Campbell recalls "drop-dead gorgeous" Diana
LONDON, July 9 (Reuters) Labour's former communications chief Alastair Campbell described how he flirted with the late Princess Diana in his diaries ''The Blair Years'' published today.
In extracts placed on his Web site, Campbell described how Tony Blair stood in the background and Cherie Blair looked impatient as he talked with the ''drop-dead gorgeous'' princess in 1995.
''She's standing there, absolutely, spellbindingly, drop-dead gorgeous in a way that the millions of photos didn't quite get it,'' he wrote.
''She said hello, held out her hand and said she was really pleased to meet me, so I mumbled something back about me being more pleased.'' ''It would make a very funny picture if there were any paparazzi in those trees, she said.'' He also recounted how shocked Blair was at the news of her death two years later.
''I don't think I'd ever heard him like this,'' he wrote.
''He was full of pauses, then gabbling a little, but equally clear what we had to do.'' Campbell was a defining figure in Blair's decade-long administration.
He was present during many historic events including the first visit by Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness to 10 Downing Street ahead of the Good Friday Agreement.
''So this is the room where all the damage was done,'' Campbell reported Adams as saying.
''It was a classic moment where the different histories played out. Everyone on our side thought he was referring to the mortar attack on (John) Major, and we were shocked. Yet it became obvious from their surprise at our shock that he was referring to policymaking down the years, and Britain's involvement in Ireland.
'''No, no, I meant 1921,' he said.'' Relations with Bill Clinton had been close, but Blair was on the receiving end of a five-minute tirade after the American president accused the British administration of briefing against him on whether ground troops should go into Kosovo.
''They had spoken for over an hour, and the first five to 10 minutes was taken up with Bill in a total rage,'' Campbell wrote.
''He said it may play well with the UK media and public but 'there is a price to pay and you will pay it'.'' When news of the September 11 attacks came through, Blair was preparing to deliver a speech to the TUC.
''I went upstairs, turned on the TV and said to TB (Tony Blair) he ought to watch it. We didn't watch the TV that long, but long enough for TB to reach the judgement about just how massive an event this was in its impact and implications.'' REUTERS SV BST1816