Saturday, October 9, 2010

DEATH OF A PRINCESS






"THE INVESTIGATOR," SANTA BARBARA NEWS-PRESS, 30 AUGUST 2008

Everyone remembers where they were the moment they learned President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The same holds true for Britain's Princess Diana, killed in a Paris car crash at the tender age of 36, eleven years ago this weekend.

A French judicial investigation, London Metropolitan Police inquiry and, earlier this year, a British inquest, concluded that the crash was an accident. But, as with JFK, conspiracy theories persist.

The British Royal Family was greatly alarmed by the antics of Diana even while she was still married to Charles, Prince of Wales.

The popular young princess enjoyed a slew of extra-marital affairs, some with married men.

When she became obsessed with the married Oliver Hoare, and he cut himself off from her (on "advice" from Buckingham Palace), Diana plagued him with more than 300 late-night obscene telephone calls. Another married lover, Royal Protection Squad bodyguard Barry Mannakee, was killed in a motorcycle accident that Diana always believed had been staged by others--or, in her words, "he was bumped off, so there we are."

After her divorce, the mischievous Diana stuck it to the royals at every opportunity--and with media clamoring around her every move, the opportunities were endless. So a great measure of outrage existed behind royal gates about the troubled and troublesome princess. (All King Henry II had to say out loud about Thomas Becket was, "Will someone rid me of this meddlesome priest?" Six Knights of the realm were delighted to oblige.)

Offered the continued services of a bodyguard, Diana declined--because she suspected a component of any bodyguard's mission would be to report her comings and goings and consorts to the Buck House bureaucrats.

Before her divorce, Diana never had shown the slightest interest in men who were not white Anglo-Saxons; but soon after she began relationships with men of other ethnicity: A Pakistani heart surgeon (Hasnat Khan, said to be her "one true love") and an Egyptian do-nothing, cocaine-snorting playboy who left a trail of bad debt wherever he went and who was under investigation by the IRS at the time of his death with Diana.

That would be Dodi Fayed, eldest son of Mohamed Al-Fayed (the "Al" is a royal prefix, an affectation Mohamed bestowed upon himself to disguise his humble origins as the son of an Egyptian carpenter). Mohamed had tried to buy his way into the British establishment by purchasing Harrods, the up-market London department store and trying to bribe several British Members of Parliament for influence.

The powers-that-be, already onto Fayed's crafty ways, watched in horror as Diana and Dodi vacationed aboard his yacht in the Mediterranean. Driven by dad, Dodi moved in on Diana, while an American model named Kelly Fisher, to whom Dodi was engaged at the time, was danced out of the diagram.

They watched Mohamed play Cupid. Fayed knew that the only thing his son was any good at was charming the pants off women. Dodi was, quite literally, a professional woman charmer. As a teen, Dodi was a cad cadet; at 21 he became a career cad.

Mohamed was thrilled. If Dodi married Diana, he would become stepfather-in-law to the future King of England and truly stick it to the establishment. Mohamed even planned to gift the newlyweds with an estate he'd bought a few years earlier: Le Bois, the late Duke of Windsor's digs in Paris.

Add to this equation the Fayeds' Islamic faith, and it looked to some observers a most unholy matrimony.

The Paris paparazzi, perhaps the most notorious in the world for daredevil antics, could be exploited. (Despite France's stringent privacy laws, it is ironic that the French legal system permits homegrown paparazzi immense flexibility to intrude upon the privacy of visiting foreigners--so long as their intrusive photographs are printed outside of France.)

Using paparazzi as cover, an assassin--perhaps representing an entity wishing to embarrass the British powers-that-be, whom everyone would blame--would have inserted himself among the mob of motorcycle photographers. The assassin would have been equipped with an AL-22 flashbulb, which, with its 110,000 luminems (candle-power), produces a flash so bright, it renders a victim temporarily blind for at least twenty seconds. (Not designed for photography, the AL-22 was once commercially available as a home defense weapon.)

After nine hours of paparazzi harassment, Dodi was fed up and eager to manifest his manhood. "Step on it!" he ordered his driver, Henri Paul, after departing the elegant Hotel Ritz, owned by daddy.

Paul hit the pedal, gunning their Mercedes to over sixty miles an hour as he approached the Pont d'Alma tunnel. Ahead of him, a motorcyclist would have discharged his blinding flashbulb. (It would have been a boon to such an assassin that Paul had been boozing before Fayed designated him to drive.)

The media quickly rose to the occasion as the summer ended with a bang--one with a resounding echo.

Newspapers would sell so many copies in the two weeks following that circulation records would be broken and newsprint mills cleaned out.

Diana's charities would reap more donations in four weeks than the previous four years.

The world would have a good cathartic cry--Britain, mass mourning.

The Monarchy would suffer a blow with its sensitivity publicly questioned. But in the long term, it would rise from the quagmire into which it had fallen even before Diana's death, if only because its future king--William--is saintly Diana's son.

Nicholas Davies, author of numerous books about Diana, told The Investigator, "Despite the official inquest, there are a number of questions that have not been satisfactorily answered, and they probably never will be."