To enjoy the full Mail & Guardian online experience: please upgrade your browser
03 Oct 2007 16:18
It may never be known if Princess Diana was pregnant when she died with her lover, Dodi al-Fayed, in a high-speed Paris car crash, the inquest into their deaths was told on Wednesday.
Dodi’s father, Harrods luxury storeowner Mohamed al-Fayed, says the couple were killed in 1997 by Britain’s security services on the orders of Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Diana’s former father-in-law.
Fayed says the royal family ordered the killings because Diana was pregnant and was planning to marry her Muslim lover.
Summing up his opening remarks on day two of the inquest, Lord Justice Scott Baker said: “It is likely that pregnancy is a matter that cannot be proved one way or the other in scientific terms in this case.”
Diana (36), Dodi (42) and chauffeur Henri Paul were killed when their Mercedes car crashed in a road tunnel as they sped away from the Ritz Hotel in Paris, pursued by paparazzi.
Fayed, whose allegations have been spelt out in court by the judge, also claims that Diana’s body was hastily embalmed to cover up evidence that she was expecting another child.
The judge asked the jury to consider if the embalming was legal, who authorised it and whether there was an ulterior motive.
Scott Baker, presiding over a case that has attracted worldwide press interest and may take up to six months to resolve, said there was conflicting evidence about an engagement ring said to have been bought by Dodi for Diana.
He also went into scientific detail over the post-mortem tests carried out on Henri Paul, the chauffeur who drove their car.
Investigations by French and British police have concluded the deaths were a tragic accident caused by Paul, who was found to be drunk and had been speeding. They both rejected Fayed’s conspiracy theories.
Scott Baker also revealed that among the witnesses he hoped to call at the inquest was Paul Burrell, Diana’s devoted butler who she referred to as “her rock”.
Britain had to wait for the French legal process to end and then for the British police investigation to run its course before the inquests into Diana’s and Fayed’s deaths could begin.
Under British law, an inquest is needed to determine the cause of death when someone dies unnaturally.—Reuters
Create Account | Lost Your Password?