The world was shocked, saddened, and confused when Princess Diana of Wales suddenly died in a car accident. The people’s princess was a mother of two, active charity worker for those affected by AIDs and cancer, and symbol of style and grace for millions worldwide.
Her death took many by surprise, as did the nature of it. We uncovered the most popular conspiracy theories surrounding Lady Di’s death … including the one that involves the monarchy (page 5).
1. Excessive speed and drunk driving are the confirmed factors
- Diana died in a car crash on August 31st, 1997
- Her partner Dodi Fayed and the driver, Henri Paul, died as well
- Multiple reports and investigations agreed the official account of events included a drunk driver
Diana’s driver, Henri Paul, was reportedly speeding through the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris to avoid the hounding paparazzi. The resulting crash killed Princess Diana, Paul, and Diana’s partner at the time, Dodi Fayed. The only survivor was Diana’s bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones.
Rees-Jones, who suffered severe injuries and underwent facial reconstruction surgery following the accident, remembers little save “a woman’s voice” uttering the name “Dodi.” Psychiatrists warned him these could be “false memories,” The Telegraph reported.
Next: The popular theory many question the legitimacy of
2. Diana was pregnant with another man’s child
- Mohamed al-Fayed, the father of Diana’s companion Dodi, claimed she was pregnant with his son’s child
Fayed claimed the royal family couldn’t accept Diana was having a child with an Egyptian Muslim man and so they chose to kill her and her baby. There were reports Diana was pregnant before she died — Diana told the press of a “big surprise” and they speculated she was with child — but the coroner of the Queen’s Household claimed he personally examined Diana’s womb.
He determined she wasn’t pregnant, as did a British investigation that searched for the pregnancy hormone HCG in bloodstains from the car’s carpet. Still, a Diana conspiracy theorist said the princess was embalmed before the autopsy, claiming it was “ghoulishly suspicious to order an embalming, especially in such a high-profile death.”
Next: Some blame the cars rapidly chasing Diana’s Mercedes
3. The paparazzi drove the car into a crash
- People continue to blame the paparazzi’s “erratic behavior” for the crash
- The official investigation found there was no criminal conspiracy on the part of the photographers
Some theorize that a group of paparazzi tailed Diana’s Mercedes to incite a crash, while others believe that certain paparazzi fostered an environment “where a crash could happen.” Diana, who was no stranger to paparazzi, found them harmful to her well-being — a fact which many believe fostered this theory.
4. The car was compromised
- Theorists speculate the car had been tampered with, it was going too fast, and the route was blocked off
It was too tough for officials to speculate which witnesses were correct about the alleged speed of Diana’s car, though they confirmed the car was driving fast the night it crashed.
Still, experts find one of the central focuses of the conspiracy is the car itself, as well as surrounding vehicles. Witnesses and reporters pointed to the white Fiat that allegedly followed Diana into the tunnel and reportedly made “glancing contact” with the Mercedes limousine.
Next: The theory that surrounds the queen and her family.
5. Diana believed the monarchy was threatening her safety
Conspiracy theorists were inspired by the truth Diana believed: that she herself would be killed. Diana’s former butler, Paul Burrell, released a letter Diana had given him for safekeeping. “I am sitting here at my desk today in October,” she wrote, “… This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous — my husband is planning ‘an accident’ in my car, brake failure and serious head injury in order to make the path clear for him to marry Tiggy.”
Mohammed Fayed supported this theory for some time and believed the monarchy played a role. However, officials and experts speculate Diana’s concerns about her safety were a result of previous problems she’d had with her car and her belief her bodyguard died as a result of a conspiracy.
Next: Theorists doubt the driver’s crash was an accident
6. The driver intentionally crashed
- The theory is that MI6 paid Paul to assassinate Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed
Conspiracy theorists believe Paul wasn’t just an employee of the Ritz Hotel, but an MI6 (the U.K.’s secret service) informant. Their reasoning? Paul’s reported annual salary was $35,000 yet he had $250,000 in his bank account and a large amount of cash on him at his death.
A former MI6 officer, Richard Tomlison, famous claimed he’d seen Paul’s MI6 file and confirmed he was an informant. “I am certain that this money originated from MI6,” he told a French judge in 1998.
Next: The reason behind all the theories
7. Why royal experts think people seek the theories
Pauling Maclaren, co-author of “Royal Fever: The British Monarchy in Consumer Culture,” explained why conspiracy theories are so common. “Human nature refuses to believe that something as random as a car accident could kill someone as special as Diana,” she told the Chicago Tribune.
“When you have icons, it’s very hard to believe that they can just come to an end in such a futile way.”
Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!