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British newspaper names Charles as Diana suspect
Shyam Bhatia in London | January 06, 2004 18:27 IST
A British national daily has named Prince Charles as the senior member of the Royal family who Diana, Princess of Wales, believed was plotting to kill her in a car crash.
The Daily Mirror said the allegation was made in a letter written by Diana 10 months before she died in a Paris car crash in 1997.
The letter was published in a book by her former butler, Paul Burrell, last year. But the name was blanked out by both the publishers and the newspaper which serialised the book.
The sentence with the blanked out name reads: "________ is planning 'an accident' in my car, brake failure and serious head injury..."
The Daily Mirror's decision to publish the name "because it will inevitably appear in the public domain" is cause for concern for the British royals. A close friend of the Prince has been quoted as saying, "It is risible and deeply hurtful. I am sure nobody really believes this preposterous claim."
Dodi's father, Mohamed Fayed, has waited more than six years for the first official public hearing in Britain into the deaths of the couple in the Pont d'Alma underpass in Paris.
The inquests will be formally opened on Tuesday before being adjourned for the full hearings later this year.
Both Diana, 36, and 42-year-old Dodi, were killed along with chauffeur Henri Paul when their Mercedes crashed in a tunnel on August 31, 1997.
French Judge Herve Stephan who headed the subsequent investigation blamed Paul for losing control of the car while high on liquor and drugs and driving too fast.
The only survivor, Diana's bodyguard, Trevor Rees Jones, remembers nothing of the crash.
At Tuesday's hearings the coroner will confirm the identity of the deceased and how, when and where they were killed.
A spokeswoman for the British royal family said: "The Prince of Wales and both Princes William and Harry are very pleased that the inquest is finally under way."