Can't they let Princess Diana rest in peace?By A.n Wilson
Diana, Princess of Wales pictured a couple of months before she died a Paris car crash which also killed Dodi Fayed, son of Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed
One of the selling points of the film is that it is prepared to break every taboo of decency by showing a photo of the Princess as she is dying.
Viewers in Cannes will be able to see her body moments after the Mercedes in which she was travelling with Dodi Fayed crashed in an underpass in Paris and as a doctor desperately tries to administer help.
Of course, a documentary film that said Princess Diana died as a result of a tragic accident is not going to be as exciting as one that repeats the old conspiracy theory that she was murdered as a cover-up by the so-called Establishment.
The film overlooks the fact that British taxpayers spent £12 million in 2008 because Dodi’s father Mohamed Fayed refused to accept the verdict of two inquests.
After 250 witnesses had been called, not a shred of evidence was presented that made anyone believe the deaths were anything other than an accident.
Exciting as it might have been to suppose — as Mohamed Fayed ludicrously claimed — that the Duke of Edinburgh had somehow ordered a white Fiat to cause the Mercedes to crash, not one bit of evidence was produced to make the theory stand up in that six-month inquest.
The trailer for the film shows the U.S. comedienne Kathleen Madigan saying you have to take notice when a woman predicts she is going to be murdered and her death then happens exactly as she predicted.
The most specific of these suggestions — and this is the one, presumably, to which Ms Madigan is alluding in the film — is that Prince Charles was tampering with the brakes of Diana’s car.
The fact is that she did not die in her own car. As three inquests made plain, she died because the driver of that car, supplied not by the Establishment but by the Fayed family who owned the Paris Ritz, was very drunk.
Various inquests found that the reason for Diana's Mercedes crashing was due to her drunk chauffeur
In fact, I would question whether Diana predicted her own death at all.
She said these things in the depths of her misery when she felt her husband’s family hated her. And when relations were at an all-time low between her and her husband, she was probably right to say there were many in the Establishment who did wish she would leave the scene.
But that is a very different thing from predicting your own death, as this film claims she did.
It is one thing for her to have said these things when she was alive and feeling wretched; it is quite another for Keith Allen to come along almost 14 years after she died and advance his sensationalist film as a serious ‘documentary’.
He brings forward as witnesses such figures as Noel Botham, who makes his living selling sensational books about the Royal Family, and fanatical republican Stephen Haseler, a professor of government at London Metropolitan University.
In the film, Haseler makes the ridiculous claim that no judge would tell the truth about the death of Diana because judges have all sworn oaths of loyalty to the Queen.
Let me repeat: the French police and a French coroner — who had not sworn oaths of loyalty to the Queen — concluded that the reason for Diana and Dodi Fayed’s deaths was simple: Henri Paul, their chauffeur, was blind drunk.
This verdict was repeated by two British inquests. The cases were heard by coroners and not by judges who had somehow sworn to a royal cover-up.
This latest attempt to make a splash out of this spurious conspiracy theory is both cynical and cruel.
It comes just after the Royal Wedding, at which Prince William and Prince Harry acknowledged that their mother would have loved to have been present.
Diana would be proud of her two boys, Harry and William, who are adored by the British public
When Diana first appeared on the public stage, in common with most people in the world, I was bowled over by her beauty and youth.
But when things came unstuck — in particular, when she appeared on a BBC Panorama programme spilling the beans about her marriage — I felt she was making a terrible mistake.
And, in the crude way of us journalists, I started writing unbelievably rudely about her.
The then Defence Minister Earl Howe said she was a ‘loose cannon’, and he was probably right — though he got a lot of stick for saying it.
Then she came to lunch at the newspaper where I worked and a few of us were lucky enough to spend a couple of hours with her.
Over the years, I have dished out a lot of insults to public figures in newspaper columns and the general response to offended dignity has been one of surly pomposity.
Charles and Diana pictured in 1992 - five years before the Princess of Wales' death
Not only was she a woman of melting beauty and overwhelming charm, she had perfect manners.
She won me round in two minutes and from that moment I became her ardent and unwavering champion. And I still am.
Very few people in history have the quality she possessed of being able instantly to communicate with everyone.
She had instantaneous crowd appeal. But everyone she met personally was also knocked for six by her charm. It was not fake. It is particularly noxious to be resurrecting the nonsense about her being murdered in Paris.
The true legacy of Diana is not to be found in comments she made when she was in the desperate state of misery that marital collapse brings to any of us who have undergone it.
No, her real legacy, as she would have always been the first to say, is ‘her boys’, two delightful young men whom the British public have taken to their heart.
Their humour and lack of self-importance are recognisably Diana-like virtues.
They do not deserve, and nor do we, a film that shows their mother’s dying moments, padded out with a lot of nonsense by people who were not witnesses to the tragedy, who did not know her and who, frankly, have nothing to add to the sum of human knowledge.
When the divorce took place, many felt torn and took sides. Some of Prince Charles’s friends, obviously meaning the best for the man, made some cruelly ill-judged remarks about Diana.
But I suspect none of these remarks would be echoed today by the Establishment.
As the years go by, we can see she brought a tremendous brightness to public life.
The fact Prince William was so clearly at ease with his stepmother at his wedding shows to all of us that he and his brother have found what therapists call closure.
Their mother lives for ever in our hearts. But she deserves to rest in peace, and this hateful film, which is all lies, deserves to be cold-shouldered by every decent person.