Prince Harry ‘Intensely Focused’ on Researching Mom Diana’s Death for His Memoir

·9 min read
Anwar Hussein/Getty Images
Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

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Prince Harry “intensely focused” on Diana’s final hours

Prince Harry is reportedly researching the final hours of his mother Princess Diana’s life for his forthcoming memoir.

The Sun reports that “official judicial sources in Paris” have revealed that Harry’s researchers have been in touch, seeking information about the car crash in the Pont d’Alma, Paris, that killed Diana on August 31, 1997.

Prince Harry: Princess Diana's Death Left ‘a Gaping Hole’

One source, who was involved in the original crash investigation, told the Sun: “There have been approaches which suggest Prince Harry is intensely focused on getting more information about his mother’s death. There are plenty of people in France who recall the night of the accident. It’s only normal that Diana’s son should want to learn more about it for his book.”

The Sun said it had reached out to Harry for comment.

In the run-up to the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death, all eyes are returning to the car crash that killed her—and, inevitably, all the conflicting theories about what caused it, and her death. Was it, as the official 2008 verdict had it, a combination of the paparazzi in pursuit and negligent driving of chauffeur Henri Paul, or is there any merit to the many conspiracy theories that proliferated afterwards?

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>File photo dated 31 August 1997 shows wreckage of Princess Diana's car in the Alma Tunnel of Paris.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">PIERRE BOUSSEL/AFP via Getty Images</div>

File photo dated 31 August 1997 shows wreckage of Princess Diana's car in the Alma Tunnel of Paris.

PIERRE BOUSSEL/AFP via Getty Images

An ex-bodyguard of Princess Diana, Lee Sansum, tells the Sun that he and other guards had drawn straws to accompany bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones that day. (Rees-Jones, now 54, was the only survivor of the crash.)

“When I learned they were not wearing seatbelts in the crash I understood why they didn’t survive,” Sansum, nicknamed ‘Rambo’ by Diana, told the paper. “That shouldn’t have happened. It was standard practice for the family to wear seatbelts. It was an order sent down from the boss, Dodi’s dad Mohamed Al-Fayed. Dodi, in particular, hated wearing seatbelts and I always insisted on it.”

Sansum had acted as a bodyguard for Diana and Dodi in St. Tropez that summer. “She had been happy on that holiday,” Sansum told the Sun. “But I had seen her in tears too, when she learned of the murder of her friend, the fashion designer Gianni Versace. She confided in me her own fears that she might one day be assassinated. She asked if I thought his murder outside his home was a professional killing. I thought it was. Then she said something that always stayed with me —‘Do you think they’ll do that to me?’ She was shaking and it was clear from her tone that she really thought that they might, whoever ‘they’ might be.

“I spent some time reassuring her that no one was going to try to kill her and she was safe with us, but she definitely thought there was a risk that one day she might be assassinated.”

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Diana, Princess of Wales and son HRH Prince William are seen holidaying with Dodi Al Fayed (not pictured) in St Tropez in the summer of 1997.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Michel Dufour/WireImage</div>

Diana, Princess of Wales and son HRH Prince William are seen holidaying with Dodi Al Fayed (not pictured) in St Tropez in the summer of 1997.

Michel Dufour/WireImage

Diana also told Sansum she wanted to live with Dodi in America. “She didn’t want to, but that was the only place she felt people weren’t having a go at her. It was probably her way of keeping sane, to get some respite.”

Her plan had influenced Harry to live with Meghan in California, Sansum believes. “This trauma happened when the building blocks for life were being formulated. His mother saw America as a place of sanctuary. He will be drawing on his experiences from then.”

Sansum said one day in the U.K. on a counter-surveillance drive near the Al-Fayed home in Surrey he saw an ex-SAS colleague now working in the Special Reconnaissance Unit. “We were generally followed by MI5 but this was the first time we had seen a Special Forces guy. We thought, ‘They’ve upped their game’.

“A witness driving a car traveling in front of the Mercedes in Paris on the night of the crash told the inquest that he saw a high-powered motorbike overtake the car just seconds before the crash. Another witness traveling in the opposite direction saw a second motorbike swerve to avoid smoke and wreckage then carry on out of the tunnel without stopping. The riders of those bikes were never found—and that is no coincidence,” Sansum said.

“I believe that security officers following Diana, possibly British or a combined British–French team, may have either inadvertently caused the crash or were in close proximity to the car when it happened. If it was known that MI6 operatives were right by the Mercedes at the critical moment, a lot of people would have blamed them for it, and that would have been a huge scandal.”

