25 years since Lady Di’s death: The mysteries surrounding the tragedy

25 years since Lady Di’s death: The mysteries surrounding the tragedy

25 years ago, Princess Diana died in a car accident at the age of 36. The tragedy happened on August 31, 1997 in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris, France. She was followed by paparazzi and accompanied by her boyfriend, Egyptian millionaire heir Dodi AlFayed, a bodyguard and driver. AlFayed and the driver of the vehicle died instantly, and Diana died in hospital hours later. The bodyguard was the sole survivor.

Although it has been decades since Lady Di’s death, there are unknowns and conspiracy theories surrounding the case. London’s Metropolitan Police declared the situation a “tragic accident” after a 16month investigation, but some issues were investigated without success. Others have ambiguous answers.

Check out the top mysteries surrounding the British princess’ death:

Engagement and Pregnancy Rumors

Although the romance between Diana and Dodi only became known three weeks before the accident, rumors of a possible engagement surfaced as early as late August 1997.

Michael Cole, Fayed’s publicist at the time, told the inquest that Dodi had told him about a month before the accident that he intended to marry Diana. There are also lowquality videos showing Claude Rolet, an employee of the Ritz hotel where the couple stayed in the French capital, visiting a nearby jewelry store and later bringing an item into Diana and Dodi’s room. A ring and a receipt with the registration of an “engagement ring” were found at the property.

However, close friends of Lady Di, including the Brazilian ambassador Lúcia Flecha de Lima, denied any interest in marriage by the princess during this time. In a phone call a week before her death, she reportedly told socialite Lady Annabel Goldsmith that she “needed to get married like she needed a rash on her face”.

Rumors that Diana was expecting a baby were fueled by Dodi’s father, millionaire Mohamed AlFayed, who insisted the couple’s deaths were ordered by the British royal family because of the princess’ pregnancy and “imminent” engagement. However, Lady Di’s autopsy did not reveal that she was pregnant at the time of the accident, and royal involvement has never been proven.

Princess Diana and Dodi AlFayed in an elevator at the Ritz Hotel on the day of the accident

Princess Diana and Dodi AlFayed in an elevator at the Ritz Hotel on the day of the accident

Image: reproduction

Driver’s blood alcohol

The investigation also questioned the reliability of driver Henri Paul’s blood tests. Paul’s blood alcohol level was three times that of France and he had “therapeutic” levels of antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs in his system. The car’s speed was also three times the road speed limit, and experts said markings on the ground indicated Paul had lost control of the vehicle before entering the tunnel.

Bar staff at the Ritz Hotel testified, and some said the driver showed no signs of intoxication, while one said the driver was drunk and “walking like a clown”. Other witnesses claimed he drove recklessly.

Doubts about the test results were raised because the level of carbon monoxide in Paul’s body was also unusually high, which was attributed to an error in sample handling. Some media also claimed at the time that the samples attributed to the driver had been swapped and actually belonged to a suicide victim, but this has never been confirmed.

Driver Henri Paul also died in the accident that claimed the life of Princess Diana  reproduction  reproduction

Driver Henri Paul also died in the crash that took Princess Diana’s life.

Image: reproduction

Possible collision with a Fiat Uno

An analysis of the Mercedes Diana revealed paint marks that suggested the car could have easily collided with a white Fiat Uno. Weeks later, two witnesses said they saw a car of the same model and color shortly after the accident. French authorities searched more than 5,000 vehicles but never found the car.

In November 1997, police arrested Thanh Le Van, a guard who owned a similar car. Shortly after Diana’s accident, the vehicle was painted and the bumper changed. Vanity Fair magazine reported that “chemical analysis showed the original color matched that of the Mercedes”. However, Le Van had an alibi: he was working at the time of the accident. As a result, the investigation was not continued.

Money and alleged links to British intelligence

A year after the accident, Richard Tomlinson, a former British spy, told People that the accident that killed Diana resembled a plan by British intelligence agency MI6 to assassinate former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. According to him, the design involved the use of a powerful flash of light and a tunnel. The Brit also suggested that driver Henri Paul could be involved with the intelligence agency. Witnesses who were at the scene of the accident said they saw a powerful flash of light at the time of the collision.

However, apart from the spy’s testimony, there is no evidence that Henri Paul had anything to do with MI6. Henri Paul’s bank accounts were also investigated by the London Metropolitan Police. The driver had 170,000 euros spread across fifteen bank accounts, an amount incompatible with his salary. He also had cash with him at the time of the accident.

However, his family attributed the amount to generous tips Paul received from guests at the Ritz Hotel, where he worked in security. The police also could not prove that the money had anything to do with the accident or was obtained improperly.

Mystery Ticket

Princess Diana could have predicted she would be involved in a car accident two years before her death, according to a note. The revelation came amid investigations into the documentary series The Diana Investigations. The Daily Beast website had access to some of the content, including what is known as the “Mishcon ticket”.

In 1995, Diana requested a private meeting with her legal counsel, Victor Mishcon, who took note of the content of the conversation. According to Victor’s notes, the princess “wanted to talk about something that was on her mind.” During the meeting, Diana said that “reliable sources,” who were not named, told her that “a car crash was being staged.” The notes suggest that Prince Charles’ exwife said she would end up “dead or seriously injured”.

According to experts involved with the series, Mishcon turned the note over to London’s Metropolitan Police after the fatal accident in 1997. This note was in the possession of Police Commissioner Sir Paul Condon, who kept it in a safe. Its contents only became public after Condon left the post and was replaced by John Stevens. Stevens told the Daily Beast of the note: “I was with Mr Mishcon a month before he died, around spring 2005. He pointed out to me that at the time he thought Diana was being paranoid, so he didn’t care that much attributed [às anotações]”.

Body embalming by Lady Di

Picture dated June 1990 shows Prince Charles and Princess Diana in London  Martyn Hayhow/Reuters  Martyn Hayhow/Reuters Image: Martyn Hayhow/Portal

Mohamed AlFayed, Dodi’s father, also asked why they embalmed Lady Di’s body before the autopsy. According to him, the procedure was done to ensure pregnancy tests were inconclusive.

The lawsuit was dismissed in the London Metropolitan Police report. According to the document, it was very hot in Paris and Diana’s body was placed in an empty room near the emergency room where she was treated since the morgue was far from where the princess’ body was located. Dry ice and air conditioning were installed to keep the body cool, to no avail.

Prince Charles, Diana’s two sisters and then French President Jacques Chirac were there to see Lady Di before she was flown to the UK. With little time to prepare the body for the visit, hospital staff proceeded with the embalming only with verbal approval from police authorities before approval was given through documents. According to French law, these documents are required to carry out the suspicionprovoking procedure.

However, investigations into the matter found that the embalming was illegal, but did not conclude that there was any intention to conceal an alleged pregnancy of Lady Di.