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TELLING THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH

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You’re asking for trouble if you suggest to Lady Colin Campbell, self-anointed grande dame of the royal biographers, that she has competition. ”If you’re first, you don’t need to compete with anyone,” sniffs the author of Diana in Private and The Royal Marriages. ”I have very good sources, and I know what I am speaking about. Also, unlike most of the ignoramuses who are busy braying like the ninnies that they truly are, I have come from a literary tradition and I want to live up to it.” The author counts the late poet Kahlil Gibran among her cousins, though she’s better known for her own somewhat controversial history: She’s suing her ex-husband, Lord Colin Campbell, the Duke of Argyll’s brother-from whom she snagged her title-for libel because he has raised questions about her sexual identity. Lady Campbell will only concede that her parents raised her as a boy (she was born George William Ziadie) for a reason she doesn’t ”think the public is entitled to know.” Though she guards her privacy carefully, she has turned a hard, cold light on her subjects. No matter how elegantly she describes the Windsors’ every foible, she’s still alleging that Di’s a sewer-mouthed hussy, Fergie’s a recovering drug abuser, and Prince Andrew may be an illegitimate son. But Campbell, 43, says all she wants to do is save the monarchy. ”I thought that by showing the human faces behind the public images, that although initially it might shock, in the long run it would be a constructive thing to do.”

But for now, the Lady has a press tour to worry about, and then it’s on to her next book. She says she’d love to write about Hillary Clinton, except she’s genuinely worried that she would ruin the President’s chances for reelection (”My dear, have you heard the stories?”). One thing’s certain: There’ll be no royal sequel. ”Please,” she moans. ”I’m royalled out.”

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