On this day (31st August),17 years ago,Diana,Princess Of Wales was killed in a car crash in Paris.Her death was followed by shock and mourning worldwide.However,not long after the tragedy,an alternative theory regarding the cause and circumstances that led to her death started to appear.In this post,I'll do my best to present the official story and the conspiracy theories.
The Official Story
After having dinner at The Ritz hotel in Paris,Diana,boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed and bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones were being driven to Dodi's flat by chauffeur Henri Paul.Henri Paul is intoxicated and their Mercedes is being pursued by paparazzi when,at 12:25am, it hits a pole travelling 70mph in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel.An hour after the crash,an ambulance carrying Diana leaves for the hospital,Dodi Al Fayed and Henri Paul both die at the scene of the accident.At 2:06am the ambulance arrives at the hospital which is located less than 4 miles away from the crash site.Doctors note that Diana's pulmonary vein has torn,which makes it unlikely that she will survive.After 2 hours of heart massage,Diana is pronounced dead at 4am.
After Diana's Death-A Timeline
1st September 1997 - Blood tests taken from Henri-Paul reveal that he was nearly three times over the legal drink-drive limit,with a carbon monoxide level of 20.7%.
2nd September 1997 - The French investigation into the crash begins.
5th September 1997 - A spokesman for Mohamed Al Fayed (Dodi's father) shows CCTV footage from the night of the crash to prove that Henri-Paul was not drunk or drugged.An Eyewitness claims to have seen a "flash of light" just before the crash. This is the first time anyone comes forward against the official story and these claims ignite conspiracy theories.
6th September 1997 - Diana's funeral.
10th September 1997 - At the request of Mohamed Al Fayed,a second blood test is conducted.It came back with a similar blood alcohol level,with the addition of traces of Prozac,which treats depression, and Tiapridal,which treats alcohol dependency.A sample taken from the groin showed lower levels of carbon monoxide.
18th September 1997 - A description of a white Fiat is given to French police by eyewitnesses,who believe it was acting suspiciously.The eyewitnesses say:
"A white Fiat zigzagged as it came out of the tunnel, so much so that it almost hit us." They continue, "The driver seemed to be perturbed by something in his rear-view mirror. He was transfixed by whatever he was looking at."
19th September 1997 - Trevor Rees-Jones,the only survivor of the crash,says that he is suffering from amnesia and can't recall the crash.
2nd October 1997 - French police confirm evidence found at the scene of the crash which points to the involvement of a white Fiat.The search for the car begins.
12th February 1998 - Mohamed Al Fayed makes further claims that the crash was not an accident,and that Diana and Dodi were on their way to celebrate their engagement.
13th February 1998 - Private detectives working for Mohamed Al Fayed claim to have found the white Fiat,and that it belongs to paparazzi photographer James Andanson.
21st April 1998 - Mr Rees-Jones quits his job as a bodyguard working for Mohamed Al Fayed.
2nd August 1998 - Francois Levistre,an eyewitness who had previously claimed to have seen a massive flash which may have blinded Henri Paul,now claims that he saw a motorcycle swerve in front of the Mercedes which may have caused the crash.
23rd August 1998 - Mohamed Al Fayed says that it was the "incompetence and unprofessional practice" of Mr Rees-Jones and Mr Wingfield,another bodyguard,which led to the death of his son and Princess Diana.
30th August 1998 - Richard Tomlinson,a former British spy,tells a British tabloid of a MI6 plot to kill the Serbian President which involved a bright flash and a tunnel,and that Diana's accident seems to mirror this plot.
3rd September 1999 - The official French report on the crash is published.It blames Henri Paul driving at excessive speeds while under the influence for the crash.None of the photographers arrested after the crash are charged.
30th August 2003 - Mohamed Al Fayed makes further claims that Diana had called him the night she died to inform him that she was pregnant with Dodi's baby.
14th December 2006 - A report by Lord Stevens on the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed is published and supports the findings of the French report.
7th April 2008 - The jury at the Royal Courts of Justice,which has held an inquest into the crash decide that Diana and Dodi were unlawfully killed due to the "gross negligence" of Henri Paul and the paparazzi.
Conspiracy - For & Against
Perhaps the most interesting part of this story and the strongest indication of a conspiracy,is that in October 1993,10 months after her and Prince Charles separated,Diana wrote a letter to butler,Paul Burrell,claiming that Charles was "planning an accident" involving her car,"brake failure & severe head injury".If you don't believe in coincidences,then this prediction,followed by the manner in which Diana died,is more than a tad suspicious.
There were almost 4 years between when Diana wrote that letter and her actual death,why would it take so long for them to carry out the plan? Also,Diana claims in the letter that the reason Charles would kill her is to "make the path clear for him to marry Tiggy (the former nanny of Princes William & Harry)" and that "Camilla is nothing but a decoy." Camilla Parker Bowles would go on to marry Prince Charles.If Diana was wrong about that aspect,there's a chance she could have been wrong about the plot to have her killed.
