07/01/2004

Diana was not pregnant, says former royal coroner

If conspiracy theorists believed that the Princess Diana coroner's inquiry would expose a web of murder and intrigue within the British establishment, then this morning's revelation that the princess was not pregnant would have disappointed them.

One of the many conspiracy theories concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of the Princess and her boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed is that the pair were murdered because Diana was pregnant and was intending to marry Mr Al Fayed. The theory follows that dark forces within MI6 carried out the murders to prevent a Muslim becoming a member of the royal family.

However, former royal coroner Dr John Burton has told the Times newspaper that he was present at Diana's postmortem examination and could confirm that she was not pregnant at the time of her death.

According to today edition of the Times, Dr Burton said: “The most bizarre theories are going about. She had only met Dodi six weeks before. I mean, the story that she was obviously pregnant: even if she got pregnant the first time she met him, that he shook hands and got her pregnant, the baby would only be six weeks old at the most. It doesn’t stop everybody wanting to believe it.”

He added that the inquiry would probably not draw a line under the tragic events in Paris six years ago, as "95% of the people will still disregard all the facts and want to go back to their own conspiracies”.

The Queen's coroner Dr Michael Burgess opened two separate coroner's inquiries into the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed following a car crash in the Place de L'Alma tunnel, Paris, on August 31 1997.

At a press conference Dr Burgess confirmed that the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir John Stevens, has been asked to investigate the case.

A French coroner's inquiry found that Princess Diana, Mr Al Fayed and their driver Henri Paul had died as a result of an accident. Only Diana's bodyguard, Trevor Rees Jones, who was the only person wearing a seatbelt, survived the crash.

A postmortem on Henri Paul found a mixture of alcohol and prescription drugs in his bloodstream.

(gmcg)

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