q: How much access did Michael Shea facilitate and encourage of the Wales in
the early part of their marriage?
a: Michael knew it was important that the couple were shown. You were
watching a renaissance of the Royal Family. The Royal Family up until then had
been fairly dull and deadly boring and they were very much in the background of
British life. Suddenly - the Royal Family were enjoying this. By the way, the
Queen thought this was wonderful, Diana coming along. It was, there was a
nuisance part to it but suddenly the Royal Family were popular round the world
and Michael wanted us to be there for lots of the official occasions. If we
went to Wales in the pouring wet, Diana would come out with a feather stuck to
her face and do all the business there. When we went on tour, when we did all
the tour stuff they would arrange photocalls with the dailies back at
Government House on the lawn. There was lots of our stuff organized. There was
as much as a paper could use.
q: Did you go on the 1988 tour of Australia? Did Diana upstage her husband
a: Diana from day one had upstaged Prince Charles. It wasn't a simple
development. Up until then Charles was listed as one of the most eligible men
in the world. He had lots going for him. He was single. He was fit. He was a
polo player. He was interesting and obviously a very rich intelligent man and
he was the focus of all the photographers. The Princess of Wales came onto the
scene and Charles was forgotten. He really was. I think he was peeked a few
times because he'd be walking down one side of the street in Sydney and Diana
would be in the other and people would be shouting through him to Diana on the
other side of the street, "Di, Di, Di, over here." And Charles, you know, it
was all very new and all very fresh, would go across the street and bring her
back and swap sides. And there was an outrage from the other side when he
would do this. Diana was the one that was wanted. They wanted to see her.
They wanted to look at her dresses. She just overwhelmed anything that Charles
ever did. He must have been hurt by it sometimes.
We have a thing about the funny hats day. When a trip got boring, we used to
say "It's time to get the funny hats out sir" and it was a bit of a joke
between him and us and he used to wear fezes, all sorts of things, cork hats,
cowboy hats, Indian outfits, and whenever a trip was really boring he used to
get one of these on for us to show that he was in Canada with the headdresses
and so on. And Charles was in a fit of peek about doing these things but he
did them. He did the cork hat etc. etc..
Then Diana upstaged all that by playing the piano badly and giggling and
people got Diana speaking properly for the first time by shoving microphones
all round the piano and she was laughing and giggling and she just looked
sensational. And here was this nineteen, twenty year old girl now who would
collapse in a fit of the giggles. This was something different. Whereas
Charles would strut about with his hands behind his back, looking rather
embarrassed, put on a hat with some corks and hate it. But Diana just looked
great whatever she did. So, Charles wore a corked hat -- Australian style --
all dangling round. It was a great picture. We'd done similar pictures before.
In fact we've given up whole days to take pictures like that. He did it that
day and we all took lots of photographs but about an hour later they were
sitting on a platform waiting for some mayor of some small town in North
Australia to make a boring speech and the couple were going to open a hundred
yard stretch of road, which had been specially built for them. Diana, sitting
on the platform in the heat, crossed her legs with a short beige colored silk
suit on. There must have been a hundred and fifty photographers spread along a
sort of esplanade sized stand in front of them. Every photographer knew to
photograph Diana's legs you had to be on this side and they all ran from that
side down to squash up the photographers on this side. It was almost a major
incident because the stand started to lift out of the ground on the left-hand
side and all the photographers who were in great position to start with were
cursing the fact that everyone else was climbing over the top of them from the
wrong side and that was the first time. Diana used to sit there demurely with
her feet and ankles together and knees together and this day, I think without
thinking in the heat, she crossed her legs. Well it was a sensational picture.
