“Now, for the first time, I wish I had never met her at all. Then I might not have loved her, and would not feel like this… I was smitten, and from [the moment we met] everything I found out about her first-hand, even – especially – her follies, only made me love her more.”
Clive, who died in 2019 aged 80, was born in Kogarah in Sydney’s south in 1939, where he was an only child.
He later moved to the UK, where he began a career in journalism and television, and became known for his wry, witty turns of phrase.
He eventually found himself within Charles’s friendship circle, even hosting the future king for occasional dinners and advising him on “my areas of competence – television, Australia and the arts."
“When my wife and I invited him to dinner, he came alone and his wife was never mentioned,” Clive says. “I sadly began to realise that was no surprise… they were sticking together for the sake of the monarchy and the children but were otherwise going their separate ways.”
Clive recalls things with Diana heated up at Charles’s 40th birthday at Buckingham Palace, where he met her for only the second time.
“She said that she and the boys had enjoyed my latest documentary and that she was glad to see me, but she didn’t seem glad about anything else,” he recalled. “The lights in her face were dimmed down to about three-quarter.”
Clive wrote that after this encounter, their relationship grew more intimate, or, as he described it, the pair were in “cahoots” with each other.
Diana invited him to lunch at Kensington Palace as a friend rather than an aide, where they bonded over their childhood traumas at age six – hers being her parents’ brutal divorce, while his was losing his father when the plane that liberated him from a camp in Okinawa, Japan, after World War II crashed in a typhoon en route to Manila.
“She touched my wrist, and that was it. We were both six years old [again],” he recalled.
After that telling, intimate encounter, Clive, whose words read every inch like a love letter to a woman he had heartbreakingly lost, admits he made a move on the newly single Princess of Wales.
“The separation was kind of official by then; she was up for grabs, so why not, you know, ask her to lunch?” he said.
“Ten minutes later the secretary was back on the line saying the princess would be delighted – how about the Caprice?”
There, they discussed everything from her idea to do her infamous Panorama tell-all – he counselled her against it – and laughed at the fact that the BBC chief clocked Diana’s luncheon companion in utter shock!
Over the next few months, they would lunch regularly, even sharing desserts.
He remembers her only having one spoonful of their crème brulee, though she’d power through three wines.
While Diana never included the much older Clive “in her roster” of handsome suitors in a physical sense, his words plainly hinted he wished she would, despite the fact he was married at the time.
But it was not to be.
Their close friendship ended quietly, with Clive knowing that one lunch at Kensington Palace where young Prince Harry played at their feet with his friend would be their last.
He was being phased out.
“I never saw her again. [But] I can still see her. She’s leaving the Caprice, heading for the back door…” he wrote wistfully.
“She’s turning her head. She’s smiling. Has she forgotten something? Is she coming back? No.”
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