Page last updated at 20:38 GMT, Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Fayed bid to summon Philip fails

Mohamed Al Fayed arriving to give evidence
Mr Al Fayed was recalled to court to clarify an earlier statement

Mohamed Al Fayed's bid to compel the Queen and Prince Philip to give evidence at the inquest into the death of Princess Diana has failed.

The Harrods owner's legal team argued that the Royal couple had information which would shed light on the death.

He has accused the Royal family of having the princess murdered because he said they disapproved of her relationship with his son, Dodi.

The inquest itself has finished calling witnesses after five and a half months.

'Delaying tactic'

Mr Al Fayed's lawyers had sought a judicial review of a decision earlier this month that Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh should not be called to the hearing.

I would like an apology. It is not acceptable to call me a liar in front of the jury
Mohamed Al Fayed

The tycoon's barristers denied it was a delaying tactic, arguing that the Royal couple had information which they alone could provide.

The BBC Royal correspondent, Daniela Relph, said that the substance of the legal arguments has been made the subject of a gagging order.

They were made before a panel of judges at the High Court as the coroner's inquest proceeded in a separate courtroom.

The contents will be revealed once the jury has returned a verdict.

Al Fayed outburst

Meanwhile, Mohamed Al Fayed was himself recalled to clarify sworn testimony he gave to the coroner on 18 February.

In that initial appearance, he claimed to have won a court case, when in fact he had only won the right to appeal.

Following questioning from Nicholas Hilliard, for the coroner, Mr Al Fayed exclaimed : "I would like an apology. It is not acceptable to call me a liar in front of the jury."

Coroner Lord Justice Scott-Baker responded: "It is for the jury to decide whether you told the truth or not and they can make up their own minds about your explanation."

The inquest, which began on 2 October 2007, has heard from more than 240 witnesses, who appeared in person, via videolink or by written statements.

Coroner Lord Justice Scott-Baker will begin summing up on 31 March.

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