It was the first time we'd seen the Royal thigh properly and that was the
picture in all the papers. I think "Diana Her Royal Highness" I think the
q: When you were touring with Prince Charles, how would he react when he was
angry with you?
a: Prince Charles came off a ski slope in Cloisters one day, at the end of a
day, round about three o'clock in the afternoon, the light beginning to fade,
and I was waiting for him. James Whitaker had a story about Charles and we
wanted that day's picture. And normally we would go up the mountain with him
in the morning, take pictures of him putting on his skis, jumping on the first
lift or whatever it was and leave him alone. Well we got down and I think he'd
had a fairly miserable day skiing. The snow wasn't very good and he just
didn't look the happy chap when he came down. He has a temper and he saw me
and skied hard to get to me across this car park. Eventually he abandoned his
skis and I was still a good sixty, seventy feet from him, and he jumped out of
his skis and hobbled after me on his ski, and I kept photographing him all the
way up not knowing. I thought there was someone behind me that he was going to
walk to. And when he got up to me he said, "You're the biggest pest I've ever
come across." I was quite taken aback, not because I wasn't a big pest but
because the incident was such a small one. He was livid. I think his day's
skiing was bad. I think everything was pent up. He saw me at the end and
wanted to take it out on somebody but even then he couldn't get it out. I mean
if he'd really wanted to do it he should have kicked me up the rear end or
thrown my camera into the river but he didn't. He, all he could say, he's such
a controlled man, was that you're the biggest pest I've ever come across and he
didn't get the anger out. I mean if he'd really exploded all over me, and I
walked away a bit bewildered and he walked away still fuming with anger.
q: What was the impact of the Andrew Morton book on you?
a: I knew Morton and admired him. I thought he was very, very good. I thought
he was an intelligent man with a lot of charisma, a lot of style. He had upset
some of the Royal hierarchy for writing. He was a Johnny-come-lately but he'd
been fairly successful and he was a bit driven about doing the job and he was
ambitious and he was talented and he was obviously going to go some place. I
heard Morton was doing the book. He'd done other books, fairly minor books,
books about the Royal Family and I heard he was doing something special and he
I'd gone to the Mirror by that stage and I think he had just been fired from
the Star for writing yet another book. I knew there was something cooking.
Then the word started to come out what it was all about. Papers were clamoring
to buy it. We got some of the gist of it and of course there was a synopsis
put round the papers offering it for sale. So the word was on the street that
this was a sensational book. Most of the older more senior Royal rat packers
were writing it off saying it was drivel he was writing, catching his facts
like a fish out of fresh air -- he was writing too much into it. I didn't
believe that. I thought Morton was too good to do that and I didn't think he
would be silly. Anyway we went to interview Andrew with a Mirror Royal man,
We were invited to go and interview Andrew about the book and I was
accompanied on the job with Harry Arnold and we went to Morton's office and all
through the interview Harry was poo-pooing Andrew and I watched Andrew's body
language throughout that and he was sweating profusely and sticking to his
stories and Harry was picking on him, "You weren't there on that day. How do
you know about such and such? How do you know about such and such?" But I was
listening to Morton and I was listening and saying my God, that information is
too good. Someone was feeding him all of this and although he denies it --
it was obvious that the Princess of Wales fed him every word. It is her story.
He calls it her story and it couldn't have been done by anyone else and I was
just sat there open-mouthed. And as we got up to leave Harry was unconvinced
by Andrew. I turned to Andrew and said "That's terrific. That is sensational."
And he looked at me and I think he'd had maybe his fifth interview with a
hostile reporter and he looked at me and said "Phew, I don't know what's going
to happen." He was really rattled by it all at this stage and I think
everyone was trying to pan another newspaper story, especially the Sunday Times
(they had excerpted his book).
But a few weeks later I think he was totally vindicated. A couple of weeks
after the interview I had with him I got a phone call at home in Chelsea
inviting me to go to Caroline Bartholomew's home and this person said "Do you
know where Caroline lives?" And I said "Yes, I do." And the person repeated
the address and said "I'm sorry I couldn't get to you earlier. I didn't have
your phone number." He said, "but get round there. She's leaving at nine
o'clock." Now for someone to know that someone is leaving at a certain time
that is perfect inside knowledge So I jumped into the car, shot round there.
