From the Roswell crash where aliens were first “seen”, to the 9/11 attacks, nothing is immune from conspiracy theories. The Royal Family, that most vaunted and high-brow of subjects for the chattering classes to gossip about, is of course no exception. Here we look back at one of the most controversial subjects for conspiracy – that infamous car crash in Paris where Lady Diana and Dodi Fayed sadly perished. From pregnancy to SAS involvement, it was really a free-for-all for conspiracy theorists everywhere.
The key to all these theories seemed to be the fact that Diana herself expressed her own fears in a letter to her butler Paul Burrell, where she stated hauntingly that she feared she would be killed – due to a car accident or faulty brakes. The crux of this was that it was considered she was an embarrassment to the Royal Family, and Charles could have a clean break and re-marry with her off the scene. Her prediction proved disturbingly accurate, and led to other, more common theories which abound.
Several theories feature the SAS and other dark ‘security forces’ becoming involved. An ex-SAS soldier, known mysteriously as Soldier N, reportedly told his wife that the Special Air Service had used a familiar counter-terrorism technique, a white flash, to dazzle the driver and send the car spiralling out of control. This is a technique that had been employed before, and in fact it coincided with eye witness evidence which reported seeing a flash that seemingly preceded the crash itself.
The Metropolitan police, charged with investigating the claims, dismissed them in 2013, citing a lack of credible evidence. It is not unheard of for similar things to happen – history is littered with examples of military involvement to facilitate political action – but in the case of the Royal Family, it seems too frivolous to engage such extreme means.
Diana was pregnant
Another popular theory was that Diana was pregnant. This theory was along the same lines – that she may bring embarrassment to the Royal Family and tarnish their good name… years of scandal and questionable breeding having not done that sufficiently, it would seem.
Despite this theory being categorically ruled out in the autopsy following her death, rumours persisted. A journalist, Chris Laffaille, claimed that he discovered the pregnancy by searching official records of a hospital, it was reported by the Daily Mail. This in turn was then discredited by an official spokesperson for the hospital, who stated that having examined the records they were actually forgeries!
A big part of the pregnancy speculation was Mohamed Al Fayed’s claim that Diana and Dodi were due to be engaged shortly before her death – a shotgun engagement perhaps, but, in reality, this is the only evidence giving this theory any credibility.
The missing Uno
One of the most intriguing theories is the presence, and subsequent miraculous disappearance of a white Fiat Uno. Following the crash, police were able to analyse paint scrapings on the side of the Mercedes carrying Diana and Dodi, and trace it back, amazingly, to a white Fiat Uno, circa 1985 vintage.
Lord Stevens however, in his infamous 2006 report, stated that tests suggested it was, as some suspected, the car of a French paparazzo, James Andanson, considered the cause of the crash in many circles. Intriguingly though, Andanson was found three years later, dead, in a BMW that had been reduced to char. It was said that he committed suicide, although it was also rumoured that he was working for the secret services and was assassinated in order to keep him quiet.
This Uno story had yet more legs, it seems. It also came to light that a taxi driver, Le Van Thanh, owned a white Uno almost identical to the car that witnesses stated they had seen strike the Mercedes on the day of the incident. Van Thanh refused to clarify this, and opted against speaking with Scotland Yard during the investigation. His dad had also said that he had re-sprayed the Uno red, just hours after the accident.
It was reported that Lord Stevens wanted to speak to him because he thought his evidence could help disprove some common conspiracy theories about Diana’s death, but the only cooperation he gave was a statement to the inquest, in which he denied that he was the driver of the car that was involved and left the scene of the accident. It’s probable that Le Van Thanh wasn’t involved, but his actions were so suspicious one has to wonder if he had some stake in adding fuel to the conspiracy fire. He achieved his goal if this is the case – this theory remains alive and well!
Well, Diana is gone but not forgotten. What remains is a testament to people’s willingness to see conspiracy in most of life’s major tragedies – some were more credible than others, and the truth may never be known.
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