The Princess Diana Conspiracies
31st August 1997

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Until the terrorist attacks on the USA on the 9th September 2001, many Britons assumed that the 'JFK moment' of their lifetime would be the death of Princess Diana - something that would be the single most vividly recalled news event of their life. For several months following her death in a Paris road tunnel, she was lionised and mourned in a way almost unprecedented in the UK. Even the Queen herself came under vituperative attack for failing to judge the public mood. In an era of disgraced public figures, Diana seemed to acquire a secular canonicalisation by popular fiat.
To some extent, the memory of that long ago summer now has an unreal haze to it. Many of the principle actors have moved on: Tony Blair has vanished from British public life, The Queen and the monarchy have regained the respect of much of the populace and Diana's once-ubiquitous butler Paul Burrell has slipped from the pages of the tabloids. Even the issues which she championed such as AIDs and landmines have fallen down the news agenda in a new era of seemingly never-ending war on an unseen terrorist enemy prompted by the events of 9/11.
Despite this, her memory is kept alive not just by those who saw something great and noble in her, but by a strand of belief that maintains that her death was no accident - but was plotted by sinister forces from the British Government, MI6 or even the monarchy itself.
Eventually, the Government was moved by the insistence of opinion (not least from Mohammad Al-Fayed, whose son Dodi also died in the crash alongside Diana) to commission an enquiry. The Paget Report concluded that there was no evidence to support claims of a plot to murder Diana.
As with all such matters, the court of public opinion is still not appeased by such reassurances and the report itself is held to be part of the overarching conspiracy.
Attempts to quell the conspiracy theories have, naturally, failed to achieve their aims. This documentary, for example, presents the official view of the case and attempts to dispell some of the key strands of the conspiracy.

Of course, such claims are the source of easy humour. Here, Mitchell and Webb dissect the conspiracy theorists with incisive wit:

See also: conspiracy theories

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 22nd February 2014 | © Weird Island 2010-2020
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BBC news broadcast announcing Diana's death