PRINCESS DIANA'S 

BROTHER EARL 'SPENCER'

AND OTHERS

updated 11-28-04

Final update 4-7-08

DIANA, BROTHER AT ODDS IN YEAR BEFORE HER DEATH, BOOK CLAIMS

10-23-03

Excerpts of letters are being published in British newspaper

by Sue Leeman
The Associated Press

LONDON - The year before Princess Diana died, she was alienated from her brother Earl Spencer, and he wrote to her, saying she had mental problems and was manipulative and deceitful, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

Spencer, speaking on NBC's "Today" show, said the letter, published in excerpts from a new book, was being seen out of context and that he "adored Diana".

He also said Wednesday that he did not believe her fatal 1997 car crash was planned, despite a letter, published int he same book, in which Diana said she feared someone would tamper with her car's brakes.

Both letters are from "A Royal Duty," a forthcoming book by Diana's former butler Paul Burrell, which is being excerpted in the Daily Mirror newspaper.

The princess's companion Dodi Fayed also was killed in the crash; his father, Mohammed al Fayed, has never accepted the France verdict that driver Henri Paul's use of drugs and alcohol and the car's speed caused the accident. Paul also was killed. Al Fayed says the death we intentional.

"My family and I are absolutely certain that we've never seen any evidence of that whatsoever," Spencer said, speaking to NBC from Toronto. As for Diana's fears, he said, "I do think it's just a horrible coincidence rather than actually tied in with reality."

Asked if Diana's fear were justified, Spencer said she had spoken to him about eavesdroppers and having her private quarters bugged.

"I think paranoid is a very strong word, but I think using it in the common way - meaning very, very concerned about yourself - yes, she was at time," Spencer said,

The letter attributed to Spencer and published in the Daily Mirror said, "I know how manipulation and deceit are parts of the illness. I hope you are getting treatment for your mental problem."

Spencer told NBC the letter was being seen "out of context" and out of time."

"I suppose all of the loving letters I sent won't sell like this one, which is trying to help her when she was at her most complex," he said, "Anyone who tries to make out that I didn't support and love my sister is way off the mark."

Prince Philip letters included

News reports have said Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are furious that Burrell included private letters from Philip in the book and are considering legal action.

A palace spokeswoman declined to say whether the royal couple is upset and would not comment on the possibility of a lawsuit.

She said the royal family asked to see an advance copy of the book, and the publisher sent excerpts to Buckingham Palace.

Burrell, the servant whom Diana once called "my rock," said Prince Philip sent Diana a series of letters in 1992 as her marriage was foundering.

The Daily Mirror reported Tuesday that PHilip wrote to Diana that he held her partly responsible for the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Charles, but also told her he "never dreamed" that Charles would leave her for longtime companion Camilla Parker Bowles.

"I cannot imagine anyone in their right mind leaving you for Camilla," Philip wrote.

But he also chastised his daughter-in-law for her behavior, asking, "Can you honestly look into your heart and say that Charles relationship with Camilla had nothing to do with your behavior towards him in your marriage?"

A former senior royal aide defended Burrell's decision to reveal details of letters from her royal in-laws in the new book.

Mark Bolland, who for six years was deputy private secretary to Prince Charles, said the book simply highlighted the monarchy's inadequacies.

"Diana had many remarkable qualities. The most important for the monarchy was her ability to connect with people and to champion important causes in a highly focused and disciplined way," Bolland wrote in Wednesday's Daily Mail.

"Try as they might (and they don't often even try), there is little most of the royal family can do to build bridges successfully with those parts of the population whose support is crucial for their survival," Bolland added.


SPENCER: I WAS TRYING TO HELP DIANA

Oct 23 2003

Spencer defends his 'cruel' letter

From Anthony Harwood, US Editor In New York, And Richard Smith, Emma Britton And Patrick Mulchrone In London

EARL Spencer yesterday defended his letter to Diana telling her she had "mental problems" by claiming he had been trying to help his sister.

He said in an interview on American TV: "I suppose all the loving letters I sent don't have the sell-ability of this one, which was a genuine bid to try to help her when she was at her most complex.

"The pressures on Diana were huge and immense and there was a stage where I felt that things needed to be addressed."

Extracts from the letter - sent in April 1996, 16 months before Diana's death - were revealed in yesterday's Daily Mirror serialization of butler Paul Burrell's book.

The earl told Diana: "I know how manipulation and deceit are parts of the illness. I pray you are getting treatment for your mental problems."

In his address at her funeral, Spencer described his sister as the "essence of compassion" and a "symbol of humanity".

Yesterday the earl told NBC he not believe conspiracy theories that the Paris crash was murder. The family was "absolutely certain" it was an accident.

Spencer, 39, also said Diana's letter to Burrell predicting her death in that way was just "bizarre coincidence".

Burrell himself told rival network ABC that Diana thought she was at risk because she was deemed a "loose cannon".

