Diana Secrets - Who can you believe

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Diana Secrets - Who can you believe

Postby bjr » Sat Jan 19, 2008 9:47 am

http://www.independent.ie/world-news/eu ... 69180.html

As Diana's most intimate secrets are bared daily -- just who can you believe?
By Damian Corless
Saturday January 19 2008

'You are all over the place," snapped a lawyer representing billionaire Mohamed Al Fayed at a flustered Paul Burrell, the former butler to Princess Diana who was giving evidence at her London inquest this week.

Burrell was indeed all over the place. He'd flown 4,000 miles from Florida to take the stand, quickly making a big impression with a brace of bombshells. He revealed that on Diana's behalf he'd sought advice from a Catholic priest about the complexities of her marrying a Muslim, but not Dodi Al Fayed.

Burrell contended that even as she was flaunting herself to the paparazzi on Dodi's yacht, the display was all about sending a come-and-get-me message to her true "soulmate", heart surgeon Hasnat Khan.

Burrell also revealed that weeks before her death, Diana had a bitter falling out with her mother over her love life, with the now deceased Frances Shand Kydd branding her daughter "a whore" for "messing with f**king Muslim men".

But under robust cross examination from the Al Fayed's lawyer, Burrell's credibility began to crumble. In one of his two books about Diana, Burrell claimed that in her last letter to him shortly before her death, the Princess had confided a great secret.

"What was that secret?" pressed the lawyer. Burrell replied: "If I'd wanted anyone to know ... I'd have printed it in my book." He then said that he'd forgotten what the secret was. It then transpired that his "journal", which he'd quoted in evidence, consisted of notes scribbled on scraps of paper which he'd handed to his ghostwriter. These precious relics which bore witness to the life of a sainted Princess had since been destroyed.

Wilting under fire, he then announced that he did have actual documents at his home in Cheshire. Losing patience, the presiding coroner instructed him to make the 400-mile round journey "hotfoot", and produce them in court the folllowing day. When he did so, after grabbing just two hours' sleep, his motley archive included a history of royal servants, a book on psychology and some photographs. The coroner took a quick flick and ruled that nothing was of relevance to the inquest.

A displeased coroner pressed him again on the matter of Diana's big secret. Burrell's memory returned. She had been planning to leave Britain behind and start over in either the US or South Africa. The coroner stopped short of telling Burrell that he was wasting the court's time, but he informed him that this information was no secret and had already been heard by the jury of six women and five men.

The inquest, which began last October and will run for months to come, has thrown up claims and counter-claims from a variety of witnesses which purport to give a true picture of life with Britain's royals in the 1980s and 1990s.

Drawing on the evidence so far, you can believe that Diana was a paranoid loner who microwaved ready meals and lived in constant fear of spies and assassination, or that she was a manipulative player in a high-stakes game who enjoyed a voracious sex life.

You can believe that Prince Philip was a racist bigot maliciously out to destroy Diana and her "oily bedhopper" boyfriend, Dodi, or he was the loving grandparent of her sons who acted out of concern for them and the good name of the Windsors.

You can believe that Dodi and Diana were madly in love and on the verge of becoming engaged, or that Dodi was more of a good friend who accepted that she needed marriage to him "like a rash on my face". As more witnesses take the stand, the picture will inevitably become more contradictory and confused.

But there is one central figure in the drama who has been crystal clear and unchanging from the night of the Paris crash that killed Diana and Dodi. The inquest has heard that the moment he learned his son had been killed, Mohammed Al Fayed told the president of the Ritz hotel, where the couple had been staying, that they had been murdered.

For 10 years, Al Fayed has put the weight of his billions behind a detailed series of allegations. He maintains that Diana was pregnant by Dodi and the couple planned to announce their engagement when British agents killed them to preserve the racial and religious purity of the Royal circle.

On Thursday, a former head of Scotland Yard, Lord Condon, dismissed suggestions that he covered up evidence of a plot to kill Diana as "abhorent and disgusting".

In response to these claims, British police conducted a three-year investigation headed by former chief Lord John Stevens.

The 832-page Stevens Report published in 2006 concluded there was no engagement, that all the medical and anecdotal evidence proved Diana was not pregnant, and that while the Princess may have been bugged she was not murdered.

Al Fayed dismissed the report as "a cover up" and it is those same allegations which are again being aired at the current inquest, except this time through public hearings which are adding a new layer of salacious gossip as they go.

Typical of the comments posted on the website of the BBC's Newsnight this week was: "Bread and circuses for a generation brought up on celebrity sleaze."

Opening the inquest, the coroner told the jury that despite the "millions of words" written about the crash, their final say on the matter will be "the only view that matters". Despite Paul Burrell's best efforts this week, nothing the jury hear will be more daft.

With recent witness Myriah Daniels now announcing she's to boost the Diana conspiracy theory industry with a forthcoming book, it's a cast-iron certainty that in the court of public opinion the jury will be out on this one for the rest of eternity.

- Damian Corless
To my critics
When I'm in a sober mood, I worry, work and think,
When I'm in a drunken mood, I gamble, play and drink,
But when my moods are over and my time has come to pass,
I hope I'm buried upside down, so the world may kiss my ar*e
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