Prince Philip Not to Be Called as Witness in Diana Inquest

Prince Philip will not be called to testify at the inquest into the deaths of Prince Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed, a coroner said Friday.

Lord Justice Scott Baker said it would not be useful to call Queen Elizabeth II's husband or put questions to the queen herself.

Mohamed Al Fayed, Dodi's father, has claimed that the prince was behind an establishment conspiracy to have the pair killed. Al Fayed and his attorney, Michael Mansfield, have claimed the 1997 car accident in a Paris tunnel was orchestrated by British intelligence agents to thwart the couple's plans to marry.

"In my judgment, it's not expedient to call (Prince Philip) to give evidence nor do I think the Queen should be asked to answer the questions by Michael Mansfield," Baker said.

The inquest began five months ago after a decade of British and French police investigations and French court proceedings. Both investigations concluded the deaths were accidental.

Al Fayed was extremely disappointed by the ruling, spokeswoman Katharine Witty said.

"He hopes the coroner will make publicly known his reasons for the decisions," she said. "In the meantime, Mr. al Fayed's lawyers are discussing the legal options open to them, including judicial review."

Baker's ruling came during a closed session of legal argument and much of its contents cannot be made public because the jury was not present.

Earlier Friday, London's Metropolitan Police said they will not consider investigating alleged perjury by former royal butler Paul Burrell while the inquest into Princess Diana's death continues.

Burrell has refused to return to Britain from Florida to answer more questions at the inquest.

The Sun newspaper has reported that Burrell was caught on a hidden video camera boasting about withholding information from the judge.

"Do you honestly think I've told everything I know?" The Sun quoted Burrell as saying in its transcript of the video. "Of course I haven't."

Metropolitan Police said that any decision would be made in consultation with the coroner, Lord Justice Scott Baker, after the inquest ends, which may be in April.

Although refusing to return, Burrell made a further written statement which was read to the inquest jury on Thursday. He said he had not concealed "anything remotely relevant to the inquiry."

"I accept that whilst I was under cross-examination my evidence may at times have strayed from the strictly relevant, but at no time did I tell any untruths. I tried to assist the court as far as I was able," he said.

He said that at the time of the videotaped conversation with an unidentified "contact" in a New York hotel room, he was "tired and depressed and had been drinking all evening."

"I am not proud of this. I was trying to impress him. The comments I made to him were not correct," Burrell said in the statement

The six-month long hearing is expected to end in April.