He said: "People thought she was messing with things that were far from the Royal Family."

In Britain, Queen's coroner Michael Burgess spoke out on the affair, saying he was still not ready to hold an inquest.

Earl Spencer was talking from Canada, where he was promoting the Althorp estate. He had planned to say that the Diana exhibition was temporarily moving to Toronto after visits to the US and Japan.

Instead - to his dismay and irritation, according to TV sources - he faced questions on Burrell.

Spencer said of the "mental problems" letter: "At the end of the day, that's a private correspondence and it's so out of context to the relationship we had.

"Anyone who tries to make out I didn't support and love my sister is way off the mark. I adored Diana and there isn't a day goes by where I don't miss her terribly."

IN the letter, he had also told Diana: "Our relationship is the weakest I have with any of my sisters."

Referring to the Diana letters quoted in Burrell's book, he went on: "I haven't seen them, in fact I don't think anyone's seen them apart from tiny extracts from them.

"But I gather from experts that the little extracts they've seen correspond to Diana's handwriting."

He said he had got a "horrible jolt" at Diana's crash fears. He added: "Was it an accident in that it was avoidable? I think it probably was.

"If they hadn't been going at high speed being chased by paparazzi with a driver who, from all reports, wasn't fit to drive, then I suppose that's an accident. It was avoidable on many counts.

"But with the conspiracy part of it, my family and I are absolutely certain that we've never seen any evidence of that whatsoever.

"If there was any evidence of that, of course we would be the most interested of all."

He described Diana's premonition as "just a bizarre coincidence rather than actually tied in with reality". He added: "With the terrible way she died, it's impossible to plan that."

Asked if he thought Diana had been paranoid, he said: "Paranoid is a very strong word, but I think using it in the common way of being very concerned about yourself, yes she was at times."

On whether she had ever expressed concerns to him, he said: 'Not the car ones, but definitely about being eavesdropped on and having her private quarters bugged.

"I think probably at the end of the day, Diana felt quite beleaguered by what we call the Establishment and ways they might get at her. But we've never ever seen any evidence of any conspiracy."

The earl supports Premier Tony Blair's rejection of a public inquiry. He added: "I can also see why people who really still feel confused about the whole issue might want a public inquiry."

He said his family was used to living with revelations about Diana, adding: "I just want to remember her in a positive way as a global humanitarian who was extremely glamorous and a hell of a sister."

Earlier, the Duchess of York was also on US TV, giving an interview on CNN's Larry King Live.

PRESSED on Diana, she asked King to change the subject and denied warning Diana about being spied on.

She said Camilla Parker Bowles was a "good lady" whom Diana would have liked.

Fergie was asked about her own relationship with Prince Philip and answered: "Oh come on, let's get off the subject. That's a real torpedo."

She said of Burrell: "I think it's very sad. Here he is, writing a book and making money from memories. She was such a great person and we don't need to know any more."

In London, the Queen and Philip - who had asked for a copy of the book - declined to look at yesterday's Mirror revelations. They were opening an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery on the South Bank.

Former royal nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke - wrongly accused by Diana in 1995 of becoming pregnant by Charles - laughed out loud when asked about the claim and said: "Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye."

She married divorced dad-of-two Charles Pettifer, 37, in 1999 and now lives on a farm near Abergavenny.

Coroner Mr Burgess, rebutting criticism of the inquest delay, said he had to take account of "investigations and proceedings" in France, some of which were still going on.

He would make "final decisions" as soon he could. "I also have to look at the practical arrangements for the public hearing," he added.

It also emerged that legal action against Burrell and his publishers is unlikely.

Revealing only extracts of letters and representing them fairly is considered sufficient to avoid a breach of confidentiality laws.


SPENCER: I WAS TRYING TO HELP DIANA Oct 23 2003

Spencer defends his 'cruel' letter

From Anthony Harwood, US Editor In New York, And Richard Smith, Emma Britton And Patrick Mulchrone In London

EARL Spencer yesterday defended his letter to Diana telling her she had "mental problems" by claiming he had been trying to help his sister.

He said in an interview on American TV: "I suppose all the loving letters I sent don't have the sell-ability of this one, which was a genuine bid to try to help her when she was at her most complex.

"The pressures on Diana were huge and immense and there was a stage where I felt that things needed to be addressed."

Extracts from the letter - sent in April 1996, 16 months before Diana's death - were revealed in yesterday's Daily Mirror serialisation of butler Paul Burrell's book.

The earl told Diana: "I know how manipulation and deceit are parts of the illness. I pray you are getting treatment for your mental problems."

In his address at her funeral, Spencer described his sister as the "essence of compassion" and a "symbol of humanity".

Yesterday the earl told NBC he not believe conspiracy theories that the Paris crash was murder. The family was "absolutely certain" it was an accident.

Spencer, 39, also said Diana's letter to Burrell predicting her death in that way was just "bizarre coincidence".

