AM – Tuesday, 21 October , 2003 08:18:40
Reporter: Fran Kelly
HAMISH ROBERTSON: Princess Diana predicted the car accident that took her life, according to revelations in London’s Daily Mirror.
In an extract from a handwritten note to her butler, Paul Burrell, the princess made the extraordinary claim that someone was planning to cause brake failure in her car, resulting in a serious head injury, in order to clear the way for Prince Charles to marry Camilla Parker-Bowles.
This follows a number of conspiracy theories about Diana’s death after the car accident in Paris in 1997, which killed her, her lover, Dodi Fayed and their chauffeur Henri-Paul.
Fran Kelly reports from London.
FRAN KELLY: Six years ago the world wept when Princess Diana, the Queen of Hearts, was killed in a car crash late at night in a Paris tunnel.
But mystery surrounded that fateful night. Television re-enactments, extensive revisiting of the events by the press and an exhaustive two-year official French inquiry with its 6,000 pages of findings largely suppressed, have fuelled the many conspiracy theories.
This handwritten note by Princess Diana will now only add to that web of intrigue.
Written 10 months before the car crash, she writes:
“This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous. X” (and the name’s blacked out) “is planning an accident in my car – brake failure and serious injury, in order to make the path clear for Charles to marry”.
According to Piers Morgan, editor of the Daily Mirror and self-confessed Diana sceptic, the letter increases pressure on the Government to hold an inquest into Diana’s death.
PIERS MORGAN: If people in the Royal Family or the British establishment want to stop the conspiracy theories raging out of control following today’s publication of this letter, then they need to have an inquest and have a formal inquiry, in my view.
Most people in this country, according to all opinion polls in the last couple of years, have a real concern about whether we’ve been told the truth about what happened to Diana.
I have always personally believed it was an accident, but I have to say when I read this letter for the first time, even I, as a sceptic of all the conspiracy theories, thought my god, have I got this wrong?
ROBERT LACEY: There’s no doubt at all that what has happened today has advanced the Diana conspiracy death theories. I have little doubt now that we are going to see an inquest in this country. If the Royal Family don’t agree to it, there will be questions asked in Parliament.
It is now such a major public issue that the inquest will have to be held.
FRAN KELLY: Robert Lacey’s penned a number of books on the Royals, and he believes this note is the real thing, but doesn’t actually prove anything.
ROBERT LACEY: There’s no doubt at all it’s her own genuine handwriting, it certainly expresses a genuine fear that we know she had at a very difficult time of her life. One of the questions about it is, what else in this letter that hasn’t been revealed portrays the balance of her mind.
FRAN KELLY: Can we know at all, or even hazard a guess on whether this was some kind of premonition or a fear founded on something concrete?
ROBERT LACEY: Well, that is what this document doesn’t tell us. It’s from nowhere, it could well have come from one of her psychics. She doesn’t say whether it came from somebody was actually in a position possibly to know.
It also raises a big question about Paul Burrell. If he knew he had in his possession a letter in which Diana said somebody or something is planning a car crash, and she wrote this only nine months or so before she died in a car crash, why didn’t he produce it at the time?
FRAN KELLY: Not surprisingly, the Palace wasn’t commenting on this story, but the Royal Office was saying there will be an inquest into the death of Dodi and Diana, but the timing of that is in the hands of the Royal Coroner, not the Royals themselves.
This is Fran Kelly in London for AM.