The street was empty. I parked my car and I ran towards the address. As I did
a detective stepped out of the car and walked across the road towards me. I
was going to shoot it from the opposite side of the street on a longish lens
and he walked up and said "What are you going to do?" I said, "Can I work from
here?" And he said, "Yes but don't come any closer. Can you work from there
comfortably?" I said "Yes I can. I could see the full doorway and almost on
the button at nine o'clock the Princess of Wales stepped from the house, looked
straight at me and turned round and Caroline, her husband and her baby all
appeared in the doorway. Diana kissed Caroline's husband, kissed the baby and
kissed Caroline all in profile and turned round and looked me straight in the
face. By this time another photographer was running up behind me with a very
much shorter lens and he's pleading with the detective "Can I go closer? Can I
go closer?" And she started to walk to the car. The detective went to his
driving position, into the car, the car maneuvered out of the street, I moved
into the street and normally Diana is too clever to get in car shots she didn't
want to be in. And I'm looking down through the front window of the car and she
is staring straight down the lens and she panned with me -- round, full face.
I phoned the office and said Diana had just vindicated everything Andrew Morton
has said in the book.
Richard Stott, the Editor was out having some supper at the time. I started to
head back towards the office with the films and I was really keyed up trying to
get hold of James who was on the phone unfortunately to a New Zealand
newspaper at the time, and I was really wound up. And they said come back on.
Richard Stott said "What makes you think this is a vindication?" I said
Caroline has quoted liberally throughout the book and she's saying some stuff
about the bulimia, about the state of mind she was in, about the marriage being
in trouble etc. etc. If this was wrong, Diana would have blanked the girl out
of her life and said "This is not true. This has been made up by Caroline."
Instead she goes and visits her. I get a phone call to get round there and get
the business, get the photographs - a total vindication of what Andrew had done
in the book. By the time I got back to the office Stotts was waiting for me
and he's saying "Run through everything again." I described it.
Within fifteen minutes the photographs were set out in front of him and he just
looked at them and said "Right, let's go for it and stuck straight into the
paper. Now we stuck them into the paper fairly small that night because I
don't think Richard was absolutely convinced. He'd listened to me. He'd taken
a bit of a gamble. He'd put them in the paper but the next day they went back
on even bigger and then out came the full ramifications of the story, of a
marriage breakdown, of a very, very unhappy Princess. Behind the scenes you
know things, throwing herself against furniture, throwing herself down flights
of stairs, a deeply unhappy girl who's in a marriage that isn't going to work,
that Camilla Parker Bowles is in the marriage and, you know, then you come to
the Panorama interview years later and you hear it coming, the Andrew Morton
book coming from her own mouth. It was a sensation at the time. I mean up
until then people had disbelieved seven-tenths of the story and here was every
word being spouted out on a television program.
q: Tell me about publishing the Camillagate tape?
a: I was pulled into Richard Stott's office with Harry Arnold and I think
there was another girl reporter and we were sworn to secrecy and we heard the
Camillagate tape and initially we laughed because Charles sounds like a bit of
clot on the tape to put in mildly. And we had to play it over and over and
over again. We knew this was sensational. We'd heard the squidgytape. This
chap had walked in with a tape and it was unbelievable what we were listening
to. It was Charles and it was Camilla. You didn't need to be an expert to
listen to the phrasing. It was too good. This was the real thing.
