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Living interview: Debbie's life among stars; Urmee Khan chats to Debbie Frank The Journal's new astrologer about celebrities, divination and Princess Diana.

Byline: Urmee Khan

DEBBIE Frank is an astrologer to the stars.

From Nancy Dell'Olio to Barbara Windsor they've flocked to Debbie to discover what the heavens have in store for them.

Her most famous client though was the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

Horoscopes remain one of the most popular parts of newspapers, a fact which reflects the truth: that a vast proportion of the British public believe there's "something in it".

The argument against newspaper astrology is even if you believe astrology works, it's still far too broad to try to group together the population into huge groups depending on their star sign.

Debbie understands this concern, but says it misses the point, her job is akin to weather forecasting.

She adds: "How it works for any kind of newspaper column, we have to generalise for each individual reader very much like a weather forecast.

"Instead of describing the weather outside your house, we have to describe it generally in a large area. We can say Librans recognise they are lovers of beauty, like the French are very stylish and Parisians are rude, all are broad generalisations.

"But they do work. So I look at astronomical positions for that day, reading and interpreting energy patterns in the atmosphere rather than weather conditions."

Undoubtedly, the life of a showbiz astrologer can be more high profile than that of your average meteorologist.

In Debbie's case, she was the personal stargazer and confidante to the Princess of Wales for the last eight years of her life before she died in a Paris car crash.

In these consultations 48-year-old Debbie has said in the past the Princess voiced fears she would be harmed by the Royal Family and also revealed how wounded she was about Camilla, explaining Diana would press last number redial and find he had been calling the now-Duchess.

Today, however, Debbie is less forthcoming.

She states: "I've had my knuckles rapped by the Astrological Society for speaking about Princess Diana so I better not speak anymore about it, but with the inquest it is obviously a hard time."

The bond between the two women was apparently very strong.

During the most distressing time of Diana's life, she was known to call Debbie three times a day and Debbie often had lunch with her at Kensington Palace where she met the former royal butler.

"Well I'm not surprised that I've not been called as a witness," she comments, "but I was going to be a witness for Paul Burrell, who I am quite close to and I did witness the relationship between him and Diana."

Her sing-song voice stops abruptly


BORN in the Middle East to British parents, Debbie, a Scorpio, came to live in Britain when she was three and was brought up in Oxfordshire.

After graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in American Studies she set up her own public relations company. At this time she also fulfilled her ambition to begin studying astrology.

Debbie obtained a diploma from London's Faculty of Astrological Studies before continuing her studies at the city's Centre for Psychological Astrology. She also went on to study Psychosynthesis Counselling, a discipline she describes as "psychology with a soul". She has been an astrologer for 22 years.

Debbie has written "Debbie Frank's Birth Signs", "Birth Signs" and "Debbie Frank's Cosmic Ordering Guide to Life, Love and Happiness". and an awkward silence hangs.

Debbie has been an astrologer since 1984, before which she worked in public relations.

Depending on your point of view, that's a career either unconnected or closely related to the work of a newspaper astrologer.

But Debbie is anxious to define precisely what it is she does.

She is not, she insists, just a fortune teller: "I think there's a lot of misconception about astrology and I don't really do absolute predictions - I leave that to the realm of the clairvoyant.

"I think astrology is much more psychological and that's why its got much more to do with cosmic ordering.

"It's about understanding why you attract certain things into your life, whether people or personalities or situations.

"And looking at that in terms of what you've been thinking and how you've been handling it."

Debbie describes her average day, she says: "My day is divided between writing and telephone lines, which is something that I try and do early in the day when it is more peaceful.

"I become weak, then try to become each individual sign for five minutes in order to get each horoscope reading.

"Thousands of people ring my line. It's a very strange experience when thousands of people know me but I don't know them and I'm having a one way conversation with them, helping them, they talk to me.

"Thousands of people ring me through the week and I know they ring me all through the night."

Debbie has led a very colourful life.

She was born in the Middle East where her father worked for a Kuwaiti oil company but she came back to England when she was three.

She comments: "I don't really remember it but it has always given me that feeling of not totally being English in any way even though technically I am. I am a little bit different, a bit adventurous."

In 2003 she married South African banker James, who is 12 years her junior, and two years ago she adopted a Chinese little girl, Lulu-Mei who is a Scorpio.

"James is a Virgo and he is very open to what I do," Debbie adds, "he's just lovely.

"I could easily live anywhere and it's a shame to just live in one country when you have one life, when you're told you have one, actually you have more, but when you're told this is it.

"I think there's so much to be learnt from going to other places.

"I love going to Thailand, I have fantastic relationships with the Buddhist monks there and I love going and spending time visiting temples, I just love it."

In manner, Debbie is birdlike and chirpy. It's easy to understand why celebrities would confide in her, she's chatty and gracious and most importantly she's discreet.

She has represented many celebrities including Philippa Forrester, Anthea Turner, Barbara Windsor, Patsy Palmer and Edina Ronay.

But she's not someone who only wants to work for celebrity clients.

"Sometimes it's nice to have my client list of people who are not well known," she says ent husiastically.

"I just enjoy working with people and it doesn't matter if they are a celebrity or not.

"They are not any different, because they are all just people who have a problem and maybe I can help them so I don't actually go out looking for celebrities.

"I started in 1984 and I did realise I could connect to people," Debbie explains.

"What I was saying made sense to people it was only then as word of mouth spread and my client base grew, I left the day job.

"My client base grew and it became my full time career."

Debbie is surprisingly practical and forthcoming about how she does her job, contrary to beliefs that she wears a velvet gown and stares through an ornate telescope.

"These days we are assisted by modern technology for the actual position of the planets and then we go back to the science of astronomy.

"I use books and now there is software - so we are very good at quickly calculating the chart what is actually happening in the heavens. I'll be looking at the science before writing my column."

Debbie relaxes by taking her dog Tallulah, an energetic Aries, for walks (she explains pets have star signs too), and sculpture as well as looking after her daughter.

"I have a normal life and I don't sit round with smoke machines and pyramids," she says laughing.


HEAVENS ABOVE: An insightful life, Debble Franks; STARGAZER: Astrologer to the stars, Debbie Franks; MOST FAMOUS CLIENT: Princess of Wales was close to astrolonger Debbie Franks
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 27, 2007
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