LONDON – Mohamed al Fayed gave a dramatic performance in the witness box at the inquests into the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales and his son Dodi, this morning, declaring that the couple were murdered by MI6 at the behest of Prince Philip.
The Harrods owner claimed that the pair were the victims of an establishment conspiracy, but that most of the proof had disappeared in the ensuing cover-up.
Before entering the High Court, Mr. Fayed warned the assembled press that “this is the moment for me to say exactly what I feel happened to my son and Diana.”
Once ensconced at the witness stand he told the jury he would “make no allegations” but would merely state his beliefs about how the couple died. He went on to make a series of allegations.
“French intelligence helped the British intelligence to execute their murder,” he alleged. “Princess Diana told me she had proof her life was in danger.”
The Princess and Dodi Fayed were killed when the Mercedes they were traveling in crashed into a pillar in the Alma Tunnel in Paris in August 1997.
The car was being driven by Henri Paul, an employee of Fayed at the Ritz Hotel in Paris. French and British police investigations both concluded the deaths were tragic accidents caused by their speeding driver, who was found to be drunk.
Today, however, Mr Fayed claimed that the blood samples taken from the driver were falsified at the morgue, and that other evidence of a conspiracy had been suppressed.
“Diana told me on the telephone she was pregnant,” he alleged. “I am the only person they told. They told me they were engaged and would announce their engagement on Monday morning (three days after the crash),” he said.
He has alleged that the royal family did not want the mother of a future king to have a child with his son. “She told me that she knew Prince Philip and Prince Charles were trying to get rid of her,” he said.
Mr. Fayed has said in the past that he believes Diana’s killing was ordered because the royal family did not want the mother of the future king having a child with a Muslim businessman.
He called Prince Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, a “Nazi” and a “racist.”
“It’s time to send him back to Germany from where he comes,” he said. “You want to know his original name — it ends with Frankenstein.” He called the royal family "that Dracula family".
He said Prince Charles was also part of the plot, hoping to clear the decks so he could marry Camilla Parker Bowles, “his crocodile wife.”
Diana’s fears that she would die in a car crash were laid out “in black and white” in a note written by Diana’s divorce lawyer Lord Mishcon in October 1995, he said.
In the strictest of confidence Lord Mishcon passed it on to police following a meeting with the then Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Condon after the Princess’s death. It was only when Diana’s former butler, Paul Burrell, produced a note from the Princess making very similar allegations in the Daily Mirror in October 2003, while Sir John Stevens was head of the Met, that the police agreed to hand over the note.
It was sent to the coroner in December 2003.
Mr. Fayed held up a copy of today’s Sun newspaper, which claims to have filmed Mr. Burrell admitting not to have told the whole truth at the inquest. Mr. Fayed said: “He’s been sitting here in the witness box talking about baloney things.”
Lord Justice Scott Baker later addressed the issue, telling the court: “I have called for the tape. We will certainly want to know the circumstances under which it was obtained.”
Reading from a statement, Mr. Fayed said: “My belief that my son and Princess Diana were murdered was confirmed when I learned that the two leading Commissioners — Lord Condon and Lord Stevens — did not show the coroner the note.”
He added: “I cannot believe that they sat upon such an important note and did not pass it on to the (examining French Magistrate) Judge Stephan in Paris and (the then coroner) Michael Burgess.
He also said the Princess had kept a wooden box and told him that if anything was to happen to her he must make sure its contents were made public.
He said he spoke to Mr. Burrell immediately after the crash and was assured by the butler that the box would be kept safe.
“He did not keep his promise, the next I heard he had been arrested,” he said.
Mr. Fayed said Diana’s sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, had come to him two days after the crash, to say “that she thought the crash was suspicious, that she would find the box and keep its contents safe,” he said. “She has not done so.”
He added: “I am certain, also, that she was part of the cover-up.” All this had hampered his efforts to secure proof of the conspiracy, he said. “You want me to get the proof but I am facing a steel wall from the security services,” he said.
Mr. Fayed broke down in the witness box as he was asked about the moment he was told of his son’s death. Asked by Mr Burnett: “Can you remember who telephoned you with this dreadful news?”
Mr. Fayed replied: “I think one of security, I think maybe Kes Wingfield, to the best of my recollection.”
Mr. Burnett asked the Harrods owner if he remembered a call from the Ritz hotel president Frank Klein. Mr. al Fayed replied: “It’s difficult. I’d like to know why you are asking me things like that.”
Mr. Klein has previously told the inquest that he telephoned Mr. al Fayed to break the news as soon as he was informed and recounted how his boss told him: “This is not an accident.”
Mr. Fayed told the jury today: “Security called me; he called me after that. I told him exactly what collected in my mind, all what Diana told me, exactly what happened.”