Mohamed Al Fayed testified at an inquest on Monday that the withholding of a note recording Princess Diana’s fears for her safety proves that she and his son Dodi were murdered in Paris in 1997.
Al Fayed referred to a lawyer’s note of a conversation with Diana in 1995, which was handed to police after her death but not disclosed for six years.
“She said that she is going to die or be killed in a car crash and that is what happened to her and my son,” Al Fayed testified at a coroner’s inquest into the couple’s deaths.
Al Fayed’s time in the witness box allows him the most public airing yet for his long-held theories of a murder plot involving the British secret service and Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II.
Lengthy investigations by French and British police concluded that the August 31, 1997 crash was an accident, and that driver Henri Paul was drunk and speeding.
“Princess Diana told me that she had proof that her life was in danger and that she kept it in a wooden box,” Al Fayed said.
If anything happened to her, Al Fayed said, he was told that “I must make sure that the contents of this box were made public.”
The box allegedly contained letters from Prince Philip to Diana. The letters are now missing.
Al Fayed read a lengthy statement laying out his theory of a huge plot directed at murdering the couple. He disputed evidence that Paul, who also died in the crash, was drunk, and alleged the driver was part of the plot.
“When he was killed, they found 20,000 francs in his pocket, because he disappeared three hours before the murder being briefed on what to do,” Al Fayed said.
He also said Diana was pregnant, and that she and Dodi planned to announce their engagement.
“Diana told me on the telephone that she was pregnant,” he said. “I was the only person that they [Dodi and Diana] told.”
Al Fayed asserted his belief that Prince Philip is a racist and a Nazi who could not accept Princess Diana marrying an Arab and a Muslim.
Al Fayed lashed out at Prince Philip and said he should go “back to Germany” - a reference to the prince’s German ancestors.
Ian Burnett, a lawyer for the coroner, asked al Fayed if his murder conspiracy allegations “stem from your belief that Prince Philip is not only a racist but a Nazi as well.”
Al Fayed responded, “Absolutely.”
Al Fayed also asserted that Prince Charles was part of the alleged murder plot, hoping to clear the decks so he could marry Camilla Parker Bowles, or, as al Fayed put it, “his crocodile wife.”
Also on Monday, Coroner Scott Baker said that he was seeking a copy of a video which was the basis for a report in The Sun newspaper that quoted Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell as saying that he had not told the whole truth during his three days of testimony to the inquest.
Baker refused to let Al Fayed read anything from that report to the jury.
Al Fayed has maintained for a decade that Diana and his son were murdered. On Thursday, however, Al Fayed’s security chief, John Macnamara, said the billionaire had no evidence implicating Prince Philip.
Macnamara also said he had no evidence for the assertions that Diana had telephoned friends with news of an impending engagement, that the British ambassador in Paris ordered her body embalmed to cover up her pregnancy, or that the French medical team that treated the dying princess were involved in a murder plot - all allegations made by his boss.
That is unlikely to dent the confidence of the combative Al Fayed, who worked his way up from a humble birth in Alexandria, Egypt to become one of the richest men in Britain, owner of the Harrods department store in west London, a castle in Scotland and the Fulham FC soccer team.
Rejecting the findings of French and British police that his son died in a simple road accident, he has used his wealth to pursue court cases in Britain, France and the United States seeking evidence of collusion among security agencies.
Al Fayed’s lawyers have not yet outlined a comprehensive theory of the alleged murder plot, though they have asked pointed questions about Philip, the letters he wrote to Diana, now missing; and the now-legendary white Fiat that investigators say bumped against the couple’s car just before the crash. (AP)
Diana inquest: Mohamed Al Fayed presents his claims of a murder conspiracy