The assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas fifty years ago was to spark a vast range of conspiracy theories, which were to fan out into much wider territory. Our friend the late Roger Sandell was a student of these for many years, and next year I will be transferring, all going well, his vast collection of books and other material on the subject, that I inherited and added to, on to Archives for the Unexplained in Sweden.
Unlike the United States, Britain had not been very fertile territory for conspiracy theories, not least because of our notorious libel laws, and the British judiciary whose decisions increasingly threaten the right of freedom of speech not just here but across the world.
In many ways the death of Princess Diana was the British equivalent of the assassination of President Kennedy as a mythic event, but there have been far fewer conspiracy theories about her death than his. One reason for that of course, is that the death of Diana had no impact on the real world of public policy and events. Nothing in the real world would have changed had she lived.
There is another interesting difference. Most of the Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories come from the left of the political spectrum, Diana conspiracy theories tend to come from the Right, most notably from the far right UKIP-supporting Daily Express. This book follows in the same pattern, the author being a former Conservative candidate who seems to have got a load of grievances over a business failure. I assume that this is because most on the Left loath the Fayeds, the chief promoters of these conspiracy stories, more than they loath Charlie Windsor.
Now I don’t know for certain whether Dodi and Diana were murdered or not, the Fayed family had certainly made a wide range of dangerous enemies, not least the former Duvalier regime in Haiti, any one of whom might have had a pot shot. Nor would I be entirely be surprised that someone in British intelligence had spiked Henri Paul’s drink with the intention of making an anonymous call to the police and getting the car stopped so they could have a means of discrediting Dodi in Diana’s eyes.
That is however a long way from the central conspiracy theory in this book which, if you can make sense of it; seems to be along the lines that Nicholas Soames MP, then a junior Defence Minister, ordered the murder of Princess Diana on the instigation of the Duke of Edinburgh, (behind the back of then PM John Major?), and this was confirmed/covered-up by Tony Blair after the change of government in 1997. Later on, as part of the cover up,+ MI6 murdered Robin Cook, the former foreign secretary.
The trouble with these sorts of conspiracy theories is that they make no sense. Actually Diana dead was a good deal more dangerous to the Royal Family than a live Diana in an unpopular relationship with the scandal-ridden Fayed family. Does anyone think that any politician would risk their political career, liberty and the destruction of their party to save the reputation of Charlie Windsor? In fact the establishment in general would have been quite glad of an excuse to get rid of the dangerously 'Greeny' Charlie from the line of succession. And for what rational reason would the French authorities cooperate with this, and why on earth would any British government put itself in the position of any future British government being open to blackmail by any future French government, and does anyone think that such a thing could be hidden from any of the world’s intelligence services?
There also seems to be some sort of feud between conspiracy theorists going on here, with the publication of a book rebutting Power's theories, which I have not read.- Peter Rogerson