A loss that’s still resonating
> Princess Diana’s shocking death 20 years ago continues to trigger a deluge of speculations and conspiracies to this day
serious head injuries and said he could not remember details of events before the crash.
Formal inquests in Britain and France continued for more than a decade, but eventually, they dismissed the most sensational allegations.
“If ever there was a case that has generated rumour and suspicion, and indeed it has done so on an international scale, surely this is it,” Lord Justice Scott, who oversaw the British inquest, commented near the end of proceedings in 2008.
A jury issued a verdict of ‘unlawful killing’ in 2008, following the inquest, highlighting gross negligence by driver Henri Paul, and by paparazzi who were pursuing the car at high speed.
It said the lack of operational seatbelts and alcohol consumed by Paul were contributory factors.
Hasnat Khan, a heart surgeon whose two-year relationship with Diana had ended earlier in 1997, told a separate Operation Paget inquiry by London’s Metropolitan Police that he found “no evidence that anyone was opposed to his relationship with the Princess of Wales (Diana) other than her own mother”.
The report concluded that Diana had “explored the possibility of an inter-faith marriage” to Hasnat, but it said its evidence suggested she had not intended to marry Dodi and did not believe she was pregnant.
Hasnat said Diana had told him in December 1995 that she had changed her car because “the brakes had been tampered with” on her previous vehicle, while other witnesses said she had concerns for her safety.
The inquests did not satisfy the doubters. Mohamed bankrolled the 2011 documentary film, Unlawful Killing, directed by British actor and comedian Keith Allen, which included claims that the royal family had wanted Diana “consigned to a mental institution”.
Writing in The Guardian on the film’s ban in Britain after the makers rejected dozens of proposed cuts, Allen alleged that many “significant witnesses” were not called or declined to speak at the inquest into Diana’s death.
He accused the British establishment, including the media, of “quietly suppressing uncomfortable evidence”.
Michael Cole, a former journalist who was Mohamed’s public relations adviser for many years before and after 1997, has written a new book, Diana and Dodi: The Truth.
Cole describes his feeling in 1997 that many events following the crash “seemed strange”.
“He sensed a cover-up, with the authorities on both sides of the Channel anxious to write off the deaths of the world’s most celebrated woman and her lover as accidental,” publishers Biteback said.
Yet Biteback and Cole withdrew the book just two weeks before its scheduled publication, citing “an abrupt change of mind” by Mohamed, and leaving another void for conspiracy theorists to fill. – dpa
(left) Diana’s royal ceremonial funeral on Sept 6, 1997, watched by over two billion people worldwide. (above) The tragic couple, Diana and Dodi, who both died in the crash.