Conspiracy theories that just won’t die.

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The Death of Di

This just in: Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car accident, said Philip Johnston in the London Daily Telegraph. Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington, a former Metropolitan Police chief, has issued a conclusive, 832-page report refuting the accusations of Mohamed al-Fayed. The Egyptian billionaire, who owns Harrods and the Ritz, has spent the last 10 years loudly accusing Prince Philip, husband of the queen, of ordering the murder of his ex-daughter-in-law to prevent her remarriage to al-Fayed’s son Dodi. The Stevens report, though, debunks his every claim. Diana was not pregnant or engaged. The driver of the car was speeding and drunk. The crash in a Paris tunnel Aug. 30, 1997, was accidental. “There was no conspiracy.”

There was a conspiracy, all right, said Martyn Gregory in the London Daily Mail. But it wasn’t a royal plot to kill Diana. It was an al-Fayed conspiracy to cover up his and his son’s culpability in the accident that caused her death. “As she began her last journey, Princess Diana was traveling from an al-Fayed hotel in an al-Fayed Mercedes to an al-Fayed apartment.” Henri Paul, the driver who crashed the car, was an al-Fayed employee, the security chief at the Ritz. It was Dodi’s idea, Diana’s bodyguards said, to send the chauffeur-driven regular car off as a decoy for paparazzi and to leave the Ritz by the back, in a different car, with Paul as the driver. Al-Fayed’s many false accusations amounted to a “brilliantly effective PR and legal campaign” to pin the blame for Diana’s death somewhere other than on his drunken employee.

Why, then, did the government dignify al-Fayed’s insane allegations with an investigation? asked Mick Hume in the London Times. Lord Stevens wasted three years and more than $7 million merely to repeat the same investigations and draw the same conclusions that the French police did a decade ago. Paying so much attention to the conspiracy theorists merely confirms to them that they’re on the right track. “It is as if Congress had set up an inquiry into whether the U.S. government really did fake the moon landings.” Most people would reason that “if Britain’s top cop was on the case, there must have been something in it, mustn’t there?”

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In a word, yes, said Mary Dejevsky in the London Independent. Call me a kook, but I am among the one-third of Britons who doubt the accident story. “Too many people have tried too hard to convince us we should not believe what we do believe.” And there are too many questions that the Stevens report could not answer. Why were none of the security cameras at the Ritz working that evening? Why was white Fiat paint found on the car? Why did a French photographer who owned a white Fiat sell it right after the crash and kill himself three years later? Is it just a coincidence that driver Henri Paul was also a paid informant for the French secret service? Is it a coincidence that Diana predicted she would be killed in a car crash, an assassination method that is “a staple of security services the world over”? And why has it taken nine years to hold an inquest?

Mark Reynolds

London Daily Express

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