Butler: Diana death plot 'a fantasy'
Princess Diana's former butler has again rubbished claims that she and Dodi Fayed were murdered by "the establishment." Mohammed Al Fayed has long claimed that Diana and his son were murdered on the behest of Britain's Royal Family -- specifically the queen's husband, Prince Philip -- because they disapproved of the relationship.
But her former butler Paul Burrell on Wednesday labeled that conclusion "a fantasy" as he testified for the third day at the inquest into the deaths of the duo, who died in a Paris car crash on August 31, 1997.
Burrell also said that he knew Diana would not get engaged to Fayed, though he admitted not knowing Fayed had bought a second ring for the princess.
"I knew she would not get engaged," Burrell told the inquest.
Burrell had already testified that he spoke to Diana shortly before her death about the possibility that Fayed would give her a ring.
The butler said he suggested to the princess that she wear it on the fourth finger of her right hand, rather than the left, as is customary with engagement rings.
He said Diana was pleased with the idea because she did not want to get engaged to Fayed.
Wednesday, a lawyer for Fayed's father, Mohamed Al Fayed, told
Burrell that Fayed obtained a second ring for Diana. Burrell said he
didn't know about that ring.
Burrell continued to insist the princess had not been serious with Fayed.
In one of his last conversations with Diana, Burrell said, the princess
told him she looked forward to coming home from her Mediterranean
sailing vacation with Fayed because it was scorching hot on the deck
and freezing downstairs.
Burrell said he believed Diana was referring to her relationship with Fayed.
also testified that tabloid pictures of Diana and Fayed on vacation in
August 1997 were the princess's way of sending a message to former
boyfriend Hasnat Khan that she had moved on.
Diana and Khan, a
heart surgeon, secretly dated for 18 months until July 1997, shortly
before the princess went on vacation with Fayed. Burrell had already
testified that Diana was still "burning a candle" for Khan when she
Burrell told the court Wednesday that Diana "let" the pictures of
her and Fayed be published in order to send a message to "a certain man
in England" -- a reference to Khan.
The relationship between Diana and Fayed
only became public after a paparazzi photographer snapped a picture of
them kissing on Fayed's boat in the Mediterranean. The publication of
"The Kiss" on August 4, 1997 set off a frenzy of media interest in the