2.21.2008

Princess Diana's Never-Ending Saga

by Molly Kenney

It’s been more than a decade since Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car crash in a tunnel in Paris along with her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul. But these days in London, you’d think she died last week.

Dodi Fayed’s father, Mohammed al Fayed, is before the Royal Courts of Justice this week as part of the English inquest, which began in October 2007, into the deaths. In court, Fayed emotionally testified that Diana was pregnant and engaged to his son when they died. He claims that the British royal family enlisted MI6, the British version of the CIA, to kill them both and pave the way for Prince Charles to marry Camilla Parker Bowles, his long-time girlfriend. According to the BBC, Fayed called Prince Philip “a racist” and “a Nazi” with family ties to the “Frankenstein” clan. With such exciting goings-on inside the courts, it’s no wonder I have to fight through the camera crews every morning to get to school next door.

Debate about the crash was first focused on the blood alcohol level of driver Paul. Then, attention shifted to James Andanson, a French photographer and the driver of a white Fiat Uno, the car that may have caused the crash. Stories abounded about a flash of light from the Fiat blinding Paul, who lost control of the princess' car. When Andanson killed himself a few years later, MI6 involvement became the popular explanation. Was the Princess pregnant? Why was her body embalmed without the proper paperwork? Were the seatbelts in the princess' Mercedes just unworn or had they been broken by the MI6? Most explanations involved royal tendencies for homicide and/or cover-ups.

The web of conspiracy theories is almost as complex as those surrounding September 11. Their individual merits are questionable, but the sheer number of questions surrounding the crash does give a bad feeling. It’s clear that Diana was beloved in the U.K. and internationally, and the sudden deaths of three people are awful in any context. But there appear to be no answers to the tragedy, and it’s time to move on.

In the U.K., there is palpable frustration about what Diana’s death has become: another media circus. No new physical evidence can be discovered so long after the incident, and recent case developments are little more than fresh conspiracy theories and blaming. The inquest should be closed to prevent Diana’s legacy from becoming little more than another decade of media madness.

After the Diana mania is put to rest, Britain’s highest court can carry on with other crucial business, like the divorce proceedings of Paul McCartney and Heather Mills.

It seems I’ll never to get to school on time.

(Photo of Princess Diana shaking hands at an event in Bristol in 1987 by Floyd Nello of Bristol, UK, via Flickr, using a Creative Commons License.)







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