A revised biography of Princess Diana went on sale Friday, leaving Britons more appalled with its timing than titillated with any new disclosures.
There are few revelations in the updated book by Andrew Morton, except a new claim that the princess herself was his source for the original version in 1992. Morton includes a 46-page transcript of words that "are all Diana's except for those in parentheses," saying it substantiated everything he had written previously about her.Thus, the revised title: "Diana, Her True Story - In Her Own Words."
For example, the book has Diana describing the marriage proposal from Prince Charles, with whom she went on to have an unhappy 15-year marriage that ended in divorce.
"Anyway, so he said, `Will you marry me?' and I laughed. I remember thinking, `This is a joke,' and I said, `Yeah, OK,' and laughed. He was deadly serious. He said: `You do realize that one day you will be queen?' And a voice said to me inside: `You won't be queen but you'll have a tough role.' So I thought `OK,' so I said, `Yes.' "
Diana also summarized her unsuccessful transition to royalty.
"One minute, I was nobody, the next minute I was Princess of Wales, mother, media toy, member of this family, you name it, and it was too much for one person at this time."
Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, and his family were distressed by the revised book's publication - just six weeks after Diana's fatal Aug. 31 car crash - and were "consulting with lawyers on various points," a spokeswoman said.
Morton insisted he rushed to print for speedy historic accuracy after earlier concealing Diana's role in the first book. But he was left defending himself Friday on British television from callers both irate and emotional.
"All I've done is discuss the methodology behind the book," Morton said on ITN television. "I've not revealed any new secrets. I've not said anything more than people know already. All I've said is Diana cooperated with the book fully and frankly."
"I am very proud to have been her biographer," said Morton, who has said that he obtained the taped comments from the princess through intermediaries. "I am very proud that she chose me to tell her story."
Britons had mixed reactions.
"I think it's a bit insensitive," student Chanel Pattni said outside the Dillons bookstore in London's literary Bloomsbury neighborhood, which claimed to be the first to sell the book - three days ahead of Monday's official publication date.