Diana inquest: No grassy knoll in Paris

posted at 7:11 am on March 31, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

All of the news agencies have headlines on the wires over the conclusion of the Princess Diana inquest — more than a decade after her death, mind you — so I know it’s a Very Important Story. After months of investigation prompted by outlandish claims by Mohammed al-Fayed that the British intelligence community had nothing better to do than assassinate a former royal and the mother of the future King of Great Britain, the inquest announced that Diana and Dodi Fayed died in a car accident:

The coroner in the inquest into the death of Princess Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed said Monday there was no evidence she was murdered by British secret services, as claimed by Fayed’s father.

“There is no evidence that the Duke of Edinburgh ordered Diana’s execution, and there is no evidence that the secret intelligence service or any other government agency organised it,” said coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker.

Mohammed Al-Fayed, the tycoon owner of London’s Harrods department store, believes Diana and his son Dodi were engaged and has claimed Prince Philip was linked to an establishment plot to kill them and stop her marrying a Muslim.

Specifically he has claimed that the Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, ordered the killing of the couple, who died with chauffeur Henri Paul in a 1997 Paris car crash.

But starting his summary of the inquest, which began last October, the coroner said many of Al-Fayed’s theories were “demonstrably without foundation.”

The most laughable part of the conspiracy theory is the notion that Prince Philip could order MI-6 to do anything. The royal family has an entirely ceremonial role, and has had that for decades. Even if the Queen had any authority over government agencies, Prince Philip wouldn’t share it anyway. He’s a consort, not a king, and hardly has any credibility as that.

I’ve never understood this paranoid theory about her supposed assassination anyway. The royals were scandalized that Diana might marry a Muslim? Who would have cared about that in British intelligence? They have a lot more problematic Muslims on their radar screens than either Dodi or his father, and did in 1997, too. Even supposing British intelligence gave two seconds’ thought to Diana’s love life, wouldn’t they have just targeted Dodi?

Maybe now the world can get past the absurdity of the obsession over the British royal family. Obviously the British want to retain them for the ceremony, but otherwise they’re the most useless government program imaginable. It’s not entirely inaccurate to describe them as a subsidy for the British press, which might collapse if the UK transformed itself into a republic.


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This should have been over a long time ago, and I’m sure that the elder Fayad will not let it go even now.

Our love for conspiracies, the whole “love” angle, the conflated hoo-hah, and a healthy dose of suspicion based on ethnic hatreds will keep this alive for decades more.

Not in my house, though.

heldmyw on March 31, 2008 at 7:32 AM

Fayed will never let it go. It was my understanding that his son and Diana were only dating for about 3 weeks, but somehow that gets extrapolated into her being pregnant and engaged to be married to him.

Blake on March 31, 2008 at 7:55 AM

Captain Ed,having e-mail problems,o/t but
on Drudge Report,WashingtonTimes did a story
on Conservative bloggers,they mentioned your
name!

canopfor on March 31, 2008 at 7:59 AM

Ed,

I like you, I’m not a conspiracy nut, (I’m a normal garden variety nut) however – the queen is far from being removed and is a subsidy only in the minds of those who still reject her rule and role in England – yes the government pays a stipend or she can charge all of them the trillions it would take to operate the government on her deeded lands which comprise most of England

Also according to her website – she is the LEGAL head of state additionally her father certainly ruled the country – nothing got done without his approval and apparently the current Queen took up that with Thatcher at times as well

Note to wingnuts

I’m not English, nor do I care to be – just reciting some facts – and if Prince Phillip ever called the head of MI-6 the chief would not only answer the phone but he/she would definitely entertain any request Prince Phillip had.

http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page4683.asp

EricPWJohnson on March 31, 2008 at 8:11 AM

The angle of marrying a muslim in 1997,
I think at the time was no big deal.

However after 911,that all changed,
Muslims decided to show the world
just how dangerous they are,but maybe
someone in Diana’s circle,or the Royals
knew something the rest of us didn’t
know in 1997!

canopfor on March 31, 2008 at 8:12 AM

In my opinion

To ignore the enormous loss of face for the Royal family and to reject out of hand any conspiracy will never ever get this even close to being resolved.

