London – The judge in the inquest on the death of Princess Diana in 1997 flatly told the jury Monday that she was not murdered in any alleged plot instigated by the British secret service. Lord Justice Scott Baker, giving his summing up, said there was “not a shred of evidence” that Britain’s MI6 was involved in a plot to kill Diana, as alleged by Egyptian businessman and Harrods owner Mohamed al-Fayed.
He also said there was no evidence at all that Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, had any hand in the death of the woman who dubbed herself the Princess of Hearts, as alleged by al-Fayed.
Al-Fayed’s son Dodi and Diana, former wife of Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, were killed in a car crash in Paris’ Alma tunnel in August 1997.
Judge Baker’s summary came at the end of a six-month inquest which heard 250 witnesses and examined thousands of pieces of evidence.
Baker instructed the jurors that they could either pass an open verdict, rule the couple’s death had been an accident or a case of gross negligence by the pursuing paparazzi or the couple’s driver Henri Paul.
Years of investigations by French police and Scotland Yard had come to the same conclusion, rejecting murder speculation of a car blinding the driver with its headlights or a mysterious Fiat ramming Diana’s Mercedes limousine.
Diana’s sons William and Harry had added to media speculation that denied Diana to rest in peace. Shortly before the 10th anniversary of her death, William, 25, said in a TV interview that he would never stop thinking about the causes of her death.
His 23-year-old brother Harry added that “no-one would ever know that had happened in that tunnel.”
Britain’s media immediately took these remarks, despite the princes’ later clarification that they never doubted the deaths had been accidental, as an indication that “dark powers” may have been at work.
Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell, 49, who first coined the “dark powers” theory in his bestselling Diana memoirs, was asked at the inquest to prove his claims of royal warnings about sinister goings- on.
He claimed that Queen Elizabeth had warned him that “in this country, powers are at work that we don’t know about” – but during the inquest failed to provide promised evidence. Baker refused to summon the queen to the witness stand.
After Burrell was caught on video boasting that he lied in the inquest, it became obvious that al-Fayed’s accusations would not win the day.