Burrell himself told rival network ABC that Diana thought she was at risk because she was deemed a "loose cannon".

He said: "People thought she was messing with things that were far from the Royal Family."

In Britain, Queen's coroner Michael Burgess spoke out on the affair, saying he was still not ready to hold an inquest.

Earl Spencer was talking from Canada, where he was promoting the Althorp estate. He had planned to say that the Diana exhibition was temporarily moving to Toronto after visits to the US and Japan.

Instead - to his dismay and irritation, according to TV sources - he faced questions on Burrell.

Spencer said of the "mental problems" letter: "At the end of the day, that's a private correspondence and it's so out of context to the relationship we had.

"Anyone who tries to make out I didn't support and love my sister is way off the mark. I adored Diana and there isn't a day goes by where I don't miss her terribly."

IN the letter, he had also told Diana: "Our relationship is the weakest I have with any of my sisters."

Referring to the Diana letters quoted in Burrell's book, he went on: "I haven't seen them, in fact I don't think anyone's seen them apart from tiny extracts from them.

"But I gather from experts that the little extracts they've seen correspond to Diana's handwriting."

He said he had got a "horrible jolt" at Diana's crash fears. He added: "Was it an accident in that it was avoidable? I think it probably was.

"If they hadn't been going at high speed being chased by paparazzi with a driver who, from all reports, wasn't fit to drive, then I suppose that's an accident. It was avoidable on many counts.

"But with the conspiracy part of it, my family and I are absolutely certain that we've never seen any evidence of that whatsoever.

"If there was any evidence of that, of course we would be the most interested of all."

He described Diana's premonition as "just a bizarre coincidence rather than actually tied in with reality". He added: "With the terrible way she died, it's impossible to plan that."

Asked if he thought Diana had been paranoid, he said: "Paranoid is a very strong word, but I think using it in the common way of being very concerned about yourself, yes she was at times."

On whether she had ever expressed concerns to him, he said: 'Not the car ones, but definitely about being eavesdropped on and having her private quarters bugged.

"I think probably at the end of the day, Diana felt quite beleaguered by what we call the Establishment and ways they might get at her. But we've never ever seen any evidence of any conspiracy."

The earl supports Premier Tony Blair's rejection of a public inquiry. He added: "I can also see why people who really still feel confused about the whole issue might want a public inquiry."

He said his family was used to living with revelations about Diana, adding: "I just want to remember her in a positive way as a global humanitarian who was extremely glamorous and a hell of a sister."

Earlier, the Duchess of York was also on US TV, giving an interview on CNN's Larry King Live.

PRESSED on Diana, she asked King to change the subject and denied warning Diana about being spied on.

She said Camilla Parker Bowles was a "good lady" whom Diana would have liked.

Fergie was asked about her own relationship with Prince Philip and answered: "Oh come on, let's get off the subject. That's a real torpedo."

She said of Burrell: "I think it's very sad. Here he is, writing a book and making money from memories. She was such a great person and we don't need to know any more."

In London, the Queen and Philip - who had asked for a copy of the book - declined to look at yesterday's Mirror revelations. They were opening an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery on the South Bank.

Former royal nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke - wrongly accused by Diana in 1995 of becoming pregnant by Charles - laughed out loud when asked about the claim and said: "Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye."

She married divorced dad-of-two Charles Pettifer, 37, in 1999 and now lives on a farm near Abergavenny.

Coroner Mr Burgess, rebutting criticism of the inquest delay, said he had to take account of "investigations and proceedings" in France, some of which were still going on.

He would make "final decisions" as soon he could. "I also have to look at the practical arrangements for the public hearing," he added.

It also emerged that legal action against Burrell and his publishers is unlikely.

Revealing only extracts of letters and representing them fairly is considered sufficient to avoid a breach of confidentiality laws.


05 Jan 2004 16:18:14 GMT
UK to hold inquest into death of Princess Diana

By Michael Holden

LONDON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - An inquest into the death of Britain's Princess Diana opens on Tuesday, promising to shed light on the car crash that killed her and possibly lay to rest conspiracy theories that she was murdered.

The former wife of heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles died alongside her lover Dodi Al Fayed and their chauffeur Henri Paul when their speeding Mercedes car crashed in a Paris tunnel on August 31, 1997, as it was chased by paparazzi on motorbikes.

Six years and 128 days after the accident, media and public fascination with Diana, who was one of the world's most glamorous and instantly recognisable figures, is still strong.

Reporters from across the globe will hear Royal Coroner Michael Burgess open separate inquests on Tuesday into the deaths of Diana and Dodi -- the first official public hearings into the crash to be held on British soil.

"The coroner will read a statement outlining the position now, what he will and won't look at, and why it has taken so long to get to this stage," a spokeswoman for the coroner's office said.

The inquest will then be adjourned and it will probably be at least six months before a full hearing takes place as Burgess must first wade through more than 6,000 pages of evidence, the spokeswoman added.

WAS DIANA PREGNANT?

