Diana’s letter rocks UK

Britons were in an uproar last week after the Daily Mirror published an excerpt from a forthcoming book written by Princess Diana’s former butler.

Paul Burrell revealed the existence of a letter written by Diana 10 months before the car crash that killed her and her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, on Aug. 31, 1997.

Part of Diana’s letter published by the Daily Mirror stated: “This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous. ‘X’ is planning ‘an accident’ in my car, brake failure and serious head injury to make the path clear for Charles to marry.”

Diana named the person she believed was out to kill her, but the Mirror withheld the identity for fear of libel action.

When she had finished the letter, Burrell said, she dated it and gave it to him for safekeeping “just in case.”

Revelation of the letter threw the British public into a frenzy and has made the royal family increasingly nervous over what secrets may be revealed next.

The establishment press in England immediately branded the report as “conspiracy theory”, and her brother, Earl Spencer, denied he has any basis to believe such notions might be true.

“With the conspiracy part of it,” he said, “my family and I are absolutely certain that we have never seen any evidence of that whatsoever. I do think it is just a bizarre coincidence rather than tied in with reality.”

The Mirror said the letter, excerpted from A Royal Duty, Burrell’s book about life at Kensington Palace, lends new importance to a warning given Burrell by the Queen at Buckingham Palace some time before Burrell’s trial.

The Queen said the butler should be vigilant because there are “powers at work in this country about which we have no knowledge.” Burrell said he did not ask the Queen what she meant.

Burrell said that meeting still weighs on his mind, and he is troubled that there still has been no British inquest into the deaths of Diana and Dodi Fayed, so he came forward with the letter’s contents.

The former butler said Diana became concerned about her security two years before her death, and that led her to record her fears in the letter.

The official story is that the pair died when their Mercedes sedan crashed into the wall of a bridge tunnel in Paris. French authorities said the driver of the car was drunk at the time. They said examination of the car showed the brakes had not been operated before the crash.

Dodi’s father, Mohammed Al Fayed, owner of London’s Harrods department store, has spent huge sums on a private investigation. He is convinced Diana and his son were murdered by British security services on orders from establishment forces.

Diana’s family refuses to believe that is the case. Her mother accepted the French version “without reservation.”

Princes William and Harry were furious at Burrell for his revelations about their mother’s life. Parts of his book have been running in the Daily Mirror, a tabloid, for a week.

The two princes publicly accused Burrell of a “cold and overt betrayal” of their mother. Burrell denies their accusations. The three are to meet soon in private to discuss the matter.

Burrell said he was “saddened at the statement issued on behalf of Prince William and Prince Harry.”

He stated: “I am convinced that when the princes, and everyone else, reads this book in its entirety, they will think differently. My only intention in writing this book was to defend the princess and stand in her corner.”

There still is no date set for an official coroner’s inquest into Diana’s death.

In the interim, the royal family is dreading publication of Burrell’s book this week. They fear it may reveal some secrets that could damage the monarchy severely.

Mark Bolland, Prince Charles’ former deputy private secretary, writing in the Mirror, said the fault lies not with Burrell, but with the monarchy.

Bolland characterized Prince Charles as “weak” and said the entire episode could have been avoided had Charles quashed any prosecution of Burrell on trumped-up charges of stealing Diana’s possessions.

“The problem was then, and it is now,” he wrote, “that the royal family and their advisers are totally out of touch with the real world.”

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