Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Saturday, August 22, 1998 Published at 23:30 GMT 00:30 UK


Diana 'false goddess' says former archbishop

Lord Coggan said his comments were not an attack on Diana

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Coggan says Diana, Princess of Wales was "a false goddess" with "pretty loose morals", it has been reported.

His comments came just days before the anniversary of Diana's death in a car crash.

He said the personality cult surrounding her reflected a vacuum in society.

"Our nation has become godless. Man is made with a hollow which only God can fill.

[ image: The anniversary of the fatal car crash is just days away]
The anniversary of the fatal car crash is just days away
"Then along came this false goddess and filled the gap for a time. But like all false gods, it could not last," he told the Sunday Times.

"The British people identified with someone who had pretty loose morals and certainly loose sexual morals.

"A period of disillusionment is bound to set in, but that provides the church with the urgent task of presenting Christ in a fresh and clear way."

Lord Coggan, 88, who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1974 to 1980, said after the interview was published that he had not intended the comments to be a personal attack on the Princess.

"I was not branding her. I do not want it seen as an attack on her," he said.

"I have no further comment to make."

His comments came as a new poll revealed that 41% of Britons thought Diana's death was no accident.

[ image: Mohamed al-Fayed: Conspiracy theory]
Mohamed al-Fayed: Conspiracy theory
There was also support for the chief proponent of the conspiracy theory, Mohamed al-Fayed, the father of the Princess Diana's boyfriend Dodi, who died with her in Paris last year.

Some 52% of those questioned in the Sunday Times poll said he should be granted British citizenship, even though this has been denied him in the past.

The poll also shows that the popularity of the Royal Family has grown following a slump after the princess's death.

Fewer than one in three people (29%) now believe the Queen should abdicate either immediately or when she is 75 in 2001 while 62% say she should never step down.

Yet one year ago, 52% said the Queen should abdicate immediately or when she is 75.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Relevant Stories

22 Aug 98 | UK
Thousands to walk Diana funeral route

19 Aug 98 | UK
Kids told 'Diana in hell'

10 Aug 98 | Edinburgh Festival
Festival row over Diana jokes

14 Aug 98 | Europe
Anger at 'Diana tour'

12 Aug 98 | UK
Palace slates Diana book

04 Aug 98 | UK
Diana's car being sold to a museum

03 Aug 98 | UK
Privacy plea by Diana bodyguard

Internet Links

BBC Diana Memorial Site

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online