An inquiry by French authorities in 1999 ruled the accident was caused by chauffeur Paul being drunk and driving too fast.

However, more sinister plots and theories abound.

Dodi's father, Harrods store owner Mohammed Al Fayed, has repeatedly called for a British inquiry, insisting that Diana and his son were murdered by the British secret services.

Diana's butler Paul Burrell said in a recent book she had predicted her own death in a letter written 10 months before she died, claiming someone was planning to kill her in a car crash.

And just last month a British newspaper reported that an unnamed French police investigator had claimed that Diana was pregnant at the time of her death.

Both Mohammed Al Fayed and Burrell could be called as witnesses to the inquest, although this will not be decided until a later date.

Robert Lacey, a royal biographer, said the inquests should finally reveal all the facts and bring some closure to the events, although he added the "magical aura" round Diana meant some people would never believe her death was an accident.

"I'm quite sure if someone had wished to kill Diana and her lover they would have come up with a better scheme than bashing her car off the wall in a Paris tunnel," Lacey told Reuters.


1-6-04 -

PRINCESS Diana accuses Charles from the grave
The Star, Africa
London - Britain has launched a top-level police investigation into the death of Princess Diana as a tabloid newspaper named Prince Charles as
the person she ...         Butler to name Princess Diana's enemy - Melbourne Herald Sun       Former royal butler Paul Burrell revealed Princess Diana's

Princess Diana accuses Charles from the grave
January 7, 2004

By Michael Holden and Kate Kelland

London - Britain has launched a top-level police investigation into the death of Princess Diana as a tabloid newspaper named Prince Charles as the person she suspected of plotting to kill her.

More than six years after Diana died in a car crash in Paris, royal coroner Michael Burgess yesterday opened an inquest into her death by saying Britain's top police officers should investigate claims that her death was not an accident but a deliberate plot.

"I am aware that there is speculation that (her death was) not the result of a sad but relatively straightforward road traffic accident in Paris," Burgess told the inquest, which was packed with hundreds of journalists from around the world.

"I have asked the Metropolitan Police commissioner to make inquiries."

Diana died at the age of 36, along with her lover Dodi al-Fayed and their chauffeur Henri Paul, in the August 1997 crash.

In a front-page splash yesterday, the Daily Mirror tabloid newspaper named Charles as the person Diana had claimed was "planning an accident" to kill her.
Diana made the allegation in a letter she gave to her butler and confidant, Paul Burrell.

The Mirror quoted from the letter Diana wrote just 10 months before her death.

"This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous," it said. "My husband is planning 'an accident' in my car, brake failure and serious head injury."

A spokesperson for Prince Charles declined to comment.

Royal biographer Robert Lacey said Diana's claim that her husband wanted her dead reduced the credibility of the allegation.

"It does raise the question about Diana's state of mind, her own paranoia, her sense of panic."

Burgess said the inquest would be adjourned for 12 to 15 months, meaning no evidence will be heard for at least a year.

"I have to separate fact from fiction and speculation," he said in a half-hour-long speech.

"Speculation and speculative reports are not themselves evidence, however frequently and authoritatively they may be published, broadcast or repeated." - Reuters

...
<http://www.thestar.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=128&fArticleId=319627>



POLICE called in as Britain opens inquest into Princess Diana's ...
Channel News Asia, Singapore
LONDON : The first British inquest into the death of Princess Diana opened, then adjourned after the coroner revealed that he is asking police to
look deeper ...         Princess Diana believed Charles wanted her killed, 

Posted: 06 January 2004 2056 hrs
Police called in as Britain opens inquest into Princess Diana's death

First British inquest into Diana's death opens 

UK to launch inquest into Princess Diana's death 

First British inquest into Diana death set for January 6

LONDON : The first British inquest into the death of Princess Diana opened, then adjourned after the coroner revealed that he is asking police to look deeper into the 1997 Paris car crash that took her life.

In launching the inquest, coroner Michael Burgess said he has asked Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir John Stevens to look into persistent speculation that Diana's death was more than an tragic accident.

"I am aware there is speculation these deaths were not the result of a sad, but relatively straightforward, road traffic accident in Paris," the coroner said, referring to the crash which also killed Diana's lover Dodi al-Fayed.

"I have asked the Metropolitan Police commissioner to make inquiries. The results of these inquiries will help me to decide whether such matters will fall within the scope of the investigation carried out at the inquests."

Burgess declared the Diana inquest underway at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in central London, ahead of the opening of a second inquest later in the day focusing on Fayed.

He said the full hearing would take place next year, though a date still has to be fixed.

Launching the proceedings, he said: "The purpose of this morning's hearing is to open formally the inquiry into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales."

Diana and Fayed, along with their driver Henri Paul, died on August 31, 1997, when their Mercedes-Benz limousine hit a pillar in an underpass beneath the Pont d'Alma in Paris, a year after Diana's divorce from Prince Charles, the son of Britain's Queen Elizabeth and the heir to the throne.

Diana's death triggered a remarkable outpouring of public grief in Britain, with Prime Minister Tony Blair calling the charismatic blonde -- an icon of the 1980s and 1990s, from her fairy-tale wedding to Charles to the end of their stormy marriage -- "the people's princess".

Fayed's father, Mohamed al-Fayed, the Egyptian-born owner of Harrods department store in London and the Paris Ritz hotel, has long claimed that Diana, 36, and his son, 42, were the victims of foul play.

He has contended that the crash was masterminded, perhaps by senior figures in Britain, to prevent Diana -- who had divorced Charles a year earlier -- from marrying his son.

"This is what we have been waiting for for six years," Fayed told reporters as he arrived at the inquest Tuesday with his lawyer. "At last, I hope we can see the light."

Talk of a conspiracy gathered pace last year when Diana's butler Paul Burrell, in his memoirs, said she wrote him a note 10 months before she died in which she said that someone "is planning 'an accident' in my car, brake failure and serious head injury".

"This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous," she wrote.

The Daily Mirror newspaper, which serialised Burrell's memoirs, revealed Tuesday the name of the person suspected by Diana, saying that it would eventually come out in the coroner's inquest.

Other news media, citing legal concerns, refrained from repeating the name, but some outlets reported that it was that of "a senior member" of the British royal family.

Speaking outside his home in Cheshire, northwest England, Burrell said Tuesday he was "not very happy" that the Daily Mirror -- one of Britain's most widely read tabloid newspapers -- had splashed the name on its front page.

"It was always my intention never to publish that name," said the former royal butler as he headed to work at his flower shop.

By law, a coroner's inquest needs to be held whenever the body of a British citizen who died abroad is returned home for burial.

But in the case of Diana and Fayed, their inquests had to wait first until the end of the French investigation into the accident, then the outcome of legal actions launched by the elder Fayed.

The official French conclusion is that the crash was the result of Paul, a Ritz hotel employee, driving too fast under the influence of alcohol.

Burgess, who will have access to 6,000 pages of information from the French authorities, stressed that his inquest would be impartial.

"The single-minded aim is to find the answers to the questions -- who the deceased person was, and how, when and where the cause of death arose," he said.

Burgess will be looking into Diana's death in his role as the coroner to the British royal family, while his inquest into Fayed's death stems from the fact that he is also coroner for Surrey, southwest of London, where Fayed lived.

Diana's bodyguard Trevor Rees Jones was the sole survivor of the crash on the short trip from the Ritz to Fayed's Paris apartment, but he has said he can recall little of what happened that night.

- AFP


<http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/65096/1/.html>


8 JANUARY 2004
Prince Charles received a rousing reception from a huge crowd of well-wishers when he turned out to open a breast cancer clinic in Hereford. The 55-year-old looked to be thoroughly enjoying the visit, despite the controversy that has engulfed him in recent days.

"Keep your chin up Charles," said 40-year-old Beverly Terry, one of the many royal fans at the event. "It's a difficult time," he responded. "Thank you."

Around 200 people came along to cheer the Prince as he opened the Haven Trust Therapy Centre. It was his first public appearance since a tabloid newspaper published one of Princess Diana's private letters and thereby provoked the latest row to hit the Royal Family.

"Charles acknowledged he was having difficulty but I think he appreciated the support from people here," said one onlooker. "He is a very brave fellow it took some guts to come."

The Prince of Wales managed to remain upbeat throughout and chatted animatedly with patients and staff. "He was very relaxed, concerned and kind he made people laugh two or three times," said founder Sara Davenport afterwards.
 



'SHE wasn't pregnant, I have seen into her womb'
The Times (subscription), UK
... They of course did the post-mortem on the driver. In the case of Princess
Diana, of course, there had been very extensive surgery.. ...
<http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-954300,00.html>

ROYAL coroner draws on Met's ability to oversee controversial ...
Independent, UK
... Armond yesterday as the policeman who will assist Michael Burgess,
the Coroner for the Royal Household, in his investigation into the deaths
of Princess Diana ...
<http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/legal/story.jsp?story=478770>

LADY Di inquest scrambles black helicopter brigade
The Register, UK
... Princess Diana and her soon-to-be husband, Dodi Fayed, were fatally
injured in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel. The site is ancient, dating ...
<http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/28/34719.html>


PROBE INTO DEATH OF A PRINCESS: DIANA POLICE TO 0 UIZ SCOTS ...
Glasgow Sunday Mail, UK
By Brendan Mcginty. TWO Scots scientists will be questioned by Scotland Yard over evidence that shows Princess Diana's death was NOT caused by drunk driving. ...         British police have doubts about blood sample from Princess ...  - Minneapolis Star Tribune (subscription)       Fayed on Princess Diana: 'It is absolute black and white ...  - Mathaba.Net       Frank Furedi : Diana syndrome - we get the conspiracies we ...
<http://www.sundaymail.co.uk/news/content_objectid=13803496_method=full_siteid=86024_headline=-PROBE-INTO-DEATH-OF-A-PRINCESS--DIANA-POLICE-TO-0-UIZ-SCOTS-EXPERTS-name_page.html


Reports: Witness Tells of Horrifying Scene of Princess Diana's Car Crash
Thursday January 15, 2004 3:44pm
Paris (AP) - A witness to the crash that killed Princess Diana described a horrific scene of screeching brakes, flying car parts and an impact that sounded like an explosion - and is "absolutely convinced" it was an accident, according to reports Thursday.

