07/01/2004 AT 04:00 PM EDT
Why write this book now?
In 12 years the landscape has changed totally. When she asked me to write her biography she was then married, she had rarely given a speech and no one had heard of James Hewitt, Oliver Hoare or Dodi Fayed.
(Nowadays) Diana's memory has been diminished. You can take your pick on whether she is called a tragic drama queen, or a bonkers but beautiful princess. I revisited the area because she deserved better than all that.
Where do you think Diana's life was headed at the time of her death?
She was on a journey of self-discovery, in pursuit of love and happiness and finding herself as a woman. She was gaining control of her life, of a world that had been out of control for most of her adult life.
How did you see her making these changes?
For the first book she spoke as though she felt ashamed of speaking about her life. You saw toward the end of her life, she was a woman in command, but who had not lost her sense of humanity. This (book) is a fresh approach, a more honest approach. And people will be reminded of why they shed tears on the day she died.
You purport that she was planning a new life in the states.
When you look at the trajectory of her last years she was already moving to America. The proportion of time she spent outside the U.K. was considerable, and a large amount of that was in America. She was looking at plans for a house in Malibu – whether that would be with Dodi, I don't know. ... She found the media less judgmental than in Britain and it was a place she could reinvent herself.
Besides Dodi, you write that she was also close with American businessman Teddy Forstmann. Anything interesting you can tell us?
He gave her mature advice, he was an older man of the world. He had the toys too – he was quite a good candidate. He was the Onassis to her Jackie. ... The irony of her life is that he apparently offered her the use of his place at the Hamptons (the summer she died), but that was apparently vetoed by the security services. The conspiracy theorists will have a field day.
Diana proved to be quite the detective herself. She found letters from Charles's lover, Camilla?
Everything she suspected she had confirmed in black and white. She could see the contempt Camilla Parker Bowles had for Diana. ... (But when the lawyers nixed them for her book) she was absolutely furious that she could not say as much as she wanted to say. She had hurt herself for no great purpose – that was the sad thing. ... But she was quite naive in some ways – for example, she thought that once she had spoken to me, the book would come out in five days.
Do you think Charles and Camilla will wed?
Ultimately they will get married. They will make it clear that she will not be Queen, it will be a morganatic marriage where she does not have a title. Charles is in a no-win situation, and is damned if he does or damned if he doesn't.
Pick up the July 12, 2004, issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now, to read an excerpt of Diana: In Pursuit of Love