16 years later, new dark hints in Princess Diana death
LONDON (CNN) — New hints of conspiracy in the death of Princess Diana have royal watchers buzzing once again, nearly 16 years after the woman who would now be a royal grandmother died in a Paris car crash.
London police said Saturday that its investigators were assessing the “relevance and credibility” of information it had recently received about the deaths — information the agency did not describe in its statement.
But Press Association reported that what London police are mulling is an allegation raised by the former parents-in-law of a former British soldier claiming a member of the British military murdered Diana, her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and their driver, all of whom died in the August 31, 1997, crash.
Press Association did not provide a source for its information, but said that British military police reportedly passed the information to London investigators.
“This is not a re-investigation,” London police stressed in a statement.
The news turned the decade-and-a-half old incident into a hot topic of conversation on news sites and the on Twitter.
“Looking at the news pages this evening … I think Princess Diana must have just died (again),” Twitter user g_m_young posted.
Diana, 36, and Fayed, her 42-year-old boyfriend, died when the Mercedes-Benz they were traveling in hit a pillar in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris.
They were being followed at the time by the paparazzi after leaving the Ritz Hotel. Their driver, Henri Paul, also killed, was drunk and driving at high speed, investigators concluded. Bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones was the sole survivor.
The princess left behind her two children, Prince William, whose wife recently gave birth to Diana’s first grandchild, and Prince Harry. Some 2.5 billion people around the world watched Diana’s funeral.
A British coroner’s inquest in 2008 concluded that their deaths were the result of “grossly negligent driving of the following vehicles and of the Mercedes.” The inquest found no evidence of murder.
Yet the deaths have always been paired with conspiracy theories accusing British and French intelligence services and members of British royalty of orchestrating her death.
Much of the social media reaction to the news involved merely passing the news on, but many seemed to doubt the claims.
“Is it just me or does it (seem) like a Princess Diana conspiracy hits around this time of year, every year?,” Twitter user DMR09 posted.
The rumors come to light weeks before the 16th anniversary of Diana’s death, and a little more than a month before the British premier of “Diana,” a new movie about the former princess’ life.
It’s unclear whether these allegations will make it any farther than previous claims have. London police certainly aren’t about to make any big announcements, based on the terse closing line of their statement.
“Not Prepared to Discuss Further,” Scotland Yard said in its statement.
By Michael Pearson and Atika Shubert
Michael Pearson wrote and reported from Atlanta; Atika Shubert reported from London