Princess Diana conspiracy theories: following The Crown season 6 Lady Diana death, murder rumours explained

Princess Diana’s death in a Paris car crash in 1997 has been fertile breeding ground for conspiracy theories
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The death of Princess Diana in a Paris tunnel is the central moment of the first part of The Crown season six. Diana and her partner Dodi Fayed were killed in the crash after being pursued by paparazzi through the streets of Paris.

Her death sent shockwaves across the UK and the world, as the nation mourned the death of the ‘people’s princess’. Her funeral was watched by more that 2 billion people worldwide, including around half the British population.

It is sensitively recreated in the first half of the final season of Netflix historical drama The Crown, which landed on the platform today. However, as the Paris tragedy is brought back into the public consciousness, the conspiracy theories that long surrounded Diana and Dodi’s demise are likely to resurface.

Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed, and Henri Paul died in a car crash in Paris in 1997Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed, and Henri Paul died in a car crash in Paris in 1997
Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed, and Henri Paul died in a car crash in Paris in 1997

How did Princess Diana die?

Princess Diana had spent time in Paris with Egyptian film producer Dodi Fayed, who she had been seeing. After having dinner at the Ritz, the pair travelled across the city in a Mercedes driven by Henri Paul. Diana’s bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, was also travelling in the car.

In the early hours of the morning on 31 August 1997, the driver lost control of the car whilst travelling through the Pont de l'Alma tunnel - the car collided with another vehicle before striking a pillar. The driver, Dodi, and Diana were all killed in the crash, only Rees-Jones survived.

A crane lifts the wreckage of the Mercedes carrying Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed, Henri Paul, and Trevor Rees-Jones after the fatal crash in ParisA crane lifts the wreckage of the Mercedes carrying Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed, Henri Paul, and Trevor Rees-Jones after the fatal crash in Paris
A crane lifts the wreckage of the Mercedes carrying Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed, Henri Paul, and Trevor Rees-Jones after the fatal crash in Paris

What are the Princess Diana conspiracy theories?

The most repeated conspiracy theory regarding the death of Princess Diana is that the event was not an accident, and that the former royal was murdered on the orders of the Royal Family.

There have been several embellishments to this theory since the tragic event occurred.  Mohamed al-Fayed, Dodi’s father, claimed that Diana was pregnant at the time of her death and was killed because the British state would not tolerate a Muslim man becoming the step-father of the future King of England. However, a post-mortem proved that Diana was not pregnant when she died.

A further reason for the belief that the Royal Family, or The Firm as it is also known, wanted to have Diana killed was because of friction between the princess and the senior royals. Since her divorce from Charles, Diana had become an outsider who was still very much an integral part of the royal family as the mother of a future king, and she was incredibly popular with the British people. The conspiracy suggests that the royals felt overshadowed by Diana and also saw a benefit in removing her in that it would make it easier for Charles to marry Camilla.

Another theory suggests that the paparazzi who pursued Diana caused her death intentionally in order to create a sensational news story which they would profit from by selling their photographs from the scene. Whilst questions were raised about the conduct of the paparazzi even before Diana’s death, there’s no reason to suggest that competing photographers would act in concert to enable the death of one of their most popular subjects.

None of the conspiracy theories surrounding Diana’s death have ever been proved, and there is no physical evidence to support any of them. However, much like the Kennedy assassination, people seem to enjoy imposing their own macabre theories onto shocking events.

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