After a two-year police investigation and a six-month-long inquest in 2008 a finding was returned blaming the deaths of Princess Diana and her wealthy Egyptian playboy lover, Dodi Fayed, on the negligent driving of their chauffeur and pursuing paparazzi. The couple died with their driver, Henri Paul, more than a decade earlier on August 31, 1997, when their speeding limousine smashed into the side of a thick concrete tunnel wall in Paris.
The long-awaited verdict of “unlawful killing” came after an exhaustive proceeding at the United Kingdom’s Royal Courts of Justice, where Dodi’s billionaire father, Muhamed al-Fayed, branded the twin deaths an assassination stemming from a conspiracy of high-ranking government and intelligence authorities. Then Prime Minister Tony Blair, the British ambassador to France and operatives with MI5, Britain’s military intelligence service, and MI6, also known as the SIS, the secret intelligence service, were accused of participating in the diabolic scheme.
40 or more attorneys
Muhamed al-Fayed’s lawyer, Michael Mansfield, who was backed at the hearings and during preparation by 40 or more attorneys assisting in the case, had a different take on how the princess and the playboy died.
Mansfield said he believed a plan was afoot to sabotage the relationship between Diana and Dodi and to alter her life and activities. The divorced mother of a future king had embarrassed the royal family with her forbidden love affair and politically explosive activities opposing land mines and promoting disarmament. But the lawyer told the press: “I don’t believe anyone wanted to see her dead.”
So, who to believe?
Today almost 20 years after the fairytale princess and her handsome boyfriend died in Paris’ Alma tunnel, some of her admirers believe the official version, that the deaths were a tragic accident that occurred while the star-crossed couple was fleeing the paparazzi with their intruding questions and flashing cameras. They also generally accepted the finding that Paul contributed greatly to the crash by drinking heavily before taking the wheel and driving at high speed.
But over the years since the deaths, an increasing number of people in the United Kingdom, the United States and elsewhere in the world have come to suspect that the elder Fayed knew what he was talking about. And some suspect that Mansfield may have been right about the couple dying when an effort to give Diana a good fright went terribly wrong.
But a flurry of other conspiracy theories has popped up in the years since the tragedy like mushrooms after a spring rain.
Here are some of the more plausible theories but by no means all of them:
- Diana was pregnant with the child of her Muslim boyfriend, so agents of MI5, MI6, or of both intelligence agencies killed her because she was poised to become a threat to the throne and the stability of the government. (Analysis of blood samples taken from Diana’s body disclosed she was not pregnant.)
- Dodi was the real target of assassins who were enemies of the son and his rich and powerful father, who among other things owned the famous Harrods department store in London. Diana simply had the bad luck to get in the way.
- The princess was ordered killed by international arms dealers because of her vocal opposition to land mines and military armament.
- Diana was so fed up with the lack of privacy that she, or she and Dodi together, set up fake deaths to allow them to vanish from public life. But the lovers’ scheme went terribly awry.
- The former princess of Wales, duchess of Cornwall and so on was a descendant of the ancient Merovingians in an area of Western Europe formerly known as Gaul. To some people, that meant she was a descendant of Jesus after he survived the cross, and her death was arranged so that her sainthood could be secured.
- Diana had learned that Queen Elizabeth and other royals were reptilian shape-shifters from another galaxy and she was preparing to blow the whistle on them.