There was 1 hour and 43 minutes between the time of the crash and Diana's arrival at the hospital less than 4 miles away. It is claimed that Diana was pregnant and the reason for the time taken to get to the hospital is that she was given a forced abortion on the side of the road.This could be the only way that an autopsy would come back negative for pregnancy.While this seems like a particularly sinister part of this plot,I can't help but think anyone willing to go to such lengths to have such a high profile target killed,would go that bit further.
Apart from it seeming unlikely that anyone involved in this plot could have known about Diana's pregnancy,considering Mohamed Al Fayed claims he only found out the day of her death,which makes it even less likely that they would have been prepared to give Diana an abortion on the side of the road.Rosa Monckton,a friend of Diana's,says that Diana had had her period just 10 days prior to her death while the two were on holiday together.The length of time between the crash and Diana's arrival at the hospital seems to be quite easily explained.In France,unlike England,after an accident the focus is more centred around giving someone expert treatment at the site of the accident,in Diana's case,this is said to have lasted around an hour, and while it is true that the ambulance did stop en route to the hospital,it is reported that this was so the doctor could administer dopamine to prevent cardiac arrest. These factors combined with the 20 minutes it took to get Diana out of the vehicle,means that the actual journey from the site of the crash to the hospital only took around 25 minutes.
The main reason that seems to show up over and over again for someone wanting to have Diana killed is that,despite their relationship only having begun a few weeks beforehand,Dodi was planning to propose to Diana,and the powers that be wouldn't want the mother of the future King of England to be married to a Muslim.Indeed,a ring was found in Dodi's apartment after his death.Sadly,it doesn't seem all that far fetched,especially in the 1990's, that these attitudes might exist among the British monarchy and the powerful organisations which run the country, in which the majority of its citizens are Christian.It may,also,have been Dodi's reputation of fast cars,beautiful women and financial instability which caught the attention of those who would come up with such a plot,but is a lavish lifestyle and religious prejudice enough to sentence three people to a death sentence?
The problem with the religious prejudice motive is that after Diana and Charles' separation,Diana entered into a relationship with a Pakistani Muslim heart surgeon,this relationship lasted for 2 years and they were still involved when Diana and Dodi's whirlwind romance started.Why would those in power overlook a 2 year relationship,but draw the line with Dodi Al-Fayed? Also,a week before her death,Diana made a statement against the idea of another marriage,she told her friend Lady Annabel Goldsmith "I need marriage like a rash on my face."
It is believed that if there was a plot against Diana that Henri Paul must have been involved.It was revealed after the crash that Paul was a low-level unpaid informer for the French internal security service,that was his official position,could it be possible that he had a different role in reality than what it says on paper? With Paul in control of the car,he made the decision to go through the tunnel.A tunnel is the perfect place for an assassination,it is a controlled environment with few witnesses. It was Paul's personal wealth and the large some of money he had in his pocket (approx 1500 euros) at the time of the crash which spawned the rumours of his involvement.
Even if Henri Paul would have been on the payroll of a security agency,and given the job of crashing the car,would Paul really have put his own life on the line for a paycheck? That's making a transition from assassin to martyr.I can't imagine Paul being that dedicated to the cause.Also,friends of Paul's have attempted to justify the large some of money he had at the time by saying that it was the nature of his job and that he would receive large tips from his wealthy clients.
If we rule out Henri Paul causing the crash on purpose,then the other options given are that Paul was drugged which could have caused him to either collapse at the wheel or be in a condition which is more likely to lead to a crash.The final option would be that the Mercedes at some point prior to the crash being stolen and fitted with a device which would have allowed an outside controller to override the drivers actions.This is an idea which seems like it would be relatively easy to execute in 2014,and I can imagine in 1997,the top agencies already having access to such technology.This theory would give the plotters much more control over the situation.With the surviving passenger in the car suffering from amnesia,he would be neither able to confirm or deny whether Paul had control of the car when it crashed.
Finally,and perhaps most compelling is the fact that not a single CCTV camera captured any video or images of the Mercedes between the Ritz and the tunnel. In the time we live in now,this fact seems absurd.There were an estimated 10 CCTV cameras on the route the vehicle took,and 14 CCTV cameras in the tunnel,none of which recorded the fatal collision.
An investigation into the CCTV cameras found that there were 10 CCTV cameras between the Ritz and the Pont de l'Alma underpass,but they are security cameras which were privately owned and facing the entrances of buildings.As for the camera inside the tunnel,it was operated by the Paris urban traffic unit which closed at 11pm and didn't have any night staff. This meant that the camera continued to broadcast images in real time and could be viewed but not controlled by officers in the Police Headquarters information and command centre,but none of them were watching that particular camera at the time of the crash.
So,there you have it.You've got some of the arguments for a conspiracy,some against,you can make your own mind up what you think happened.While I'm not convinced of a conspiracy myself,it is not because I don't think British intelligence agencies are capable of it because they certainly are,and if such orders were handed down, I don't think there would be much hesitation to act on them.So,questioning the official story is a good idea,but I'm not sure the evidence is there to back it up on this occasion.Disagree? Leave any thoughts or comments in the section below.
If you liked this then you might be interested in Kelly Thomas' story,you can see that here:
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