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Home > Culture and Society

I told you so

7 January 2004

The beautiful princess tossed her golden locks and her girlish laughter tinkled around the plush exterior of the top-of-the-range Mercedes like silver bats caught in velvet cave. She flashed a smile at her dashing dusky beau: a smile so full of love and sunshine that it could have melted rubies. Then the steering column of the Mercedes burst through her chest and she bled out on French concrete.

And as she lay dying, the black lips of death slithered up to her delicately-shaped ear and whispered the ghastly words that the princess herself had written, several dark moons ago:

"This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous - my husband is planning 'an accident' in my car, brake failure and serious head injury in order to make the path clear for him to marry."

So. Diana thought Prince Charles was going to bump her off in a car crash.

"Risible" was the first semi-official response to these claims, a response which came - according to the Evening Standard - from "a close friend of Prince Charles."

"It is risible and deeply hurtful. I am sure nobody believes this preposterous claim."

A "royal source" in today's Daily Mirror also describes the claim as "preposterous" - and Charles' former press secretary, Colleen Harris, describes Diana's suspicions as "complete and utter rubbish."

And certainly, these suspicions would be "risible" and "preposterous" if the radiant Diana were currently sitting on a yacht off St. Lucia, batting her big eyes at Dodi and enjoying a quiet line or two of the finest Egyptian cocaine.

The problem is, she died in a car crash. Which fact renders the words "risible" and "preposterous" risible and preposterous. There is nothing laughable about this. Nothing absurd. The absurdity of Diana dying in a French tunnel with a steering column stuck in her spleen trumps the absurdity of her claim that Charles wanted her dead.

Whether or not he did, whether or not the crash was an accident, it is wrong to dismiss her suspicions as outlandish because the outlandish happened that night in Paris.

Obviously, the idea that Diana was murdered suffers from being a 'conspiracy theory' - and as such, is easy to dismiss. Only cranks believe in conspiracy theories. The faked moon landings, the CIA killing of JKF etc. etc. But it is bad logic to bundle all of these things together and see them all as the mad ravings of X-Files enthusiasts and socially dysfunctional physics graduates. The belief that all conspiracy theories are wrong is just as much of a conspiracy theory.

Cynicism, like sex, is a wonderful thing. But too much of it is just plain wrong. Unlike sex. A closed mind is a stupid mind. Diana may have been a gibbering nutcase, but she had married into Europe's most insane family and she hated them and they hated her and then she died. She thought Charles was going to kill her in a car crash and she died in a car crash. Nothing risible about this sequence of events.

And anyway, it's much more interesting to wonder. People will be talking about the deaths of Diana and JFK and Stuart Lubbock and the passengers of United flight 93 long after the dead of the Twin Towers are forgotten: the people who died in the Twin Towers are just a bunch of numbers under rubble. No mystery in numbers.

We need mystery to remember.

Long live Diana.

So was there a conspiracy? No.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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