When the Princess of Wales met the former Princess of Punk for lunch she revealed a new side to her character. Toyah Willcox tells Sharon Feinstein of that meeting and talks of her own new-found happiness. Photography by Steve Lyne.

Confiding over lunch, the Princess of Wales admitted to the former Princess of Punk, Toyah Willcox, that one of her secret desires was to go out in public in a tight leather miniskirt.

Naturally Toyah was all for the idea, but Di couldn't have been convinced because the world is still breathlessly waiting to see her in a Tina Turner, thigh-length little number.

During their few hours together Toyah realised that Di could also talk about more momentous subjects, like motherhood and the meaning of life.

"There's no way that Di is 'thick', and she's certainly not coy," said Toyah firmly. "She's surprisingly aggressive, in a royal sense, in that she knows who she is, what she's going to be and what she's going to do.

"I was amazed she's such a phenomenal human being, so strong, intelligent and charismatic.

"I don't think she's a spiritual person, but I believe she will be through her children. And perhaps Charles will enlighten her the way my husband has enlightened me.

"Di's very showbiz, a film-star princess, but if you look at her contemporaries, like Princess Stephanie or Caroline, she stands head and shoulders above them. I look at Princess Stephanie and shudder."

Toyah, who was chosen to give the speech at the Woman Of The Year Lunch, was so nervous her teeth were chattering, but the Princess of Wales, kept reassuring her and calmed her down.

Toyah, 29, went on: "I knew Di was as nervous as I was at being there and in a way I wanted to be able to support her, and she really supported me back.

"She was wonderful before I gave the speech, saying things like, 'I'm so glad I don't have to do it but I know you'll be brilliant,' and 'Get on with it and have a jolly good time.'

"I showed her the speech beforehand and told her I deliberately wanted to hone in on everyone's maternal instincts, which she found very interesting.

"We talked about the fact that I don't want children, but feel enormously maternal towards the human race, and she said I'd given her lots to think about.

"She understood what I was saying, and explained her own incredible love and need to bring up her to children. She's had her battles, too, believe me.

"She's an extremely brave lady and I thin her Aids visit was a reassuring move, where she shook hands with a victim publicly, for a scared audience of relatively ignorant people.

"She did it as an example to a class of people who perhaps go to the pub each night and say, 'I want to go out and kill these gays, they'll be the end of us.' They're an aggressive, unthinking class who see the Royal Family as being up there on a pedestal.

"Di represents the enlightenment of people like that and I'm sure her Aids visit would have a positive effect on them.

"At the end of the lunch Di said it would be nice if we met again, but I don't think I could be a close friend of hers.

"The kind of friendship she needs from a woman is someone who can go out with her and let off steam, and I don't like going to nightclubs and parties so I can't offer her that.

"But I'd always give support to any good human being, and I feel that very strongly towards her."

Toyah used to be known as the brash, impetuous queen of rock 'n' roll, who would drink any man under the table, belt out her bold views wherever she was, and wear her clothes and hair in the most shocking way she could of.

But three years ago she took a long hard look at herself and decided to completely transform her life, by walking out on her bodyguard boyfriend and getting on a plane to America, cutting herself off from all her friends and either selling or throwing away everything she owned in the world.

A serene, gently self-confident woman has taken the old Toyah's place, with sparkling eyes, her blonde hair pulled back in a pony tail, and a strong sense of other people as well as herself.

In a soft, measured voice she revealed: "I was immensely unhappy, living the domestic life at home, and trapped in my own image of a zany, punk woman within work.

"I was rotting in my house, never going out of the front door to walk the sreets or do the shopping. Admittedly, the ex-boyfriend did all that, but it was his choice as much as mine.

"I got pestered so much I couldn't face the streets, whereas now when I get pestered I just tell people to leave me alone. I didn't have it in me to do that then.

"I was trapped, and to alleviate my boredom I was drinking all day and watching TV, just not doing anything that was real. I had no vision of a real, full life.

"I wanted to divorce myself from everything because I could no longer bear the sinking feeling, and if I hadn't done what I did I probably wouldn't be alive today.

