06/01/2004

Mirror names Royal alleged to have plotted Diana's death

The Daily Mirror has today named the senior royal whom Princess Diana had alleged was plotting to kill her.

Princess Diana's allegations are contained in a private letter currently in the possession of her former butler, Paul Burrell. Mr Burrell is expected to present the letter to the inquests that open today into the deaths of Diana and Dodi Al Fayed.

The letter, written by the princess and quoted in today's Daily Mirror, reads: " -[name deleted]- is planning "an accident" in my car, brake failure and serious head injury..."

The letter dated October 1996 was composed 10 months prior to the Paris car accident that would claim the lives of Diana, Dodi Al Fayed and their driver Henri Paul. The princess' bodyguard Trevor Rees Jones, who was the only person wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, survived.

A probe launched by French police found that the crash had occurred when Mr Paul, whose blood was shown to contain a mix of alcohol and prescription drugs, lost control of the Mercedes car. The vehicle smashed into a supporting pillar as it travelled at high speed through a tunnel.

Today's inquest led by the coroner to the Queen's household, Michael Burgess, which began this morning in central London, was adjourned when the Coronor appointed Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens to head up a police inquiry into the fatal crash. The inquest is the first time that British authorities have investigated the circumstances surrounding Diana's death.

A second coroner's inquest into the death of Dodi Al Fayed, to be held in Reigate, Surrey, will begin later this afternoon.

Dodi's father, the multi-millionaire owner of Harrods, Mohamed Al Fayed, has long claimed that the couple were deliberately killed on August 31 1997 after Diana fell pregnant. He claims that the murders were carried out by shadowy figures operating within MI6 and on behalf of the monarchy.

Paul Burrell, who was acquitted in 2002 of three charges of stealing property from the Princess' estate, holds a collection of material originating from Diana's household. Today's letter forms a part of that cache.

(gmcg)

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