PRINCESS DIANA’S MANHATTAN PASSION

May 19, 2018 at 5:00 am

As the world prepares to celebrate the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, one person’s spirit and memory will loom large over the mega event: Harry’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. We’re bringing the royal wedding home to New York City and tonight we look at the mother of the groom and her love affair with the island of Manhattan.

Aired on May 18, 2018. 

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>>> THERE IS NO WEDDING LIKE A
ROYAL WEDDING.
AND PBS IS THE PLACE TO SEE IT.
JOIN THE ROYAL WEDDING WIND
CHILL, A WEEK OF SPECIAL
PROGRAMMING LEADING UP TO THE
CEREMONY WITH HOST MEREDITH
VEERA REPORTING FROM LONDON.
THEN YOU ARE COVERAGELY INVITED
TO WINDSOR CASTLE FOR THE ROYAL
WEDDING OF PRINCE HARRY AND
AMERICAN MEGHAN MARKLE.
DON'T MISS THE WEDDING WATCH.
>>> AS THE WORLD WAITS TO WATCH
PRINCE HARRY MARRY MEGHAN MARKLE
TOMORROW THE ONE PERSON NOT IN
ATTENDANCE BUT CERTAINLY ON
EVERYONE'S MIND PRINCESS DIANA
HARRY'S HOME AND KNOWN AS THE
PEOPLE'S PRINCESS.
BUT WHAT GETS LOST IN THE MEDIA
IS THAT THE PEOPLE'S PRINCESS
FOUND ESCAPE HERE IN MANHATTAN.
SHE HELD SECRET MEETINGS AT THE
CARLISLE HOTEL DINED LIVED AND
LAUGHED ALL OVER THE CITY.
SHE WAS INFATUATED WITH NEW YORK
AND WE WERE INFATUATED WITH HER.
JOINING US TO TAKE TO PRINCESS
DIANA NEW YORK WHAT SHE LOVED SO
MUCH ABOUT OUR CITY IS ROYAL
EXPERT CHRISTOPHER ANDERSEN
AUTHOR OF THE DAY DIANA DIED.
NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE WITH US.
THE FIRST QUESTION FOR YOU IS
THIS, WHAT WAS IT GENERALLY
ABOUT NEW YORK CITY THAT
ATTRACTED DIANA TO HERE?
>> WELL TWO THINGS.
FIRST OF ALL SHE LOVED AMERICA
IN GENERAL.
SHE FELT MORE -- SHE HAD MORE IN
COMMON IN MANY WAYS WITH
AMERICA.
MORE OUTGOING AND OUTSPOKEN.
SHE FELT LIKE MANY CELEBRITIES
ODDLY-FREE IN THE STREETS OF NEW
YORK.
I THINK NEW YORK WAS ONE PLACE
WHERE MANY MANY VERY FAMOUS FEEL
THEY CAN MOVE ABOUT WITH EASE
AND RATHER UNENCUMBERED FRANKLY
COMPARED TO OTHER PLACES IN THE
WORLD.
CERTAINLY LONDON WHERE THE
PAPARAZZI WERE AT HER CONSTANTLY
CHASING HER DOWN THE STRETS.
SHE HAD NO PRIVATE LIFE AT ALL.
BUT HERE SHE WAS ABLE TO MOVE
ABOUT WITH SOME DEGREE OF
FREEDOM.
>> WAS SHE ABLE TO DO THAT, GO
TO RESTAURANTS, THEATER, ENGAGE
IN THINGS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN
SO MUCH MORE DIFFICULT FOR HER
TO DO IN LONDON?
>> WELL, IT DID GET TRICKY
OCCASIONALLY ESPECIALLY IF SHE
WAS WITH ANOTHER FAMOUS PERSON.
FOR EXAMPLE WHEN SHE MET JOHN F
KENNEDY JR. AT THE CARLISLE
HOTEL -- AGAIN THAT WAS A
HANGOUT FOR THE KENNEDYS AND SHE
KNEW IT.
IN THE SUMMER OF 1995 THEY
KNEW -- JFK JR. KNEW THAT THE
COMBINATION OF THE TWO OF THEM
WOULD MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR
THEM TO GET TOGETHER.
ONE THING HE ALSO KNEW BEING A
KENNEDY IS THAT THE MADISON
AVENUE ENTRANCE TO THE CARLISLE
IS ONE THAT IS SELDOM COVERED BY
THE PAPARAZZI.
THEY'RE ALWAYS WAITING ON EAST
76th STREET AROUND THE CORNER.
THEY COULD THEY COULD ACTUALLY
IRONICALLY EACH OF THEM WALK
FREELY INTO THE MAIN ENTRANCE ON
MADISON AVENUE OF THE CARLISLE
