Investigator Recalls Interviewing Prince Charles After Princess Diana’s Death: ‘He Knew No More Than We Did’
Aug. 31 marks 25 years since Princess Diana’s death. Documentaries have been released in the lead-up. Circumstances surrounding the 1997 car crash that killed Diana but also her then-boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, and the driver of the vehicle, Henri Paul, have been re-examined. Prince Charles’ interview with police in the years following Diana’s death has also been revisited.
What did Charles have to say after the death of his ex-wife? How did he seem when police questioned him? A former investigator for the London Metropolitan Police recalled in 2022 what it was like interviewing Charles after Diana’s death.
Police questioned Prince Charles about a note
Following the accident in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel, there were many questions and conspiracy theories. French authorities conducted an investigation in the immediate aftermath of the crash.
Only years later, in January 2004, did London’s Metropolitan Police, begin their own investigation.
Named Operation Paget, a team of officers, including former senior investigative officer David Douglas, looked into Diana’s death. In December 2005, they interviewed Charles about Diana’s death.
While appearing on the U.K. program, Good Morning Britain, Douglas recalled questioning Charles at St. James Palace. He said he and John Stevens, Baron Stevens of Kirkwhelpington, the Commissioner of Police at the time, spoke to Charles.
“What became obvious was that Prince Charles knew nothing about that note until it became public in 2003. He knew no more than we did.”
“So we asked him a few questions about that,” Douglas continued. “The way it worked was I wrote down the answers. And eventually, we produced a witness statement, and that’s all it was. And as far as Charles was concerned, that was what it was about.”
Investigator says Prince Charles agreed to interview as a way of ‘dealing’ with talk of royal family involvement in Princess Diana’s death
Douglas continued, saying he thought Charles participated in a police interview after Diana’s death to put any talk of royal family involvement to rest.
“I think that covers a lot of it … The allegations that were being made, principally about the Duke of Edinburgh but involving Charles—that they had conspired with MI6, MI5, SAS, whoever you want to talk about—to murder the mother of their grandchildren, the establishment had done this, it doesn’t get any more serious than that as an allegation,” he said.
Douglas went on, recalling how Charles took the opportunity to set the record straight at a time when Prince Philip had been “attacked in the media” on “another level.”
“So I think Charles saw this as a way of kind of dealing with this and saying, ‘Actually no, this is what happened,’” Douglas said.
Prince Charles could’ve refused to be interviewed by police
In the same interview, Douglas also noted Charles had the option not to sit down with the police. “I have to say as well that he could’ve actually refused to see us. He was only a witness. He wasn’t a suspect in any way, shape, or form,” he said.
“But in actual fact, he said, ‘No, I want to come and speak to you, I want you to explain what’s happening, and I will tell you what I know,” Douglas added.
The Operation Paget findings later concluded the crash had been an accident.
See Douglas, as well as other officers involved in Operation Paget, in The Princess Diana Investigations on discovery+.