"I was on the verge of losing myself, so I abandoned everyone I knew, and everything that went to make up my miserable life.

"Now I feel I've got a future and that I'm a person, whereas before I didn't know who I was."

Toyah's ex-boyfriend, Tom Taylor, decided to sell the intimate, sordid story of their life together to a daily newspaper, and nothing Toyah said could stop him.

"I said to him, 'When you sell that story you're not only selling my soul, you're selling your own'.

"He told the world he was my slave, that I drank myself silly, and walked out without a word, and there's an element of truth in all that. But I'd rephrase it to say that we were slaves, we drank ourselves silly, and we walked out without a word.

"I still feel a lot of pain at having hurt him and his family, but the reason I did it was our stagnation. Now he's got an identity instead of living in my shadow, and I've heard he's making a very good living.

"We were a very possessive couple and now we've both got freedom. We couldn't have grown in any direction together."

When Toyah arrived in America she met Robert Fripp, guitarist in the psychedelic, massively successful group King Crimson.

She knew straight away that Robert was the soul mate she'd been searching for, and they have been very happily married for the last year.

Toyah said. "The moment we met there was an overwhelming recognition. I have an honesty with Robert that I have with no one else other than my father.

"When I'm really pissed off I can talk to him about it without there being any grudges. We can sit down and map out any problem like a psychoanalyst would, and really find the root of the trouble before it becomes blown up.

"We're so much the same person. Our habits are the same, our timing's the same, and everything about is is unified. I know we're very lucky because lots of people spend their whole lives searching for a soul mate."

Toyah's starring role as Sally Bowles in the musical Cabaret in London's West End was recently brought to an abrupt end by a musician's strike. "I was devastated," she says. "I'd looked forward to the run for so long, and suddenly my days were empty."

In London she spends her weeks alone in a studio flat in Chelsea, and at weekends she joins Robert Fripp at their big, rambling country house in Dorset, where they tend to the vegetables and read books.

"Physically, spiritually and sub-consciously we're committed, which means we can be apart from each other a lot. I was burning to grow in a spiritual direction but didn't know how, and Robert was the fire. I think that's why we zapped together so quickly. I don't feel different being married, although I respect the marriage ceremony and tradition. But I really take this relationship very seriously and certainly don't believe in divorce.

"I would feel great failure if we ever parted. I'd very much like this to be for the rest of our lives.

"But I passionately don't want children. It's very much something in me and my sister as well. It's not a dislike of children, just that we have no maternal instinct.

"My maternal instincts are in my work and my feelings towards the human race. Robert doesn't want children either and, of course, that makes it all very much easier."

Toyah released a new album, Desire, last week and is forming a band with her husband called Uncertain Times, hopefully for a tour of the country.

"This album has come out of turmoil and I think it'll take five years for me to really establish myself again as a singer. It's part of a rebuilding process.

"I'm looking forward to working with Robert because although we're very close on a love level, it'll be totally different to establish a relationship on a working level."

Toyah admitted that when she comes back to her empty flat and opens a tin of tuna and a packet of frozen peas, she feels terribly lonely.

She takes the phone off the hook, and plunges herself into writing a detailed diary which will one day form the basis of a book she says she's burning to write for the next generation of hopeful young female rock stars.

"I get lonely being apart from Robert during the week, especially late at night and in bed.

"Writing my diary helps a lot and I take it very seriously, because I'm hoping to write this book eventually called Women In Industry.

"I'm a woman who loves working with men but I'm a feminist, and I want to write a book about how a woman like me gets attacked by chauvinism and feminism.

"I'm not intellectual, but I'm bolshy and fight for everything I want, and I also project a sexual image, so the hard-core feminists don't like me.

"But I'm not against women at all. In fact, some of my best lessons in life have come from women.

"I'd like to write this book for the next generation who want to know about going into the theatre and the rock world, a lot of which is based on sexual power.

"If you come into the music industry purely as a feminist you are denying yourself the sexual power you need to really get somewhere."

Sunday Express Magazine, June 1987