Meanwhile, a new documentary, airing August 21 in the U.K., will analyze the circumstances of the crash anew. Henry Singer, executive producer of Investigating Diana: Death in Paris, told The Sun: “We hope it will lay to rest the conspiracy theories.” Officers from the French Brigade Criminelle and London’s Metropolitan Police will appear.

Subscribe here to get all the latest royal news and gossip with Tom Sykes and Tim Teeman.

Prince Andrew movie feeding frenzy

Prince Andrew, who accepted the perks of his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein even when Epstein had been convicted of a child sexual offense, who claims he never met Virginia Giuffre but paid her millions of dollars to settle her claims he raped her, is whining about plans to dramatize the incredible interview that finally exposed him as an arrogant fool.

Andrew’s camp is lobbying against plans to make not one but two films about the extraordinary Newsnight interview which saw him proclaim his real problem was being “too honorable” and inviting Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein to the queen’s country house for a “straightforward shooting weekend.”

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Prince Andrew attends a commemoration service at Manchester Cathedral in 2016.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Christopher Furlong/WPA Pool/Getty</div>

Prince Andrew attends a commemoration service at Manchester Cathedral in 2016.

Christopher Furlong/WPA Pool/Getty

Andrew appears to be miffed that people still want to talk about his demise, following the revelation that interviewer Emily Maitlis is working on a film of the interview she conducted. It has previously been revealed that producer Sam McAlister’s account of the interview is being made into a film called Scoop. The Sunday Times said that Maitlis, 51, is working on a “three-part miniseries for a leading streaming service.”

Royal sources tell the Sunday Times today that the projects amounted to a “feeding frenzy.”

A source close to the duke told the Times and The Daily Beast: “This latest exploitation for financial gain of a book and now a film of what was, and remains, a very difficult time for the family, is unwelcome. Not least as the account of events leading up to and around the interview appear to have elements of dramatic license.”

Is Andrew accusing other people of lying? Is Andrew really trying to suggest that it is, actually, the media who are to blame for the “very difficult time” endured by the queen and Andrew’s ex-wife and kids as a result of his own disgraceful conduct?

Prince William’s “powerful” advice on grief

When Prince William visited the home of Deborah James, an inspirational bowel cancer campaigner who died in June, he gave her children some “powerful advice” derived from his experience of losing his own mother.

In an interview with the Times, James’ husband, Sebastien Bowen, recalled William’s visit, which occurred before her death.

He said: “There was the time I opened the door to Prince William, who had come to give Deborah a damehood. He felt like a friend but he was the future king. That was bizarre. He was so relaxed; he came and sat down in the garden and had champagne with the family. Deborah had a glass of champagne, a glass of wine and a glass of sherry in front of her. She hadn’t been allowed a drink for months and the first thing William said was, ‘I’m glad to see you are triple parked.’ That was an immediate ice-breaker. He’s obviously been through similar grief with the loss of his mother so he gave powerful advice to the children that will stay with them for ever.”

He also recounted what happened when he received a phone call from the Prime Minister’s office telling him Deborah was to be made a dame.

“I had a call from Number 10 [Downing Street] the day before. They explained the formal way to tell her, and I was so nervous she thought something terrible must have happened. She looked at me and said, ‘I’m about to die. What else could possibly go wrong?’”

Yes, there really is an aristocratic DJ collective

Sarah Ferguson bought her new London apartment off an upper class DJ named Sebastian Macdonald-Hall who goes by the stage name of Sebastian MDH.

He is part of what the Times rather wonderfully describes as “an aristocratic DJ collective called Housekeeping” whose logo is “an image of a scantily-clad maid.” Another member is Jacobi Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe, brother of Cressida Bonas, Prince Harry’s former girlfriend, who trades under the name “Jacobi AGC”.

A neighbor told the Times: “Sebastian was a lovely guy, but we did have to speak to him a few times about the parties he threw that would go on all night.”

This week in royal history

Happy birthday to the Royalist’s favorite royal, Princess Anne. She turns 72 on August 15, and is a standout royal for any number of reasons, but mainly for just swimming against the tides of celebrity, fashion, and flashbulbs so resolutely for so many years. Is she unpleasant-rude, or don’t suffer-fools-gladly brisk? Who knows. But get out those “Naff off!” T-shirts to celebrate now.

Unanswered questions

Prepare for a wave of coverage of Diana’s car crash—and what caused it—as the 25th anniversary of her death approaches. The mystery of the queen’s health intensifies, as Buckingham Palace continues to manage as decorously as possible Her Majesty’s maladies and wellness.

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