook ending. When the story of the princess continues, Diana, struggling with her new husband and her new role as princess.



D. SPENCER: I understood the media might be interested in what I did, but I was not aware of how overwhelming that attention would become.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody had gone completely Diana-mad. It was amazing, the sort of mania about her.

FRAZIER (voice-over): Gone completely Diana-mad, and it didn't end with the wedding.

SAUNDERS: I don't think she understood the worldwide demand. I don't think she ever really understood quite how famous she was.

FRAZIER: Less than a year after the royal wedding, an heir to the throne.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we see the baby?

FRAZIER: Diana gave birth to William Arthur Philip Louis on June 21, 1982.


FRAZIER: Two years after, his brother, Prince Harry, Henry Charles Albert David, came into the world. These appeared to be happy times for the royal couple, but soon there were indications of strains in the marriage.

JAYNE FINCHER, ROYAL PHOTOGRAPHER: There were signs that were from about '86 onwards, and you would see them, and they'd look really miserable at times, and she would look really, really miserable.

CAMPBELL: She said that she was in a prison behind bars. She just couldn't stand being caged any longer.

FRAZIER: The princess struggled with an eating disorder and depression.

CAMPBELL: The tremendous pressures of world fame on someone who had a very fragile personality to begin with, and she started to collapse and crack up as a personality.

FRAZIER: But instead of completely collapsing, Diana decided to use her fame and the media to her advantage. There were magazines, fashion shows, celebrities, and public appearances. Diana became an activist for dozens of causes. She raised money for cancer, the homeless, for leprosy, the English National Ballet. She was most passionate about children and AIDS charities.

D. SPENCER: HIV does not make people dangerous to man, so you can shake their hands and give them a hug. Heaven knows they need it.

ANDREW PARKIS, DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES MEMORIAL FUND: The image of her holding hands with somebody with HIV/AIDS, and that shattered a lot of the stigma and prejudice and fear that surrounded HIV/AIDS in the early days. FRAZIER: Attention was once again focused on her failing marriage in the 1992 book "Diana." It included allegations of Prince Charles's long-running affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles. By December of '92, Prince Charles and Diana had agreed to a legal separation.

In 1993, Diana spoke out against the press. She said the media were partly to blame for the failure of her marriage.

D. SPENCER: Their attention would inevitably focus on both our private and public lives. But I was not aware of how overwhelming that attention would become nor the extent to which it would affect both my public duties and my personal life.

I'm going to ask you to respect my children both.

FRAZIER: After the separation, Diana appeared more at ease with the press and with herself, acting more confident.

CAMPBELL: The freedom that she had while she was out of her cage gave her a feeling of strength. It empowered her.

FRAZIER: In 1995, she spoke critically of the royal family. Diana said the monarchy needed updating and said she had begun showing her sons the less fortunate among their future subjects.

D. SPENCER: I've taken William and Harry to people dying of AIDS, albeit I told them it was cancer. I've taken the children to all sorts of areas where I'm not sure anyone of that age in this family's been before.

FRAZIER: And although Diana said, she'd rather not divorce Prince Charles...

D. SPENCER: When you've had divorced parents, like myself, you'd want to try even harder to make it work.

FRAZIER: ... it was just one month later she received a letter from the queen, which suggested that for the sake of the children, Diana and Charles should be divorced sooner rather than later. The divorce was final in August 1996. Diana won a settlement estimated at $27 million, but lost the right to the title "Her Royal Highness."

After the divorce, Diana dug into more charity work, making appearances in support of a ban on antipersonnel land mines.

C. SPENCER: I don't think that people would have signed up to being rid of land mines if she hadn't focused attention on it.

FRAZIER: Romantically, Diana was linked to Dodi Fayed, the 42- year-old son of wealthy businessman Muhammad al-Fayed.

CAMPBELL: But he was very soft, he was very sweet, and he gave Diana all the attention she lusted after.

FRAZIER: Dubbed "The Princess and The Playboy," they were pictured in Britain's tabloid newspapers. In August 1997, eight weeks after her 36th birthday, Diana joined Fayed for a vacation in Paris.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Diana, Princess of Wales, has died after a car crash in Paris.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The death of the princess of Wales fills us all with very deep shock and with deep grief.

C. SPENCER: I called my middle sister, Jane, whose husband worked for the queen, and while I was talking to her, I could hear him on the other line. And I heard him just go, "Oh, no." And then Jane said, "I'm afraid that's it. I'm afraid she's dead."

FRAZIER: In the early morning hours of August 31, Diana and Fayed died in a car crash as they sped to elude paparazzi, including photographers on motorcycles.

