I mentioned earlier that a date has been set for an inquest on Princess Diana.

Now the Independent has a long and thorough article on the inquest, followed by a short piece on the coroner, Michael Burgess, and a Q and A section on coroners.

The same coroner will be opening the inquest on Dodi Fayed in Surrey. This is a coincidence as he happens to be the coroner both for Surrey and for the Queen’s Household. Inquests have to be held in the case of deaths by accident abroad.

Burgess will have the 6,000 or so pages in the French file. It will probably take him six months to analyse this.

bq. It remains to be seen how much of the French file Mr Burgess will have translated, and how much of it will then be made public. (At the very least, documents in the case have to be made available to lawyers representing all interested parties.) The file consists of more than 300 witness statements, taken by the 30 detectives who worked on the case for two years (interviews with witnesses at the scene; with the photographers; with medical staff; with employees of the Ritz hotel, which the couple had just left; with friends and family of the driver, Henri Paul; and with the two British bodyguards who were travelling with the couple).

There are rumours of a cover-up, and these have been encouraged by the secretive French method of investigation:

bq. The 6,000-page file assembled by Judge Stephan has never been made public. He has never given an interview or a press conference to explain his findings. If he is called to give evidence at the inquests, he will refuse – not because he has something to hide, but because he is still bound by his professional oath of secret d’instruction, or the secrecy of investigation.

3 thoughts on “

  1. She’s been dead for over six years and the tabloids are still selling papers on the strength of her name. She should be allowed to rest in peace – she certainly wasn’t murdered by the Royal family or anybody else. I feel very sorry for her kids, having to put up with all this malicious, unsubstantiated gossip about their dead mother and living father.

  2. You’re right, it must be dreadful for her kids. The tabloids are being given a lot of help by Mohammed el Fayed and Paul Burrell, though. They had Burrell on German TV on Monday or Tuesday night – they seem to have changed the programme for an interview between him and a German talk-show host. Burrell said he had to quote Diana’s letter saying Charles intended to kill her, in order to make sure an inquest was held. But English law says there must be an inquest on violent deaths abroad, bizarre though this seems, and this one could not take place earlier because the French case wasn’t closed.

  3. Whether Prince Charles is immune from prosecution or not by virtue of royal connections – Princess Anne and her fighting dogs come to mind again – it will be interesting to see how the enquiry into the contents of the Royal Butler’s letter will proceed and the way Scotland Yard or the Met will describe the formal process of any ‘interview’ allowed to take place.

    Perhaps: ‘A 55 year-old man from Windsor (has been arrested and cautioned and) is helping police with their enquiries’.

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