HOTEL AND HAVE THEIR MEETING
WHICH THEY HAD A AS HAS BEEN
MUCH DISCUSSED OVER THE YEARS.
>> DO WE KNOW WHETHER THERE WAS
ANYTHING MORE THAN A FRIENDSHIP
BETWEEN DINE ARE DIANA AND JFK
JR.?
DID IT EVER BLOSSOM INTO
ROMANCE.
>> I BELIEVE IT DID.
IT WAS BRIEF.
HE TOLD HIS FRIENDS THAT HE WAS
CHARMED BY HER.
HE TALKED ABOUT HER FAMOUS
DOWNWARD GLANCE, THE SHY DILOOK.
HE SAID SHE WAS SURPRISINGLY
DEMOORE.
THERE HAS BEEN SPANDEX BUT I
BELIEVE THEY HAD A BRIEF
ENCOUNTER.
SHE TOLD FRIENDS IN LONDON THAT
SHE HAD A CRUSH ON JFK JR.
AND SHE ALSO FELT IN A BROADER
SENSE SHE IDENTIFIED WITH THE
KENNEDYS, IN THAT, YOU KNOW, SHE
ASKED IF A FRIEND IF ANYTHING
HAPPENS TO ME DO YOU THINK
THEY'LL THINK OF ME AS JACKIE
KENNEDY.
>> AT THE TIME OF DIANA'S DEATH
I WAS HOSTING THE NBC WEEKEND
TODAY SHOW AND WE WERE ONE OF
THE FIRST NEW YORKS TO ANNOUNCE
HER DEATH.
WE WERE ON 7:00 A.M. IN THE
MORPG SHE DIED A FEW LI HOURS
BEFORE THAT.
I WAS STRUCK BY THE FACT THAT
PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE STUDIO AND
THE VIEWERS SEEMED TO HAVE THIS
PROFOUND SENSE OF DESPAIR,
PROFOUND SENSE OF LOSS, ALMOST
WHAT YOU WOULD EXPECT FROM
SOMEBODY WHO LOST A LOVED ONE OR
CLOSE FRIEND.
WHY DO YOU THINK THAT WAS THEN?
AND WHY DO YOU THINK IT'S
CONTINUED TODAY 20 YEARS LATER.
>> WELL FOR 17 YEARS SHE WAS THE
CENTER OF THE WORLD STAGE.
WE WATCHED HER, YOU KNOW, GROW
FROM THIS 19-YEAR-OLD INNOCENT
INTO A REAL POWERHOUSE.
SHE WAS MORE THAN JUST A LARGER
LAN THAN LIFE FIGURE SHE WAS A
FORCE OF NATURE IF YOU WILL.
WE FELT SHE WAS A MEMBER OF THE
FAMILY IN THAT SENSE.
AND NO ONE WAS PREPARED FOR THE
WAY IN WHICH SHE DIED, AND THE
FACT THAT SHE LEFT BEHIND A
15-YEAR-OLD AND 13-YEAR-OLD, THE
TWO MARVELLOUS SONS WE GREW TO
KNOW AND STILL FEEL WE DO.
WE WERE ALL STUNNED.
STUNNED IN THE WAY THAT ONE
GENERATION -- THEY WILL ALWAYS
REMEMBER WHERE THEY WERE WHEN
THEY HEARD ABOUT PEARL HARBOR OR
ANOTHER GENERATION HEARING ABOUT
JFK'S ASSASSINATION OR 9/11.
THIS IS ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS.
AND IT'S UNDEFINABLE BECAUSE,
YOU KNOW, THERE ARE MANY -- IN
TERMS OF HER PERSONAL
ACCOMPLISHMENTS MAYBE SHE WASN'T
THE MOST ACCOMPLISHED HUMAN
BEING IN THE WORLD.
BUT SHE DID TOUCH SOMETHING I
THINK IN TENS OF MILLIONS OF
PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD.
YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER HER WEDDING
WAS VIEWED BY 750 MILLION
PEOPLE, THE ROYAL WEDDING YOU'D
EXPECT THAT.
BUT THE FUNERAL WAS WITNESSED BY
2.5 BILLION PEOPLE ON
TELEVISION.
ONE OF THE MOST WATCHED EVENTS
IN THE WORLD.
I MEAN, THAT'S WHAT A HOLD SHE
HAD ON THE IMAGINATION OF THIS
PEOPLE ACROSS THE PLANET.
>> CHRISTOPHER ANDERSEN, YOUR
BOOK, THE DAY DIANA DIED IS A
MARVELLOUS LOOK AT THAT.
THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR THOUGHTS
WITH IT.
>> I APPRECIATE IT THANK YOU SO
MUCH JACK.
>> YOU BE WELL.
>>> WE WISH THE BRIDE AND GROOM
ALL THE BEST AND PAY HOMAGE TO
THE MOTHER OF THE GROOM WHO WE
ARE SURE IS SMILING DOWN FROM
ABOVE.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, and Judy and Josh Weston.

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