C. SPENCER: And I was sitting there in the kitchen at home, and then, my three little daughters came running through. And I said, "I've got some awful news for you, I'm afraid. I'm afraid Aunt Diana's dead." And then one of my little twins looked up at me and smiled and she just said, "Not in real life, Daddy."

FRAZIER: On the day of her funeral, millions of people lined the streets of London to say goodbye. A gun carriage carried Diana's body from her home at Kensington Palace to Westminster Abbey. Prince Charles, Diana's brother, Charles, and sons William and Harry walked behind. Attached to a wreath on her coffin, a letter from son to mother. Diana was laid to rest at the Spencer family estate at Althorp.

When our story continues, how the work and spirit of Diana live on.



C. SPENCER: It was almost as if she had to die before people realized what she had done. And we find people who come here and go away with a sense that, you know, this was a woman who was very glamorous, but she was also a humanitarian.





FRAZIER (voice-over): During her lifetime, Princess Diana was the best-known woman in the world. Less known was her humanitarian work, as extensive as anyone's during the past two decades.

C. SPENCER: It was easy to see the cover of "People" magazine -- I gather she was on the front 80-odd times -- and see the glamorous dresses or the marital difficulties or whatever. But to get to the substance of her work, you know, it was almost as if she had to die before people realized what she had done.

FRAZIER: The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund was set up only five days after she died.

PARKIS: We will try to prioritize some of the most disadvantaged people of all who have to struggle with stigma and prejudice as well as physical suffering, because she did.

FRAZIER: The memorial foundation, which has raised almost $70 million, distributes funds to dozens of causes Diana took up -- AIDS prevention, the hospice movement, and land mine clearance.

PARKIS: We try and do that in some of the most difficult areas, for example, on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. We feel that that is in the tradition shown to us by Diana, Princess of Wales.

C. SPENCER: As it's gone on, the memorial fund's done quite a lot of good, in fact, and it's really sought out the difficult causes and helped them like Diana did. She went for the messy ones, the complicated ones, the frightening ones, and made them her own.

FRAZIER: The princess's true living legacies, though, are her two sons, Princes William and Harry.

C. SPENCER: Her role as mother to those two boys, that was probably the most important thing to her.

FRAZIER: Diana tried to show her boys there was a harsher side to life for many of their future subjects.

CAMPBELL: She never once say -- have to say, to her credit, ever tried to strip them of their royalty. She always tried to top up the royal gloss with dashes of ordinariness, to make them be better royals.

FRAZIER: But teenage girls find the royal Prince William anything but ordinary.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: And I love him. And he said "hi" and he shook my hand.

FRAZIER: Prince William has emerged as one of the most popular royals thanks to his public appearances and teen idol looks. Now, 20, Prince William's studies art history at St. Andrew's University.

Prince Harry is as big a draw as his brother when it comes to the company of girls. The 17-year-old is starting his final year at Eton. Like his mother, Prince Harry loves music and sports, and has a common touch.

CAMPBELL: I think they've taken her lessons to heart in the way they relate to people and the way they treat people naturally, the way they don't stand on ceremony.

C. SPENCER: I really adore those boys.

PRINCE WILLIAM, DIANA'S SON: Thank you so much. Thank you.

C. SPENCER: What I always stress to them is that I'm just always here, and that they can bounce anything off me. And that's all I can do. Unfortunately, it's -- you know, I can't bring their mother back, but I can do what I can as an uncle.

FRAZIER: Lord Spencer has taken up some of his sister's causes, touring hospitals and visiting land mine victims in Cambodia. But it is at Althorp where his devotion to her legacy is most apparent, in his choice of her resting place on the island in the lake.

C. SPENCER: Why I really decided on this place for her resting place was because this has the tranquility. This island has it's own special atmosphere.

FRAZIER: And with a new exhibition celebrating her life that opened last year on what have been her 40th birthday, visitors can see home video of the princess, letters she wrote as a child, and the silk taffeta gown she wore for her wedding.

C. SPENCER: I really do appreciate everything she did, and I'm immensely proud of her. But you can't be a heroine to your younger brother. You're just a sister. And so, I see her through those eyes only, really. And I try and see the superstar bit through other people's eyes, but she's still Diana, you know. And that's a good thing. That's a good memory.


PHILLIPS: It took five years, but it looks as if a long proposed tribute fountain honoring Princess Diana will finally be getting underway. The memorial in London's Hyde Park is supposed to be completed August 31 of next year, the sixth anniversary of Diana's death. That's it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

Coming up next week, heroes and survivors: remarkable stories from 9/11. I'm Kyra Phillips. Thanks for joining us. See you next week.




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