Was Princess Diana murdered?
The death of the British monarch is back in the spotlight thanks to the debut of a primetime ABC special, The Last 100 Days of Diana. The documentary explored the final days of the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and what caused her death.
But the program has also kicked up rumors circulating for the past two decades that Princess Diana may have been murdered, which have pointed both to her former husband, Prince Charles, and to a plot possibly hatched by the intelligence agency MI6.
Princess Diana died after a car crash on a Paris road on August 31, 1997. She and then-boyfriend Dodi Fayed were being driven through the city when their car was chased by paparazzi, and crashed in an attempt to escape them. Driver Henri Pau, who also died in the crash, was found to have a high level of alcohol in his system, WWSB reported.
As The Last 100 Days of Diana revealed, the princess almost avoided the fatal accident. Princess Diana reportedly made a last-minute decision to join Fayed in Paris.
“She rang me and said, Dodi wants to go to Paris, would you tell William and Harry I’ll be back the day after,” Paul Burrell said (via TVNZ).
— ABC News (@ABC) May 3, 2017
In the decades after the accident, there have been rampant rumors about Princess Diana’s death and the possibility that the accident wasn’t really an accident at all. Some of those rumors were fueled by Princess Diana herself, with an inquest in her death uncovering a handwritten letter from Princess Diana expressing fears that Prince Charles was plotting to kill her so that he could marry Tiggy Legge-Bourke, the former nanny their children.
The note was sent to Princess Diana’s butler, Paul Burrell, in late 1993. Ten months later, the couple announced that they were separating.
— ABC News (@ABC) May 3, 2017
In a 2007 article about the rumors that Princess Diana was murdered, the Telegraph printed the text of the handwritten letter, which had details strikingly similar to the actual accident that would claim her life.
“I am sitting here at my desk today in October, longing for someone to hug me and encourage me to keep strong and hold my head high,” she wrote. “This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous – my husband is planning ‘an accident’ in my car, brake failure and serious head injury in order to make the path clear for him to marry Tiggy. Camilla is nothing but a decoy, so we are all being used by the man in every sense of the word.”
As the Telegraph report noted, there were other fears at the time of Princess Diana’s death that she had actually been murdered — though by a different member of the royal family.
“Mohamed Fayed, the father of the princess’s boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, claims that the couple were killed by MI6 on the orders of Prince Philip to prevent them marrying and having a Muslim baby. Michael Mansfield, QC, representing Mr Fayed, has suggested to close friends of the princess that she had expressed fears for her safety, which they have denied.”
— Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) May 3, 2017
Though the rumors that Princess Diana was murdered circulated on the fringes of conspiracy theorists, the London Metropolitan Police took them seriously enough to conduct an official investigation in 2004.
That led to a coroner concluding that there was “not a shred of evidence” that Princess Diana was murdered, the Telegraph reported.
“I have determined that it is not open to you to find that this was unlawful killing by the Duke of Edinburgh or anyone else in a staged accident,” Lord Justice Scott Baker testified.
Baker also added that Mohamed Fayed’s claims that MI6 agents orchestrated her death were “so demonstrably without foundation” that even Fayed’s lawyer backed off the claims.
Despite the denials, the rumors that Princess Diana may have been murdered are still circulating, especially among conspiracy theory websites and tabloid reports. And the popularity of The Last 100 Days of Diana appears to be giving those rumors new life.
[Featured Image by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images]