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that it was indeed – not mechanical failure – not a assassination attempt by direct means – and really really looks like an accident

But to preclude that MI-6 did not have the capacity to engineer this incident is presumptous – in fact – the drunk driver, the photogs, the tunnel etc – all the elements existed for the perfect storm to do whatever was done and get away with it

To make assumptions about a secretive monarchy is ludicrous

For Example

Tony Blair has mentioned quite openly that his whole education about the monarchy and its role changed about 30 seconds into his first meeting with the queen.

So did Churchill

EricPWJohnson on March 31, 2008 at 8:27 AM

Any time there is some tragedy, like Pearl Harbor, Kennedy’s assassination, Oklahoma City, Diana’s death, 9/11, etc., I think people just can’t wrap their heads around how fragile life is, and how really easy it is to lose their life.

It is hard to accept that the Japanese actually surprised us, that one lone communist with a grudge actually shot the president, that one (or two) nuts blew up a building, that a drunk driver actually caused the death of Princess Di, or that 19 Muslims could hijack airplanes and actually knock buildings down with them. However, sometimes it is just that way.

It is horrible, and sad, and there are lots of things that happen in a tragedy that are extraordinary coinidences, and some that are unexplainable.

Many people feel that it can’t be so simple, so they grasp at one or two unexplainable thing, and link them into a big, dark conspiracy, no matter how absurd or without base it is.

It makes it harder to discover a true conspiracy if one really happens. If there really is a conspiracy, all these baseless conspiracy theories would make it harder to actually discover them.

p40tiger on March 31, 2008 at 8:57 AM

p40tiger

Pearl Harbor was a surprize but a war with Japan was not

19 hijackers was a surprize the fact that a muslim terrorist organization was responsible was not

That a lone gunman shot a president (how many times has it been done Lincoln, Teddy R, McKinley, Ford, Reagan, Kennedy) is not a surprize to most people the fact that thye were successful in getting so close was not

The odds that a Princess, the mother of the future king of England in the company of a very anti English muslim family died so “accidentally” – its convienent, tidy and believable – thats the hallmark of either a random tragic accident or a job well done

We will never ever know

EricPWJohnson on March 31, 2008 at 9:04 AM

EricPWJohnson on March 31, 2008 at 9:04 AM

There is no question that there was government and personal incompetence in each of the cases, but there is little reliable evidence that there is some big, bad conspirators in the background planning these events.

Of course, 9/11 was a conspiracy in that it was planned by a bigger organization; Pearl Harbor was a conspiracy in that it was planned and carried out by the government of Japan; but the truthers and people who say the US government planned these two events are grasping at straws.

As for Diana, Kennedy, etc. I think there will always be strange and intriguing irregularities, but that is true in any major event. Surely, some people benefit and may take advantage of these things to advance a cause, but the kind of conspiracies people float are often self-contradictory (mob, CIA, Castro can’t all kill Kennedy).

I guess the question is, when presented with the best evidence at hand, do you say, “ok, from what we see now, it must have been an accident (Diana’s death)” or do you say, “they must be lying (because then my theory would be disproven).” Therein lies the answer to whether you are a conspiracy nut or not.

p40tiger on March 31, 2008 at 9:19 AM

The odds that a Princess, the mother of the future king of England in the company of a very anti English muslim family died so “accidentally” – its convienent, tidy and believable – thats the hallmark of either a random tragic accident or a job well done

We will never ever know

Yes, we know. It was an accident. She was hardly worth assassinating…highly visible, well known and mostly harmless. The odds that a hit would succeed so well, leaving basically no evidence behind to the contrary are astronomical. The best assassinations are done with the intent to hide the assailant, not the fact that the target was assassinated.

There was no reward in her death, and little risk in her life.

Asher on March 31, 2008 at 9:58 AM

Please let this poor woman rest in peace.

whitetop on March 31, 2008 at 10:11 AM

The lack of guardrails in the tunnel, which the French transportation sytem did not require, allowed this accident to occur. The vehicle could slam into a concrete pylon directly, and permit the carnage that resulted.

In effect, the French roadway regulations allowed her death.

A pity.

Has it changed?

profitsbeard on March 31, 2008 at 10:27 AM

How many gazillions of Euros have been wasted on this joke?

corona on March 31, 2008 at 10:36 AM

Asher

And having a Muslim step brother would have affected the Monarchy is a positive or negative way in the eyes of many intolerant Englanders?

