The Princess of Wales started a chain reaction in London last week when she backed out as guest of honor at a bash Gianni Versace and Elton John had planned for Feb. 18 to launch the designer’s new book, “Rock and Royalty.” As a result, Versace has canceled the party.
Diana, who not only posed for the book, but wrote its foreword, apparently was willing to proceed with her endorsement of the charity function until last Friday, when she was alerted that the Sunday Times planned to run a cover story in its Style section about the book, headlined, “Exposed: How Diana, Princess of Wales, slipped between the sheets with 30 naked men.”
The story previewed the tome and detailed the increasingly close friendship between the Princess, Versace and Elton John. Diana backed out only after she was shown a copy of the book, which includes such photos as a towel-draped Linda Evangelista opposite a picture of Queen Elizabeth and another of a male model wearing nothing but a towel and a crown.
“I am extremely concerned it might cause offense to members of the Royal Family,” said the Princess in a statement issued by her office at St. James’s Palace.
The negative publicity was too much for the Princess, keener than ever to protect her new image of being more concerned with causes than clothes. She also asked that her foreword be withdrawn.
So Versace canceled the party — which was to raise money for The Elton John AIDS Foundation — “in order to protect Diana, Princess of Wales.” He plans to give the money he would have spent on the party to the foundation. He also insists there is nothing wrong with the book.
“There are actually no nudes in this book,” he said. “The pictures used are all beautiful images from some of the best photographers of our century.”