Diana: Meeting the Princess of Wales


“Presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers were content to bask in an extraordinary radiance”
– Douglas Hurd, former Foreign Secretary

It was a small makeshift room – made smaller by the fact that one of three people in the room was Meatloaf. In 1995 at the Pavarotti & Friends Concert for the Children of Bosnia in Modena, Italy, I was in the middle of interviewing ‘Meat’ when totally unannounced and unexpectedly, the most famous woman in the world appeared, striding towards us beaming “Hi !” Blimey. Diana.

Even for someone who had met the likes of Catherine Deneuve, Liza Minnelli and Pamela Anderson, the adrenalin her arrival inspired bordered on terror. I shot to my feet, narrowly avoiding the impulse to salute. As she came charging towards me grinning gorgeously, I ducked down and toppled sideways, the result of bowing and curtsying at the same time.

Diana just looked at me, like a vision, blushing furiously (or just furious). I blushed back and winked (suavely). Well, twitched. I was immediately aware I was making a terrible fool of myself. A staunch anti-royalist, I wasn’t even supposed to like Diana.

I stood there frantically tugging my forelock, only discovering later where, or what, my forelock was. God knows what she thought I was doing. Convinced I would be exposed as a journalist and hauled off to the Tower, I had one hand behind me, hiding my tape recorder – or so it must have appeared – inside my backside.

People always ask: “How did she look ?” “She looked great,” I respond casually, as if to imply “as she always does when I see her.” But mostly how she looked was… unreal. Not on the news or on a postcard but in the flesh (quite a lot of flesh).

Her dress (a stunning white number by Versace – slit to the hip with a plunging neckline) was very nice, but I couldn’t help wondering if she should have waited until he had finished it. I was terrified she could tell what I was thinking. Unfortunately what I was thinking was:
“Phwoar !” She was fantastically sexy.

I was overcome with panic that she would see me trying not to look at her body, even though, given what she was (or wasn’t) wearing, this was physically not possible.

People also ask: “But what did she say ?” I tell them she said: ‘So… are you married Jim?’ Her actual words were: ‘Hello.”

My response ? “Hurl-errghh.”

Even Meat Loaf later admitted he was “startled beyond belief.” Apparently, she said she was “really hungry.”
Meat said: “You’re Diana. All you gotta say is ‘I want chicken right now’ !” Diana’s response: “I believe you’re right.”

As for me, I admit, it was just small talk. Very small talk. It was: “Goodbye.” Actually, this is a lie too. She didn’t say goodbye. She just… walked off.

I can’t say I blamed her. It never would have worked. I couldn’t have coped with the media attention or afforded the presents. But the effect she had was amazing. I never saw such star quality shine out of another celebrity ever again.