Here we go again. Scotland Yard has revived the old phantoms of conspiracy with the announcement that it is looking into new claims that Lady Diana and her lover, Dodi Fayed, were victims of an assassination. According to a new book by Alan Power, The Princess Diana Conspiracy, the latest allegations of murder most foul spring from the trial of one Sgt. Danny Nightingale, an SAS sniper convicted of possessing illegal weapons. The estranged parents-in-law of a witness against Nightingale, “Soldier N,” claimed he had told his wife that an SAS unit called The Increment had contrived to make Diana’s chauffeur crash into the 13th pillar of Paris’s Pont de l’Alma Tunnel on August 31, 1997, by disguising a secret service agent as a paparazzo to shine a strobe light into the driver’s eyes.

This is old potatoes indeed, but Scotland Yard is taking it seriously enough to announce an investigation. And perhaps the most interesting aspect is that this time the allegations have not come from Dodi’s crazed, vengeful father, Mohamed Al Fayed, who spent 11 years accusing Prince Philip of ordering up the hit team to assassinate Diana to stop her from marrying a Muslim (by whom, he claimed, she was pregnant).

At one time in the frantic aftermath of the tragedy, there were not just thousands of feverish stories of high-level plots to cause Diana’s car to crash but 35,000 conspiracy sites, factories of fantasy. They were all blown out by the first of the French inquiries and then by the exhaustive official inquest in London in 2008.

I entered this alternate universe when I was researching my book The Diana Chronicles. I was most convinced by the three-year investigation rigorously conducted by Lord Stevens, former chief of the Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard) who reconstructed just what happened in the tunnel using 3-D lasers and computer models. They showed the chauffeur, Henri Paul, had lost control before he entered the tunnel at 75 miles an hour. The flash before the crash testimony was the invention of a pathological liar with a criminal record named François (Levistre) Levi.

There was incontrovertible toxicological evidence that Henri Paul was both drunk and on medication. His condition was deceptive. He did not appear drunk in any obvious weaving, slurring way. If he had been, any number of people would have stopped him from getting into the Mercedes as the last-minute recruit to drive Diana and Dodi. He appeared normal to most (though not all) of those who saw him that night, but the truth was that he had combined his drinks with pharmaceuticals—Prozac and Tiapride—whose labels carry warnings that taking them with alcohol can make driving or operating machinery dangerous.

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