The witness, identified as Mohamed Medjahdi, told French weekly Paris Match and Britain's Daily Mail tabloid that he was driving in front of the Mercedes carrying Diana before the Aug. 31, 1997, crash in a tunnel under Paris' Pont de l'Alma bridge.

There have been few - if any - complete eyewitness accounts of the crash. The only surviving occupant of the car carrying Diana, bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, has said he does not remember the crash.

Medjahdi, of the suburban Val d'Oise region, recalled how he and his girlfriend, identified only as Souad M., were riding through the tunnel and listening to loud rap music in a Citroen compact when the crash occurred.

Diana, her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul were killed in the crash, which a French court ruled was an accident caused by Paul's speeding and being under the influence of alcohol.

Last week, Britain's royal coroner launched the country's first formal inquest into the deaths and asked police in London to examine a variety of conspiracy theories that have sprung up. Some people believe Diana was the victim of a conspiracy, variously pointing to the royal family and intelligence agencies.

But Medjahdi disagrees.

"Any conspiracy would have had to be carried out by invisible men," Medjahdi told the British daily. "I am absolutely convinced, clear and certain, that this was an accident."

Medjahdi said Diana's car was going so fast he had to speed up to avoid being hit.

Quoted in the Daily Mail, Medjahdi said: "I heard the terrible noise of screeching brakes and screaming tires and saw a big car slewing, out of control, across the highway behind me and hurtling toward my car."

"I saw part of the car go flying," he told Paris Match.

Medjahdi said the impact sounded like a huge explosion and saw the limousine bounce from a concrete pillar to the tunnel wall, according to the Daily Mail.

"It was a dreadful sound, like a bomb exploding, magnified and echoing around the underpass," he was quoted as saying.

In its report, Paris Match also quoted former French Interior Minister Jean-Pierre Chevenement as saying he had held out hope that Diana would survive immediately after the crash.

"She was in a coma, but still alive," said Chevenement, who was on hand at Saltpetriere hospital when the ambulance containing Diana arrived. "Her face was intact. She was not at all disfigured."

"At that moment, I never imagined that it was so serious and that she would die a few hours later," he was quoted as saying.

Paris Match and the Daily Mail reported that Medjahdi was questioned by investigators. Paris police would not confirm it, saying it was their policy not to release witnesses' names.

Repeated attempts by The Associated Press to reach Medjahdi at a telephone number listed for his home in suburban Paris were unsuccessful.

WITNESS tells how Princess Diana died
Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH
Paris - A witness to the crash that killed Princess Diana described a horrific scene of screeching brakes, flying car parts and an impact that sounded
like an ...         Reports: Witness Tells of Horrifying Scene of Princess Diana's ...
<http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/news/107425261318740.xml> 

(This site needs a subscription to view)


Witness describes driver of Fiat at scene of Princess Diana's crash, tabloid says

Saturday, January 17, 2004

(01-17) 17:43 PST LONDON (AP) --

A woman who witnessed the car crash in which Princess Diana died has described the driver of a white Fiat she says was at the scene and behaving strangely, according to a Sunday newspaper.

The People tabloid quoted Souad Mouffakir of Paris, saying she had been in a car driven by Mohamed Medjahdi ahead of the princess's Mercedes in a Paris road tunnel. Medjahdi was quoted by a different newspaper on Thursday describing the accident and saying there were no other cars there.

Tests have confirmed the Mercedes carrying Diana and her companion, Dodi Fayed, had a brush with a Fiat Uno before crashing in the tunnel Aug. 31, 1997. It is not known to what extent it might have been involved in the crash. French police questioned almost 3,000 owners of Fiat Unos.

Mouffakir is quoted as saying the Fiat came up very fast alongside the car she was in, then slowed down so they were side by side.

She described the driver as in his mid-thirties, Mediterranean, "short because his head was only just above the steering wheel," and with very dark brown, wiry hair.

"He had a very strange expression, like his mind was thinking about something else," she was quoted as saying. "I thought he was a madman."

She said she told Medjadhi to speed away and that "a moment later we heard the screech of tires," the newspaper said. She said she looked around and saw the Mercedes slide out of control, come toward them, then hit a pillar.

"I looked for the Fiat but it had disappeared. The Mercedes must have gone out of control trying to avoid it," she was quoted as saying.

