[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 October, 2003, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
Earl rules out Diana conspiracies
Diana Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed
Diana died in a car accident with Dodi Al Fayed and a chauffeur
Earl Spencer has dismissed conspiracy theories about the death of his sister Diana, Princess of Wales, describing an apparent prediction of her own death in a letter as a "bizarre coincidence".

He told NBC's Today show he understood from handwriting experts, that letters allegedly sent by Diana to former butler Paul Burrell saying she feared for her life, were genuine.

But he added: "With the conspiracy part of it, my family and I are absolutely certain that we have never seen any evidence of that whatsoever.

"I do think it is just a bizarre coincidence rather than tied in with reality."

In the alleged letter, sent about 10 months before the fatal Paris tunnel crash in August 1997, Diana writes about her fears of an accident being planned involving her car.

Earl Spencer, who believed the accident had been "probably avoidable", said his sister had been worried about being bugged but had never mentioned being afraid of a car crash to him.

We have never ever seen any evidence of conspiracy
Earl Spencer

"Diana felt quite beleaguered by what we call the establishment in Britain and looked at ways they might get at her.

"But, as I say again, we have never ever seen any evidence of conspiracy."

Meanwhile, the Royal Coroner says he is not yet able to fix a date for an inquest into the Diana's death.

Michael Burgess, who is also the Surrey coroner, announced in August he would conduct an inquest into her death and the death of her companion Dodi Al Fayed.

The French inquiry in 1999 blamed chauffeur Henri Paul, who also died, concluding he had taken a cocktail of drink and drugs and had been driving too fast.

According to British law, an inquest must happen when a body is returned to Britain following a death abroad.

French proceedings

"The inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, has not yet been held because the various investigations being made on my behalf have not so far been concluded," Mr Burgess said on Wednesday.

He said he wanted to take into account the "findings of the investigations" of the French inquiry but understood that "some of these matters are still before the French courts".

It was his responsibility to decide on the scope of the investigations, the witnesses to be called, when to hold the inquest and "the practical arrangements for the public hearing".

"I am not yet in a position to make final decisions on any of these matters, but aim to do so as soon as I can."


Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace's lawyers are examining Mr Burrell's book containing details of alleged letters between the Duke of Edinburgh and Diana.

Paul Burrell

It is understood officials at Buckingham Palace have spoken with their legal advisers to see if the law of copyright has been breached.

The palace would view the correspondence as private as they were not bequeathed to Mr Burrell.

They were allegedly written in 1992 at the time Diana's marriage to Prince Charles was disintegrating.

The copyright of letters remains with the person who wrote the correspondence or, in the late princess's case, with her estate.

But if only one or two quotations are taken from a letter and are represented fairly with due acknowledgement, the complicated law of confidential information, as well as the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988, may be circumvented.

No public inquiry

Downing Street has said there will be no public inquiry into Princess Diana's death.

The prime minister's official spokesman rejected calls for an inquiry by Dodi's father, Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed.

"Everybody knows there has been an exhaustive investigation by the French authorities into the circumstances surrounding Diana's death," the prime minister's spokesman said on Tuesday.

"There will be nothing to be gained from repeating that here.

"But clearly there will be a routine coroner's inquest in Britain once the French legal processes are completed."

Royal butler returns to UK
16 Nov 02  |  UK News

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


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific