Let’s assume the conspiracy theories are true. Diana, Princess of Wales, was murdered.
A white Fiat Uno deliberately ran her Mercedes off the road. A strobe light was used to blind her driver, Henri Paul, who wasn’t drunk at all. Rather, his bloods were swapped with those of a dead drunk driver to make it appear so. And all the CCTV cameras along the Mercedes’ route were sabotaged so that they couldn’t record anything.
The next question is, why was she killed? Because if we can work out the ‘why’, it just might just lead us to the ‘who’.
Most people think the most likely motive for Diana’s murder was that she was pregnant with the child of her Egyptian Muslim boyfriend, Dodi Fayed. And the traditional, white, Christian British Establishment had her and her baby bumped off because it was, well, just flagrantly unacceptable for the future king to have an Egyptian Muslim half-sibling.
But let’s imagine for a moment that the Royal Family aren’t that racist. What if Diana’s murder was actually all to do with a bunch of highly incriminating tapes, letters, photos and mementoes stored in a mahogany box dubbed the ‘Crown Jewels’?
The story of the Crown Jewels, or the ‘box of secrets’, seems to start with Diana’s butler, Paul Burrell. He was found by police outside her apartment in the middle of the night, shortly after her death, loading some of her dresses and a large mahogany box into his car. Later, at the request of Diana’s sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, police raided Burrell’s home to search for the mahogany box and its contents. Not finding it, they arrested Burrell for theft of Diana’s belongings and, in 2002, he was tried.
The box was reportedly Diana’s ‘insurance’ in case the Royal Family tried to have her killed. Since we already know from a letter Diana wrote that she believed Charles was planning to have her killed (in a car crash, no less), it’s actually no surprise that she’d keep a box of evidence capable of finishing Britain’s monarchy.
So what was in the box?
It was said that the box contained “nasty” letters to Diana from Prince Philip, a signet ring belonging to her former lover James Hewitt, and photographs of Prince Charles romping naked with a male lover. In addition, there was supposedly a bunch of highly incriminating audio recordings, one of which was an interview Diana did with Charles’ footman, George Smith, alleging he’d been raped by a senior member of the royal household, Michael Fawcett.
Conspiracy theorists also believe that the box contained a ‘smoking gun’ video. Author and former Daily Mail journalist David Gardner says that according to an unnamed close friend of Diana’s, a sympathetic British spy tipped Diana off that a rogue team of MI6 agents were after her. Diana made a video about the tip-off and hid it in the mahogany box with the rest of her ‘insurance’.
Burrell denied stealing Diana’s box of secrets and said that he had been given permission to take some of Diana’s belongings for safe keeping. This is where things get really murky.
According to Lady Sarah, she and Burrell found the key to the mahogany box hidden inside a tennis racket cover. They opened it together and discovered “highly sensitive” material. Then Lady Sarah asked Burrell to take the box and its contents home and keep them safe. She stated that she never saw the box or the contents again despite repeated requests that Burrell return them to her.
However, the police officer who saw Burrell putting the mahogany box in his car said the Burrell told him he’d been asked to “destroy” some of Diana’s belongings, and to do so “discreetly”. Burrell later claimed during his trial that a bunch of documents were taken to the Spencer family home in Althorp, where they are hidden.
There are further conflicting accounts. According to police officer Roger Milburn, the mahogany box itself had been returned to Lady Sarah, minus the items, and she had shown him the empty box. This is despite her saying later that she never saw the box again and the fact that no one, to this day, seems to know where the box is.
The Queen’s warning
Then, in came the Queen. She revealed to the authorities that she had given Burrell permission to take Diana’s belongings in order to, Burrell later said, “keep safe her secrets”. This happened during a meeting between the two of them at Buckingham Palace shortly after the princess’s death. Following the Queen’s revelation, a public interest immunity certificate was presented by the Crown Prosecution Service, forbidding any further information from being disclosed, and the trial dramatically collapsed.
Burrell told newspapers that the Queen had given him an ominous warning during their meeting: “There are powers at work in this country about which we have no knowledge”. He claimed to have no idea who she was talking about.
The accounts are hazy and conflicting and full of gaps, but here’s my theory: Burrell did destroy the contents of the mahogany box, with full approval from the Queen, in order to protect the reputation of the Establishment—and himself. If the Queen was warning him about “powers at work”, perhaps that’s because he knew about the mahogany box and had made himself a target. So Burrell destroyed the evidence.
The question remains, who are the “powers at work”? And did those powers have Diana offed because she was threatening to unveil her box of secrets and do serious damage to reputation of the Royals?
It’s all very intriguing. I actually incorporated the Queen’s warning to Burrell into Million Eyes, my new sci-fi conspiracy thriller novel. In Million Eyes, the “powers at work” are something else entirely: a global conglomerate using computers and smartphones as a smokescreen for time travel, and who are secretly responsible for Diana’s death.
If you’re interested in a fun, sci-fi take on the Diana conspiracy theories, Million Eyes could be up your alley. It’s available now as a paperback from Amazon and all good bookshops and direct from Elsewhen Press’s website. It’s also available as an ebook from all popular platforms.
Next month: Who stole JFK’s brain?