The Duke of Edinburgh could soon be forced to appoint lawyers to defend himself against allegations that he ‘masterminded’ the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.
A High Court ruling on Friday that the inquest into the deaths of Diana and her lover, Dodi Fayed, should be heard by a jury has made the prospect of Philip giving evidence to the hearing more likely. He has refused to get involved in the conspiracy theories surrounding Diana and Dodi Fayed and turned down requests to be interviewed by members of the Stevens inquiry investigating their deaths.
Dodi’s father, Mohamed al Fayed, is pushing for the disclosure of confidential documents, including private letters written by Philip to Diana. He also wants the inquiry’s coroner, Lady Butler-Sloss, to allow more than 18 witnesses who were in Paris on the day of Diana’s death to give evidence. These include a French family who told French prosecutors they saw a large dark car chasing Diana’s Mercedes into the underpass in which she died, and a number of MI6 agents, including the secret service’s deputy head. ‘There were 18 eye-witnesses and none of them has been seen, let alone interviewed,’ said a spokesman for Fayed.
Diana referred to Philip’s letters as her ‘crown jewels’ due to what she believed was the incendiary nature of their contents. An investigation by the former Metropolitan police chief, Lord Stevens, found that Diana and Dodi died in an accident. Fayed insists the pair were murdered.
This week he will launch proceedings in France against the French police who investigated his son’s death. His lawyers will say they had a legal duty to consider all the evidence. He maintains this should have included an extensive statement given by an influential confidant of Diana, Lord Mischon, to a senior Metropolitan police officer which detailed her concerns that the royal family were going to murder her and make her death look like a car crash.