By the time of her death, there is no doubt that Diana was under massive and near-constant media scrutiny. It was a long-acknowledged open secret that Charles had continued a relationship with former lover Camilla Parker-Bowles following his marriage to Diana in 1981. As the eighties drew to a close, the pressure on the couple was only increased as details of their dalliances leaked to the press via hacked phone calls.
Famously, Charles was caught telling Parker-Bowles: "I wish I could be reincarnated as your tampon". This was closely followed by 'Squidgygate' - in which details of Diana's own relationship with James Gilbey were leaked ('Squidgy' was his pet name for the Princess).
Somehow, the marriage limped on into the 1990s - no doubt partly due to the pressures of protocol and decorum that are expected of royalty. After their divorce in 1995, Diana's life quickly descended into a media circus. Her every appearance in public with a male led to a flurry of speculation - although there are some who believe that she helped to fan the flames to curry sympathy from the public (particularly given her candid 1995 interview with Panorama). During those last 2 hectic years, her involvement with high profile charities and a series of male friends was an almost constant source of front page headlines.
Under such pressure and with constant violation of privacy, it could be understandable that someone could wish their life away - either through suicide or by running and hiding. It is the latter theory which many cling to even today.
To those who are suspicious, the following facts are pertinent.
- Her bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones survived the crash. To some this seems incredible, given the damage that is evident from photographs of the crash scene and the fact that the car was alleged to have been travelling at 121 miles per hour when it crashed. His survival is said to be proof that the crash itself was actually staged.
- The driver of the Mercedes - Henri Paul - was not Dodi's usual driver. His behaviour has always been suspect, with accusations of drinking and generally suspicious behaviour. Some hold that he was actually a security officer or that he never actually died at the crash scene, but was spirited away afterwards.
- Mere hours before the crash Diana told Daily Mail reporter Richard Kay that she wanted to "completely withdraw from public life."