We then had to go out and verify it. Harry and I worked separately on it. I
went round all the places in the country and spoke to people and looked at the
places -- found out if Charles was there, spoke to people in the grounds of big
houses asking, when did Charles come? Was he up such and such weekend? The
shopkeepers in the local village, all sorts of stuff like that. I did the
whole bit. People would say, "Oh Prince Charles was at the big house last
night." Or "Prince Charles was staying with Lord such and such" and we
verified all the places, dates, times. It didn't take very long. It probably
took a couple of weeks. The problem then for Richard Stott was to go ahead and
publish because the material was sensational. There was part of it he said he
wouldn't ever publish and that's the bit that everyone knows about, about -- "I
would like to be a tampax. I would like to be a box of tampax." And I think
in Italy he's still known as IL Tamponini and Richard Stott said everytime
Prince Charles walks past a building site he would get a face full from the
blokes up the scaffolding. So a lot of it was published but that part wasn't.
That part was published by everyone else afterwards. And we just saw the total
disintegration. All the sham was coming out, all the nonsense, all the
hypocrisy that the public was being fed.
q: Tell me about your reaction to Glenn Harvey photographing Richard Kaye?
a: Glenn Harvey rang me at home and said he had a very good photograph which he
thought I would like. I said "Go to a phone and tell me about it" because in
those days all the phones could be tapped and we were all very aware of it.
Glenn phoned me and he described Richard Kaye skulking around and Diana
skulking around and getting in a car together with baseball hats and all, well
I just burst out laughing. I thought it was funny. I knew Richard had a good
inside with the Princess but I didn't know they were having these clandestine
meetings and I thought "Oh my God, he's in the frame for being yet another of
Diana's lovers" and I laughed about it. I phoned my Editor and told him and he
was astonished by it. We got the pictures very quickly, put them together,
looked at them and they were very, very interesting and we held onto them for a
couple of days while we sort of decided how we were going to use it.
Diana had given Richard Kaye a story and she had talked about feeling raped by
paparazzi photographers and of course it appeared in the paper with a
photograph that said, "Well, here's the friend." I did it that way. I think
Richard was very shocked but I think he was told the night of publication that
we were going to do it and we were looking for a quote from him and I think the
Daily Mail went very quiet that night and came back to and fro and I don't
think to this day we ever had a full explanation for it.
q: Was it unusual for a Princess to be briefing a reporter like this?
a: It had gone on in the early days. Diana knew how to use the Press. She had
done so with James Whitaker when the train story had come up. She had tipped
us off when things were going to happen. She had very gently introduced
herself to it and we all knew that courtiers had put the boot into Diana saying
she was a mad woman and Diana was starting to use it to get back and at that
time she was a very unhappy girl who was surrounded by people she was very
suspicious of and who were putting out stories at dinner parties saying Diana
was mad. And through Morton she made a huge effort which was very successful
and she'd obviously learned from that what a good way she can put her point
across. She'd obviously gone to Richard Kaye. It is the best way to do it, to
go direct to the Press.
q: How is Camilla being insinuated if you like into the public consciousness
in a more positive way?
a: I think there's a program within the Prince Charles following to
rehabilitate Camilla Parker Bowles. She hasn't had a very good Press. She is
the third party and the evil woman who broke up the fairy tale. She's not like
that at all. The Prince of Wales has maybe been the silly man who broke up his
marriage by not committing himself to it and Camilla has been a very loyal
friend to him and Prince Charles acknowledges this and probably feels that
she's had a bad time and he would like to take some of the pressure off her and
he would like to make her acceptance in Royal circles and the public eye. He
would like to accelerate that a bit and I'm sure he would like, he has a
program - maybe its a three-year program -- maybe its a five-year program - but
we will accept Camilla Parker Bowles to a degree but I think, despite all of it
from our readers opinions just now that the public won't like a marriage.
q: How open are the Palace Press Office now with papers like the Sun about
what's going on now?
a: They're not going to come and tell us about skeletons in cupboards but if we
now find out about a skeleton in a cupboard they are smart enough to know that
it's going to be published and they're getting smarter and they know that the
skeleton is going to come out. If they have a history of saying twenty times
'There is no skeleton in that cupboard' and its proved that there is a skeleton
because some senior member of the Royal Household tells us about the skeleton.
