Sixteen years after the tragic deaths of Princess Diana and her companion Dodi al-Fayed in an automobile crash in Paris (and myriad conspiracy theories behind the episode), Britain’s Scotland Yard has stated that they are re-examining the incident based on new information, raising speculation that the original determination of an alcohol-related traffic accident may have been inaccurate.
"The Metropolitan Police Service is scoping information that has recently been received in relation to the deaths and assessing its relevance and credibility," Scotland Yard said in a statement, without revealing the nature of the new evidence.
Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that the “new information” to be examined by police is connected to accusations that Diana was murdered by a member of the Britain’s Special Air Service (SAS), a regiment of the British Army. Reportedly, relatives of the SAS soldier came forth with the revelations to the Royal Military Police, who, in turn, informed Scotland Yard.
A joint British-French probe conducted in 2007-2008 determined that the driver of Diana and Dodi’s ill-fated car, Henri Paul (who also died in the crash) had been drinking and was culpable of "grossly negligent driving." The investigation also cited the hordes of paparazzi chasing the car, which made it more difficult for Paul to drive properly. These findings failed to satisfy many conspiracy theorists who alleged a cover-up by authorities.
The motives behind Diana’s alleged killing would include, among other things, her relationship with a Muslim (the Egyptian, Fayed), which could have potentially led to a Muslim half-brother for William, the future king of England; as well as threats Diana made about revealing embarrassing personal details about her former husband, Prince Charles.
Dodi Fayed’s father, Mohamed, the tycoon and hotel magnate, has long maintained that the British Royal Family, in league with UK intelligence, conspired to kill his son and Diana. A spokeswoman for Mohammed al-Fayed recently told ABC News that her client has no comment, but that “he trusts that [the police] investigation will be thorough and awaits the outcome with interest." Not surprisingly, Buckingham Palace has refrained from making any statements on the new developments.
However, there is one significant name missing from all the intrigue surrounding Diana’s spectacular death – and that is another Muslim man, a Pakistani heart surgeon named Hasnat Khan, who may have been the true love of Diana’s life. A new film called “Diana, Her Last Love,” starring the Australian actress Naomi Watts may shed some light on her two-year doomed romance with Khan, which took place during the final years of her life. British-Indian actor Naveen Andrews will play Khan.
The Daily Mail reported that the film will have to rely on conjecture since little is known about the secret relationship between the princess and the Pakistani physician (Khan, who is still alive, has said little about his involvement with Diana). Still, the film’s producer Robert Bernstein claimed that Khan gave him ”implicit approval” for the project, although Khan did not personally meet with any of the actors involved in the movie.
“Kate Snell [who wrote the book on which the screenplay is based] has met Hasnat two or three times and they got on very well,” Bernstein told the Mail. “He trusted her to the extent that he allowed her to meet his family and his friends, and it’s through that relationship that we were able to move forward. We’re confident there is a tacit acceptance from his family and Hasnat that what we are doing is OK.”
According to various reports, Diana met Khan at the Royal Brompton Hospital London in 1995 (one year before her divorce from Prince Charles was finalized) and their relationship blossomed to the point that they even discussed marriage. Diana reportedly visited Khan’s family in Lahore, Pakistan sometime in 1996.
The film’s screenwriter, Stephen Jeffreys, told the Mail that Diana and Khan ended their relationship because they realized they could never live a normal life. “I think Diana was very attracted to Hasnat because of what he did,” he said. “He had wonderful surgeon’s hands and eyes and she was tremendously excited to be near someone who was doing good work. However, in order to do that good work he couldn’t possibly be in the eye of a media storm.” Jeffreys added: “I think that it was a relationship, which I’m sure we’ve all experienced, where you go on longer with it than rationally you should.”
For the record, Khan, now 54 years old, later returned to Pakistan and married and divorced a younger woman, and has always felt that Diana’s death was indeed the result of an accident, eschewing conspiracy theories. He also attended her funeral ceremony at Westminster Abbey in 1997.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.