Tuesday 20 August 2002

Princess Diana - What really happened?

by HRH Prince Michael of Albany

Some believe it was an accident, others that it was murder. Still others remain shocked and confused by the whole affair, desperately wanting to believe in the 'accident' theory yet, in truth, unable to discount the possibility of assassination. Others, of course, simply wish to forget the incident, as though it never happened.

But whatever one's own personal standpoint regarding the death of Princess Diana, one thing remains clear: in life she was sheer mystique. Not only did she become a threat to the very heritage she represented, she possessed a charisma beyond definitions, as well. She was both constrained and wild, compassionate and sexy, a saint to the underprivileged yet at the same time an icon to the world of fashion, glamour and glitz -- the world inhabited by the rich and the famous alike, many of whom she befriended, all of whom she outshone, at one time or another. And because of this unrivalled star quality, her much-publicized campaigns on behalf of AIDS sufferers and victims of anti-personnel landmines drew more attention, and gained more success, than perhaps any other humanitarian campaigns of the twentieth century.

Simply put, enough was never enough to satisfy the immense public appetite for Diana. But even though she used her unprecedented fame to the benefit of others, perhaps in the end it proved her own fatal attraction, too.

But that said, what of the woman behind the mask? What of her blood, her history, her heritage? Is there any possible reason why the British Royal Establishment should have wanted her out of the way?

Genealogically, of course, Diana was a Stuart; in her veins flowed the blood of Britain's ancient Royal Family, and this in itself was a problem. Indeed, for this reason alone Diana was always perceived as a threat by the Establishment, as well as by Britain's current Royal Family, the Windsor Dynasty (otherwise known as 'The Firm'). While her marriage to Prince Charles Windsor was of course a political marriage, serving to reintroduce the Stuart strain into the Windsor bloodline -- and thus, in an historical context at least, further justify the Windsor reign -- her marriage into The Firm was virtually unique in British history. In fact Diana was only the second truly British-born 'outsider' to marry into the German Hanover-Windsor Dynasty in all of its 300-year reign. And she paid a very dear price for the privilege. Her close relationship with her two boys, William and Harry, of course, and the fact that she actively protected them from the stifling, predictable future The Firm had in store for them, only added to the tensions that always existed between the upstart Stuart Princess and the uptight Windsor Household. In short, so far as the Windsors were concerned, Diana was a necessary bane.

To make matters worse, less than a year after her divorce from Prince Charles, Diana flew in the face of British convention and fell in love with an Egyptian Muslim, Dodi Fayed, the son of billionaire businessman and long-term adversary of the British Royal Establishment, Mohamed Al Fayed. The fact is that Diana's proposed marriage to Mohamed Al Fayed's playboy son would have proved more than simply another thorn in the side of the British Royal Establishment: it would have rocked the Establishment to its foundations. The reactionary dinosaur that is the British Royal Establishment simply could not have tolerated the future King William of Britain boasting a Muslim stepfather, much less a Muslim mother. And neither could it have tolerated the future Queen Mother, Diana, bearing Dodi's Muslim children.

But as we all now know, before her proposed marriage to Dodi Fayed could take place Diana somewhat conveniently and tragically died. And when she did the British Royal Establishment breathed an almighty sigh of relief.

But now, more than three years after the tragedy, should we still be pursuing evidence of her assassination? Should we not simply allow Dianato rest in peace?

Moreover, do we really need yet another book about Diana -- the girl who freed herself from the shackles of royal convention, and paid the ultimate price?

Well the authors certainly think so, and as this book is a genuine and respectful attempt to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding Diana's death, I must admit that I agree with them. Even I am not altogether happy with what we have been told about Diana's death, the 'official story'. Even I am not altogether happy with the 'accident' theory. For one thing, the so-called 'accident' was far too convenient. And for another, there are simply too many unanswered questions regarding the actual circumstances in which Diana died. At the same time too many very real motives for her death have yet to be explored, and too many prime suspects have yet to be interrogated.

We know, for example, that Mohammed Al Fayed is convinced his son and future daughter-in-law were murdered by a conspiracy involving the CIA, MI6 and various members of the Royal Family. He explicitly reiterated this belief in court during a libel case brought against him by ex-MP Neil Hamilton in December 1999, a case that Mr Al Fayed won. While the involvement of the CIA and MI6 is yet to be proven, we do know that the CIA are in possession of an extensive facts file on Diana, and that these files were passed on to British Intelligence (MI6) at some time prior to the 'accident' (it should be noted that, at the time of this writing, Mr Al Fayed is pursuing the release of these CIA files via the Freedom Of Information Act). We also know that, as you will discover in the pages of this book, it was a CIA contract agent assigned to MI6 who -- one week prior to the Paris car crash -- forewarned the authors of the princess's imminent demise. So far as I am concerned, the possible involvement of the CIA and MI6 in Diana's death should be investigated at the highest level.

The precise circumstances surrounding Diana's death, of course, like that of President John F Kennedy, will probably never be known. Certainly the doubts surrounding the manner in which she died will never go away. But the fact that Diana died in a way that was seen by many as highly suspicious, and no less convenient, simply cannot be ignored. And neither can the fact that the last few minutes of her life remain shrouded in complete mystery and controversy. To my mind, far too many questions remain unanswered.

In this uncompromising and ground-breaking book, authors Jon King and John Beveridge endeavour with some vigour to find answers to those questions, and many will no doubt be challenged by the disclosure of their findings. The idea that our intelligence services can plot, organize and execute assassination operations right under the noses of democratically elected governments is not something most people would want even to consider, much less accept. But the simple fact is that certain people, and certain institutions, possess more power even than our elected governments, and they enjoy more freedom to achieve their own sordid agendas than most of us would ever believe. This situation exists today because, as the authors rightly point out, 'democracy' has been effectively hijacked by big business.

In the final analysis this book challenges not only the official theory that Diana's death was an accident, but the very concept of democracy itself, however defined, by whatever government. To my mind, challenging this concept of democracy -- wherein elected governments are effectively underwritten by the wealth and power of a relative few -- is something Diana herself would have supported. And if only for the sake of Liberty and Justice, the pillars of true Democracy, it is certainly something that I support, too.

Indeed, for these same reasons I also support the courageous investigation undertaken by the authors in researching and compiling the 'hidden evidence' revealed in this book. Even if the authorities remain intent on covering up the truth behind Diana's death, the reader, I feel certain, will support the authors in their endeavour to expose that cover-up and force an independent inquiry into the incident. I for one will do all I can to support this endeavour. Indeed, anything less would surely be to disregard Democracy altogether, and that would not only undermine my own integrity. It would undermine everything Diana ever stood for, as well.

As the authors themselves state, if we truly want Diana to rest in peace, then surely we must first uncover the truth regarding the highly suspicious circumstances in which she died. And the only way to successfully achieve that is by open and independent inquiry -- something that, as yet, the British and US intelligence agencies indicted in this case have so deplorably managed to avoid.

Hidden Evidence