Tony Blair's shock at Princess Diana's death revealed in candid phone calls to Bill Clinton
The former Prime Minister said the "star" Princess "was liked by ordinary people - it gave her problems with the royal establishment"
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Tragedy: Princess Diana with Prince William and Prince Harry before her death
Tony Blair called Princess Diana a "star falling" and said he would miss her personally in candid phone calls to Bill Clinton soon after her death.
Transcripts reveal how the two leaders shared their grief as they speculated over the build-up to her fatal Paris car crash.
Mr Blair, who would later dub her the People\'s Princess, said "the country is stunned" and told the ex-President: "She was liked by ordinary people - it gave her problems with the royal establishment".
But he warned despite having a "remarkable gift" and "beginning to get her life together" the Princess lived in a "press frenzy".
Read more Tony Blair\'s candid phone calls to Bill Clinton revealed - here are the most interesting bits
After their final chat together, he revealed: "She said that were it not for the boys, she\'d be off the board".
Candid: The former Prime Minister opened up in phone calls with Bill Clinton
The transcript is among 500 pages of phone calls revealed today which shed fascinating light on the leaders\' close relationship before Clinton left office in 2001.
The 25-minute phone call about Diana\'s death happened at 4.30pm on September 1, 1997, the day after she died in the early hours alongside lover Dodi Al-Fayed and driver Henri Paul.
President Clinton, who was on holiday in Martha\'s Vineyard, Massachusetts, began by talking about Princes William and Harry saying: "I worry a lot about those kids now".
Mr Blair added: "She was such a rock of stability in the sense she connected them with the outside world.
Close relationship: Tony Blair and Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela in 2003
"The eldest boy, William, is quite like her in a way, he is very \'feet on the ground,\' he does things kids his age do.
"The problem was the way she lived, in a press frenzy. It\'s impossible to contemplate how intrusive it was, into every single aspect of her life.
"The last time I spoke with her, she said that were it not for the boys, she\'d be off the board. The country is stunned."
He added: "I will personally miss her, it\'s like star falling. She was a star for them."
The former Prime Minister also speculated over reports the Princess\' car could have been travelling at 100mph.
Special relationship: Bill Clinton and Tony Blair
"I mean, I know Paris," he said. "They wouldn\'t have to be going that fast in those tunnels. They must have hit a rim in the road and turned over and smashed into a wall."
The pair voiced concerns over the behaviour of paparazzi photographers who were chasing the couple\'s car.
President Clinton said: "That\'s what I was afraid of. Those guys were chasing them?"
Mr Blair replied: "Jumped on them as they left the hotel."
The fascinating phone call transcripts were revealed under US Freedom of Information laws as part of the Clinton Presidential Library.
Pals: The President offered to babysit Blair\'s son and said he was eating a big banana
In one call from the Oval Office in 1999 Mr Clinton warned the PM Iraq "could become a real nightmare for you".
In another Mr Clinton said new Russian President Vladimir Putin "could get squishy on democracy".
The pair shared their fears over the Northern Ireland peace process in lengthy conversations, many parts of which were censored in the documents.
Mr Clinton warned IRA members clung to the "romance, drama, danger" of the Troubles, adding: "You\'re asking them to put a little white bread sandwich in a lunchbox and go off to work at the factory. It\'ll be hard for them."
Powerful: The pair also shared their fears for the Northern Ireland peace process
The calls also reveal the easy banter between the two powerful men.
In one call about Kosovo Mr Clinton told Mr Blair he was eating a "big, ugly, brownish banana" - while in another he joked "you still have that choirboy look".
He joked Mr Blair should give him British citizenship and a Westminster seat "next-door to a good golf course".
And when Cherie Blair was pregnant with son Leo in 2000, Mr Clinton volunteered to look after him - prompting Mr Blair to say: "We\'ll put you down on the babysitting list now mate."
A very special relationship: Phone calls between Blair and Clinton
Close: The pair shared hours and hours of phone calls during their time in office
Blair : It was fine. Very interesting. He feels that he is not understood about the problems he is facing there. He was very anxious to impress me. He wanted to see America as a partner, I think.
Clinton : I think he does, depending on who wins our elections, it might take a while to get it going, but the more time you can spend with him the better. I think he is a guy with a lot of ability and ambitions for the Russians. His intentions are generally honorable and straightforward, but he just hasn\'t made up his mind yet. He could get squishy on democracy.
Clinton : So many of them, I believe, there are so very many of them who are having a hard time, whatever they say, in letting go of it. It\'s like their security blanket. Imagine what their lives are like, a certain amount of romance, danger, drama... power.
You\'re asking them to put a little white bread sandwich in a lunchbox and go off to work at the factory. It\'ll be hard for them.
Blair : You mentioned this once before, I don\'t know if you recall. I have put some people to work on that. I [REDACTED].
Clinton : Sinn Fein proper can imagine themselves running social services agencies or political services, but somebody ought to talk to Gerry about what are their people going to do with their lives when this is over.
I think it\'s a big problem. It plays on their psychology. I just - I\'ve been thinking a lot of what I\'m going to do when I leave here, but - this may be a big postulate - but what if I had been a romantic terrorist, especially lately, when it wasn\'t a lot of work and you didn\'t have to set off more than one bomb every two years, you know?
I think you really have to think about what we can do not only to guarantee their security and safety, but to give some meaning to their lives, some way that they can participate in the new Ireland.
Cllinton : We wouldn\'t ever lift sanctions until Saddam Hussein complied with his disarmament obligations and with obligations on all other UN resolutions, human rights and all that.
Now I am prepared to say that if he meets his disarmament obligations and puts a system in place where he\'s complying, I would be prepared to suspend sanctions and liberalize the oil-for-food program -- especially with the price of oil going up, we should be better off.
But I think if we say to this guy, "if you start to comply, we will lift sanctions", he will quickly reestablish the weapons of mass destruction program, and it will become known in two years that he has.
It may not happen while I\'m in office, but it will for you. It could become a real nightmare for you.
Clinton : [Vice President Al Gore] liked when he went into [John] Prescott\'s office and the only decoration was a bowl of bananas. I heard all about it. He was very happy.
Clinton : My staff won\'t let me talk to you unless I have a banana at hand. I\'m sitting here with a banana; it\'s a big, ugly, brownish one.
Blair : Now Bill, I thought we should have a word about Kosovo.
Clinton : You know, after January I\'m available for babysitting duties.
Clinton : You said you wanted to continue my work with the Third Way and this is it: helping Blair balance work and family.
Blair : I could do with a bit of help, I tell you. Cherie is in great form but just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I tell you, just the thought and I feel as if my life\'s about to begin again.
Clinton : It is going to be interesting. Given the way the world is changing, it\'ll be a completely different childhood than the one your others had. Anyway, it is a great thing.
Blair : Right, Bill, we\'ll put you down on the babysitting list now, mate.
Tony Blair's candid phone calls to Bill Clinton revealed - here are the most interesting bits
You can\'t be expected to wade through 500 pages of newly-released calls, can you? Here are the most fascinating parts
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