Mailbag

updated 11/06/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/06/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

Prince William
Oh, my gosh! Princess Diana was human. She had foibles just like the rest of us. My, that is news, isn't it? I find it despicable that she is betrayed once again for money. I refuse to purchase any of these tell-all books, be they about Diana or anyone else. These betrayers may make a profit, but it won't be with my dollars.
C.K. Davidson, Bothell, Wash.

If the excerpts you printed are any indication of the "dark side" of Diana that the author is trying to exploit, I say this guy does not know women! Calling men bastards, having mood swings and craving sweets, saying something mean to an ex-husband's suspected girlfriend all sound like typical female behavior to me. I know I can relate. For goodness sake, Diana was human and a woman, subject to PMS like the rest of us.
Sharon Grabowski, Elk Grove Village, Ill.

Prince William and his family think his mother's trust has been betrayed by Patrick Jephson. I disagree. Apparently, members of the royal family are quick to expect loyalty but find it difficult to achieve themselves. Mr. Jephson was a paid employee, not a friend.
Glenn A. Johnson, Baltimore

Excuse me, but 39 mumbling words is what you describe as Prince William's "firing back" at the media's exploitation of his late mother? My God, I've used more words defending my dog to the neighbors. You seem to have the ridiculous idea that if you gush enough over those measly 39 words, we the readers will be fooled into thinking William is actually something you desperately want him to be: a shining, caring, charismatic replica of his mother. Well, he isn't. He is a nice, slightly boring, well-intentioned and utterly banal person who is not now nor ever will become what his mother was. By the way, "uhm" is not a word. Correct that 39 to 38.
Carolyn Ekstedt, San Francisco

As an avid royals fan, I found your article delightful, except for the excerpts from Patrick Jephson's book. Did you not realize that you are simply enabling parts of a disgusting book to be read by more people? In essence, you are no better than Jephson.
A. Shuster, Merrick, N.Y.

Prince William is in no position to object to the "betrayal" of his mother. William himself has sanctioned his father's long-enduring liaison with Camilla Parker-Bowles, the woman who overshadowed the marriage of his parents and ultimately was responsible for its tragic end. I can think of no more hideous betrayal of Diana than that committed by her own son.
Julia S. Brinegar, Tualatin, Ore.

Just looking at your cover, I can tell that Prince William is a remarkable young man who will someday make an excellent king.
J.N. Johnson, Chicago

American Beauties
In the summer of 1965 I was the envy of my college buddies. While working as a helper for a moving and storage company, I was sent on an "unpack" job. As luck would have it, the job was to move Vonda Van Dyke into her new apartment in Westwood, Calif. Imagine a 19-year-old being greeted at the door by Miss America! She was beautiful and gracious, and the high point of the afternoon was sitting on the living room floor with Vonda, assembling that trophy. I was in heaven! And she's still a babe.
Charlie Ratigan, Chicago

Marilyn Van Derbur gets my vote for favorite Miss America. In 1993, as a volunteer for WHO (We Help Ourselves), a child-abuse prevention program for schoolchildren, I was privileged to be present at an awards luncheon in Houston where Ms. Van Derbur was keynote speaker. With poise, dignity and eloquence, she spoke of the unspeakable: her own dark years of incest, abuse and secrets, and the years of hard work toward recovery. She is an inspiration to the abused in this country.
Ann Joyner, Pearland, Texas

Thanks to all of you for a marvelous article on my Miss America sisters! I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to visit with me. What a great staff you have at PEOPLE. You have added another 10 years, at least, to my 82!
Marian Bergeron Setzer, Miss America 1933, Dayton

Pierre Trudeau
Thank you for your lovely tribute to Pierre Trudeau. Your Canadian readers realize what a great man he was, but it was nice to see it in an American magazine. He was a fine politician, but foremost, he was a wonderful Canadian.
Jane Carter, Halifax, N.S.

I was greatly displeased to see the positive coverage PEOPLE chose to give the late Pierre Trudeau. While I do not enjoy speaking ill of the dead, Trudeau was one of the most devastating influences my country has known. In 1968 Canada ranked second only to the U.S. among the big seven economies in per capita income; she now stands 18th in the 27-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. A socialist through and through, Trudeau believed in nationalized industry, price controls and state regulation of both foreign and domestic investment. Canada is a great and proud nation, but we are still reeling from the legacy of this arrogant, inept and disdainful man.
Serena Mitchell, Toronto

Barbra Streisand
As a fan of Ms. Streisand's, I find it extremely unsettling that the ticket prices for her "final" concert performances were so outrageous. Doesn't she realize that her fans go beyond the celebrity world to mainstream America—those fans who contributed to her success but could not afford the exorbitant prices? Come on, Barbra, get back onstage with prices that fans from your own background can afford.
Bill DiModugno, Ridgewood, N.J.

How can you believe Barbra Streisand has performed her final concert? Didn't she make the same claim a few years ago? It has become her habit to announce that the current concert for which she is asking an incredible amount of money per ticket is the last. We can only hope she keeps her promise this time.
Leona Leonard, Naperville, Ill.

Steve Irwin
We were thrilled to see your article on Steve Irwin. We are huge fans of his conservation message and his exciting show, Crocodile Hunter. My 3-year-old son would much rather watch Steve than cartoons. Steve's passion for his work is obvious. Thanks to this special man, maybe people will listen and there will be precious wildlife for years to come.
Valerie, Fred and Lance Morsell, Dallas

I have always appreciated Steve Irwin's excitable good nature, but the picture of him teasing a croc with his little daughter in his arms terrified me. I'm sure he would never put her in danger, but that picture showed incredible bad judgment as a father.
Jody Thompson, Willis, Texas

Rulon Gardner
What an inspiration! Olympic gold medalist Rulon Gardner is not only a credit to the American people but especially to all of those children who are set aside by teachers who refuse to help them realize their full potential as human beings. Maybe his former teacher should be the one milking those cows.
Beverly Matda, Abingdon, Va.

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