The newspaper said Mouffakir had remained silent since 1997 because she was afraid of being killed, but it did not indicate whom she feared.

It said she had split three years ago from Medjahdi.

He was quoted earlier this week as telling the Daily Mail newspaper, "there was no other vehicle in my field of vision. I saw no cars with the Mercedes, no photographers on motorbikes around the car. There was no one."

A French court ruled the crash an accident caused by the driver's speeding and drinking.

Last week, Britain's royal coroner launched the country's first inquest into the deaths and asked police to examine a variety of theories. Some people believe Diana was the victim of a conspiracy, variously pointing to the royal family and intelligence agencies.

  SAN FRANCISCO NEWSPAPER


1/22/2004 11:52 AM Head of Princess Diana investigation says he may question Prince Charles
LONDON (AP) London's police commissioner said Thursday that his investigation of Princess Diana's death could include questioning of Prince Charles.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens, asked in a British Broadcasting Corp. television interview if his evidence-gathering would involve questioning the royal family, replied, "If that's necessary, we'll do that."

Asked if that could include Prince Charles, he said "Absolutely."

Inquests were opened Jan. 6 into the deaths of Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed in an August 1997 Paris car crash.

The inquests follow lengthy police investigations in France and a French judge's conclusion that the crash was an accident caused by the driver's speeding and being drunk. The driver, Henri Paul, also was killed.

Some of Diana's admirers refuse to believe the French verdict.

Royal coroner Michael Burgess asked Stevens to look into theories that the princess was the victim of a conspiracy, variously attributed to the royal family and intelligence agencies.

The Daily Mirror newspaper last month published a letter apparently written by Diana to her butler, in which she claimed that her ex-husband, Prince Charles, was plotting to kill her in an auto accident.

The Daily Mirror itself described the idea as "utterly preposterous to many people" and said there was no evidence to support the claim.

The royal coroner has adjourned both inquests at least until early next year to give him time to collect evidence, read the French police reports and to give British police time to complete their investigations.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 
Wed Sep 15, 2004
LONDON (Reuters) - James Hewitt, one-time lover of Britain's late Princess Diana, has been cautioned for possessing illegal drugs, police sources said on Wednesday.

Hewitt was arrested at a west London bar in July on suspicion of possessing a class "A" drug, a category which includes cocaine and heroin but police declined to give details on which drugs were involved.

They said in a statement on Wednesday that a 46-year-old man had returned to Notting Hill police station in west London in connection with an incident in July.

"Following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (he) received a caution for the offence of possession of a class A drug," the statement said.

Newspapers dubbed Hewitt a "rat" and the "vilest man in Britain" after he sold the story of his secret love affair with Diana as her marriage to heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles publicly came apart.

Diana, who was later divorced from Charles and who died in a Paris car crash in August 1997, was said to have been "devastated" at his public betrayal of their five-year affair.

After Diana's death, Hewitt also tried to sell intimate love letters from her but failed to find a buyer willing to pay the 10 million pound ($18.4 million) asking price.

Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.


NBC to air 'hidden' Diana video

 

Saturday, November 27, 2004 Posted: 8:07 AM EST (1307 GMT)

long.diana.ap.jpg
The tape was hidden for years after Diana's death.

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- NBC television network will broadcast a never-before-seen video tape of Diana, Princess of Wales, next week in which she says she suspects a member of her staff with whom she fell in love was "bumped off."

NBC said on Friday the two-part program starting next Monday includes excerpts of interviews Diana recorded with communications consultant Peter Settelen in her living room, discussing her childhood, marriage and struggle with bulimia.

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- NBC television network will broadcast a never-before-seen video tape of Diana, Princess of Wales, next week in which she says she suspects a member of her staff with whom she fell in love was "bumped off."

NBC said on Friday the two-part program starting next Monday includes excerpts of interviews Diana recorded with communications consultant Peter Settelen in her living room, discussing her childhood, marriage and struggle with bulimia.

Earlier this year NBC aired audio tapes Diana secretly recorded for a 1992 book that exposed the turmoil of her marriage to Prince Charles, whom she divorced in 1996. The princess was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

NBC said Diana met Settelen in September 1992, in the aftermath of the book by Andrew Morton, and had engaged him to train her in public speaking, a process that involved an on-camera interview to inspire confidence.

Excerpts of the program released in advance include comments by Diana on the lack of sympathy from her mother-in-law Queen Elizabeth when Diana went to her having discovered that Prince Charles was having an affair.

NBC said one section of the interview was "on falling in love with a member of her palace staff, presumed to be Royal Policeman Barry Mannakee, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1987."

"It was all found out and he was chucked out," Diana is quoted as saying. "And then he was killed. And that was the biggest blow of my life, I must say. And I think he was bumped off. But, um, there we are. I don't ... we'll never know, he was the greatest fellow I've ever had."

The two-hour special, which also features an interview with Settelen, is to be broadcast in two parts, on November 29 and December 6.

