A confidante of Princess Diana said Thursday that Prince Philip wrote two letters to her that were derogatory and cruel.

Simone Simmons, who practices "energy healing" and met Diana in 1993, told a British coroner's inquest that the princess had shown her two letters from Philip written in 1994 and 1995, near the end of Diana's marriage to Prince Charles.

Simmons agreed with a suggestion by a lawyer that the letters "made cruel and disparaging observations about the propriety of the conduct of Diana."

The inquest is examining the deaths of Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, in a Paris car crash on Aug. 31, 1997.

Fayed's father, Mohamed Al Fayed, claims the couple were the targets of a conspiracy directed by Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II.

Jurors previously heard extracts from affectionate letters exchanged by Philip and Diana in 1992 in which she addressed him as "dearest Pa." Those letters were released by Prince Philip's office.

Simmons said she and Diana were reading a book about graphology and going through Diana's correspondence with other members of the royal family to examine their handwriting.

"She showed me a couple of nasty letters as we were going though analyzing things according to this book. Diana drew my attention only to two letters that really upset her," Simmons said.

"Diana read one out to me; she was furious and she was imitating the voice of the Duke of Edinburgh (Philip)."

Simmons said Diana's face reddened as she read one of the letters.