A British coroner’s jury determined that Princess Diana and her lover, Dodi al-Fayed, were “unlawfully killed” due to reckless negligence by their driver and the aggressive pursuit of paparazzi. The inquest’s verdict, which is the equivalent of manslaughter, came after six months of testimony by 278 witnesses. A 2006 British police inquiry had found that the deaths were an accident. Princess Di and Fayed were killed when their car crashed in 1997 as they were racing from a hotel in Paris to Fayed’s apartment. Their death has inspired persistent conspiracy theories, notably by Fayed’s father, Mohamed al-Fayed. (International Herald Tribune) The cost of just the inquest topped $6 million. (AP in USA Today)
What the commentators said
The exhaustive inquest was supposed to “provide the definitive closing of the book” on the affair, said Alan Hamilton in the Irish Independent. But “several questions still hang in the air.” Was the chauffeur really drunk? Why did he lose control of the car? What were “Dodi’s true intentions towards Diana”—was she pregnant, were they engaged? We’ll never know the answers, and “the death of Diana will continue to generate conspiracy theories for as long as people remember her and beyond.”
Oh, there was a conspiracy, said Dominic Lawson in the London Independent. But not the one peddled by “the weirdos of the blogosphere—and many others—for the past decade.” Mohamad al-Fayed has spent a fortune pushing his pet "conspiracy” that Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband, had British spies murder Princess Di and his son. The trial showed that this “giant deception” was “all based on lies.” But really, how “gullible” were Fayed’s “naive victims” to believe him in the first place?
These “paranoid” theories don’t even make sense, said Ed Morrissey in the blog Hot Air. It’s “laughable” to think that Prince Philip would, or even could, order British intelligence to kill his ex-daugher-in-law. Philip “hardly has any credibility” as a ceremonial “consort.” Besides, British intelligence certainly had “a lot more problematic Muslims on their radar screens than Dodi and his father,” even in 1997.
Fayed’s “anger and desperation” are the understandable reactions of a grieving father, said the London Times in an editorial. But the inquest dutifully cleared away “the debris of delusion clinging to the tragedy,” and now it is time for Fayed and the rest of us to "resume tolerably normal lives" and let the victims “rest in peace.”