"This unusual tape, recorded in Diana's living room, hidden for years after her death, and fought over for months in the British courts, offers a view of the princess quite different from the formal public face she usually put forth," NBC said.


Copyright 2004 Reuters. All rights reserved.

The Diana Trial's Last Surprise

uk royals diana princess
Diana, Princess of Wales with Dodi Fayed in the elevator at the Ritz Hotel, Paris, the afternoon before they both died.
AP
 

Six months of testimony, 250 witnesses, a $6 million bill for the British taxpayer, and 23 hours of deliberation by the jury have all boiled down to one moment. On April 7, at around 4.30pm London time, five men and six women delivered their verdict on the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales, and her boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed, officially closing the book on what seemed a never-ending story. Their decision: unlawful killing due to the negligence of the paparazzi and driver Henri Paul.

SPECIAL REPORT

Ten Years On: Why Diana Mattered

A decade after her death, Princess Diana still looms large in Britain's psyche

The Diana Inquest Begins

Diana, Princess of Wales, posing against a dark background. Gemma Levine / ...

Diana Inquest: Three Key Questions

H.M. Coroner /

The Diana Jurors Go to Paris

Lord Justice Scott Baker and others examine the spot in Paris where the car of P...

The Diana Inquest Gets Personal

Love letters, in-laws, tears. Now the Diana inquest is getting personal.

Originally instructed to emerge with a unanimous verdict, the jury was deadlocked into the fourth day of deliberations. The judge, coroner Scott Baker, then told them he would accept a majority decision of nine jurors. An hour after that, they came back with "unlawful killing." In an inquest of few real surprises, this was one of the biggest. Most observers had thought they would agree with the conclusions of the French and British police, ruling the incident an accident. But the jury decided someone had to take the blame.

The unlawful killing verdict essentially a verdict of manslaughter was the most serious of the five available to the jury. Before Baker sent the jury out to deliberate on April 2, he laid out these options for them:
1) Unlawful killing: grossly negligent driving of the following vehicles [the paparazzi]
2) Unlawful killing: grossly negligent driving of the Mercedes [by Henri Paul, who also died in the crash]
3) Unlawful killing: grossly negligent driving of the following vehicles and of the Mercedes
4) Accidental death
5) Open verdict [none of the above]

Not included was the conspiracy theory that Dodi's father, Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed, has been pushing from the start, claiming that Prince Philip had ordered Britain's intelligence service, MI6, to orchestrate the crash and kill the two lovers. Baker explained throughout the entire inquest that he had not seen "a shred of evidence" to prove that the Duke of Edinburgh or the British intelligence service were behind the crash, so he was legally obliged not to offer "staged accident" as a possible verdict. But even with murder off the table, the panel decided to assign responsiblity for the death.

In their verdict, nine of the jurors agreed that "the crash was caused or contributed to by the speed and manner of driving of the Mercedes, the speed and manner of driving of the following vehicles [and] the impairment of the judgment of the driver of the Mercedes through alcohol." And all eleven believed that the fact that Diana and Dodi weren't wearing seat belts and that the Mercedes hit a pillar in the Pont d'Alma tunnel, instead of a larger surface that might have lessened the impact, were major factors in the deaths. Just as Baker directed, the jury delivered exactly the same verdict for both Diana and Dodi.

So what now? Well, not much. While the coroner recognized that "unlawful killing is a form of the very serious crime of manslaughter," the inquest is not a criminal trial. The verdict can't be used to launch a criminal investigation or prompt the pressing of charges against any of the paparazzi who are still alive. (Even if it could, Britain's Crown Prosecution can't prosecute foreign nationals for crimes committed abroad, and all of the paparazzi involved are foreigners.)

The fact that murder was never an option to the jury is a blow to Mohamed Al Fayed, who at the start of the inquest said he would accept the jury's verdict, whatever it was. In a statement read on his behalf immediately after the verdict was delivered, he said he was "disappointed," and that "The French and [British] inquiries were wrong and these inquests prove it." Taking a jab at the coroner, he criticized Baker's "accusations against me," adding "I feel that my character and beliefs... have been on trial." He remains convinced of conspiracy. As he was leaving the court, Al Fayed told the waiting press, "The most important thing is it is murder."

This may look a lot like the closure that so many have been waiting for. But over its six months, the inquest brought up a bunch of questions that were never fully answered: What happened to the letters that were in Diana's keepsake box, the letters that some of her friends say showed Prince Philip's animosity towards the Princess? Exactly how serious was Diana and Dodi's relationship? Will Trevor Rees, the only survivor of the crash, ever remember anything about what happened?

For the Royal Family, the British courts, most of the watching British public and, possibly, Al Fayed, this verdict marks The End of a long, exhausting and bewildering saga. But for anyone who likes melodramas about rebellious princesses, it's just another chapter.

 

 

 

 

 

BACK TO PRINCESS DIANA PAGE