They've stopped doing that now. Their getting better at it.
q: What role did the paparazzi play? What kind of job would you give to a
freelancer that say you wouldn't give to a staffer?
a: I wouldn't need to give a job to freelancer. There's paparazzi
photographers around the Royal Family most of the time. It's not like many
people imagine. There are thirty people sitting outside Kensington Palace.
There may be two or three of chaps who have dedicated themselves because Royal
photographs don't sell as well today in 1997 as they did in 1987 and the
market's tighter and ideas are a bit different and a photograph of Diana in a
car or a great smiling close-up isn't worth much today. There's got to be a
story that goes with it.
I don't instruct them to go and do something. I instruct my chap to go and do
something or Arthur Edwards will come to me and say I've got a good idea and I
say Yes, why don't you go with such and such to Kenya or go to Angola and get
Diana in the mines? These are the jobs that I would assign but the paparazzi
are there of their own volition and will do the job and come to whoever they
think they can get the most money from.
q: When Diana was supposed to be out of the public eye, did the paparazzi have
a role then?
a: Yes, very much so. When Diana retired from public life -- the paparazzi
were there to show what was happening. Most editors had a chat with St James
Palace or the Princess and she said I want to be left alone. But you can't
leave the Princess of Wales alone totally. The Princess of Wales was out
without any kind of escort at that time. She'd got rid of her detectives. She
was often driving herself into Chelsea, Kensington, parking up, going shopping.
Now a lot of the photographers were doing pictures of her then and it was quite
a lucrative market because here was something new. It was almost a situation
of the Norwegian Royal Family on bicycles. You had Diana carrying her own
bags, you know. We had Diana in the video shop choosing a video for her
children for the weekend. It was different. Initially we shied off a lot of
it then we saw this woman had chosen this way. She didn't always like it. She
took the chaps aside and said "you know you're ruining my life. Clear off."
She's got a mouth -- she's quite happy to share it with the photographers. She
didn't like it all the time but it was a situation she had decided to go into.
That's changed again because we've seen all of that and it's not such an
interesting thing to see the Princess of Wales buying a video and we've moved
on from that, so there's not the same number of photographers following her.
q: It seems slightly two-faced for you to agree to leave her alone, but buy
photographs of her from the Paparazzi....Could you explain that?
a: It's difficult to explain simply. If you assign someone to follow the
Princess of Wales day-in, day-out, that is an act of straight-forwardly
disobeying all the rules -- but if someone comes to you and shows you a
photograph of the Princess of Wales having a tussle with a parking warden
that's very difficult to turn down because you're seeing her in a totally new
light. It is something that ordinary people do everyday. It's not something
Princesses have chosen to do everyday and it's a very beguiling type of
photograph and you say Yes, that's of interest to the public and I'll take that
photograph and I will publish it. But to send someone out to follow her night
and day is a different matter altogether.
q: Can you tell me about the deal Lord Wakeham brokered between the Press and
the Palace to preserve the privacy of the Princes?
a: Lord Wakeham introduced the system, if you'd call it that, of leaving the
Princes alone and being rewarded on occasion by having photographs of the
Princes when they're not at school and we all get access to that. As you saw
the other day there we had some nice photographs of William. I don't send
anyone near Windsor to photograph the Prince at Eton. I just haven't done it
at all and I cant think of any other picture editor in Fleet Street who would.
I have been offered photographs of him playing rugby and I have been offered
photographs of him around town. I have not used them. My Editor has not used
them on any occasion. We just leave him alone.
q: Do you think your readers wouldn't like it either?
a: I think readers wouldn't like it. I don't think my Editor would like it and
I don't think any of us who have families would like children who are at a very
impressionable age to be harassed by photographers and what will keep the
photographers back for seventy percent of the time is that no one will buy his
q: And when will that change?
a: I'm not sure. It may be when he goes to University we may see a few more
photographs of him around and it might be more tempting because Prince William
will be squiring young ladies when he's at University. The temptation will get
greater at that stage.
q: For you.