Royal Watch

updated 10/06/1997 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/06/1997 01:00AM

PRINCE DISARMING

Back on the job for the first time since Diana's death, Charles seems to have acquired some of his ex-wife's people skills. At a series of engagements in Manchester, England, on Sept. 19, he comfortably shook hands with well-wishers and talked warmly about his sons, who, he said, "have handled a very difficult time with enormous courage and the greatest possible dignity." According to the British Press Association's royal correspondent Peter Archer, Charles even told "more than one person in the crowd that day that he felt like bursting into tears."

One insider says that Charles's candor is clearly a measure of his pain: "He has taken the death very badly. He's not eating well, he's very distracted, he's finding it difficult to concentrate. I think he is racked by self-doubt and guilty feelings, rightly or wrongly, and it will take a long time for him to get back to normal."

OUT OF AFRICA?

Formal divorce proceedings have begun between Diana's brother Earl Spencer and his wife of eight years, former model Victoria Lock-wood, fueling speculation that Spencer may leave South Africa and return to England to live at Althorp. Such a move would put him closer to Harry and Wills, whom he pledged to help raise, but it also would separate him from his own four young children—now living in Cape Town with Lock-wood—and from his latest flame, magazine fashion editor Josie Borain.

A onetime Calvin Klein model, the 33-year-old Borain—who was a guest at Diana's private memorial service—has observers wondering if she's more than a passing fancy for the notoriously fickle Spencer (he publicly admitted to having committed adultery a mere six months into his marriage). Others, however, are dubious. "Looking at his track record," says one insider, "I don't hold out much hope."

IN HER HONOR
Diana's image, even in death, is omnipresent, but you won't be seeing it in the mail anytime soon. A source close to the Palace says the Spencer family "put on the brakes" to a Di stamp proposed shortly after the funeral by the British post office to a supportive Buckingham Palace: "They don't want to rush into anything or cheapen Diana's memory." The Spencers could hardly object, though, to another tribute that may be in the offing: A government committee, charged with planning a British memorial for Diana, also may petition the Nobel committee to issue Diana a special posthumous citation for her efforts to ban land mines. The public, of course, has already honored Diana in its own way: When the 42 condolence books outside Kensington Palace were closed on Sept. 21, they contained nearly 300,000 signatures.

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