EricPWJohnson on March 31, 2008 at 10:43 AM

p40tiger

To me the questions still lingers – who benefits?, Why?

My first and still initial assessment is that it was a tragic accident

However my old German Statistics Professor at Tulane still has me wondering

His statement was thus

“Random series of events – with a cause and effect solely for the benefit of your opponent – are neither random nor believable”

EricPWJohnson on March 31, 2008 at 10:48 AM

Regarding: profitsbeard on March 31, 2008 at 10:27 AM

Drive along any major highway in any Podunk burg in the United States, and look for things that you could hit straight on with your car, at speed, if you really, really tried. You will not find many. These direct impact collisions have been largely engineered out of US roadways, and have been for decades.

Contrast this to this high speed tunnel right through the middle of Paris, with concrete barriers, completely unguarded, right off the roadway in the median. Simple aluminum barriers bolted post-to-post could have bounced this car back into the roadway and completely eliminated the direct, deadly impact. Any first-year traffic student would have been flunked out of an American university for coming up with this design.

gridlock2 on March 31, 2008 at 10:53 AM

“Random series of events – with a cause and effect solely for the benefit of your opponent – are neither random nor believable”
The random series of events leading up to this accident could be compressed into the half second the driver turned the wheel and the car impacted the column. Up until that point, it was business as usual.

gridlock2 on March 31, 2008 at 10:56 AM

gridlock

except for what made him decide to kill himself – most people I know don’t ram a column especially a highly trained fighter pilot and expert car driver

except for that

EricPWJohnson on March 31, 2008 at 11:05 AM

His statement was thus

“Random series of events – with a cause and effect solely for the benefit of your opponent – are neither random nor believable”

EricPWJohnson on March 31, 2008 at 10:48 AM

I’m not here to argue this woman’s death, as I have little interest in it, and thus, have not really studied the information that is available to the public. However, I have to ask, just as a layman, who was Diana’s “opponent?” She carried little weight even inside the impotent royal family after the divorce. Was her opponent the press? They benefited the most from her death as far as I can see, in that they sold a lot of papers.

Sometimes an event that seems to be caused by a series of incredible coincidences is, in fact, caused by a series of incredible coincidences. In 1862, General Robert E. Lee was marching north to take the war to northern soil. One of Gen. Jackson’s underlings accidentally left the battle plan under a tree. Later, a Union soldier found it, and thus the Federal army was able to meet Lee’s army at Antietam Creek and fight him to a draw, effectively ending Lee’s first invasion of the north and perhaps preserving the Union. Sometimes history swings on a lucky break, or a terrible coincidence.

p40tiger on March 31, 2008 at 11:06 AM

So who are you going to believe, the inquest or Mohammed Al-Fayed?

TooTall on March 31, 2008 at 11:25 AM

TooTall

The inquest found no evidence that it was deliberate

EricPWJohnson on March 31, 2008 at 11:31 AM

p40

The mother of the Future King of England perhaps giving him an anti English Muslim Step Brother

Yep thats a biggie

EricPWJohnson on March 31, 2008 at 11:33 AM

The mother of the Powerless Future King of England perhaps giving him an anti English Muslim Step Brother

Yep thats a biggie

EricPWJohnson on March 31, 2008 at 11:33 AM

Beside the fact that the British Royals hold a largely figure-head role, said potential half-brother would not be in line for the throne, since the line comes through Charles anyway.

p40tiger on March 31, 2008 at 11:39 AM

Death by Darwin–not wearing a seatbelt. The only person in the accident who lived–the bodyguard–was wearing one.

baldilocks on March 31, 2008 at 12:21 PM

Now that the patently absurd has been debunked, when will the patently obvious be acknowledged? The news media’s relentless pursuit of Diana is what caused her death.

Spitfire9 on March 31, 2008 at 12:36 PM

p40

with all due respect – she’s the wealthiest person probably on the earth and most certainly in England

And the prime minister has to seek her official approval every week

She is the only one who can declare

War, treaties, too may other functions to mention and of course:

Elections

Powerless my hiney

EricPWJohnson on March 31, 2008 at 1:25 PM

TooTall

The inquest found no evidence that it was deliberate

EricPWJohnson on March 31, 2008 at 11:31 AM

Which of course means that Mohammed has no evidence.

TooTall on March 31, 2008 at 2:20 PM