UK police interview Prince Charles in Diana probe

  • World
  • Sunday, 11 Dec 2005

By Michael Holden

LONDON, Dec 11 (Reuters) - A senior British detective has interviewed Prince Charles as part of an inquiry into the death of his former wife Princess Diana, the heir to the throne's office said on Sunday. 

John Stevens, the former head of London's police force, questioned Charles as part of his probe into circumstances surrounding Diana's death in a high-speed car crash in Paris in 1997. 

Prince Charles seen talking to children during the official opening ceremony of the Sunniberg bridge, a bypass road in Klosters, Switzerland, in this December 9, 2005 file photo. (REUTERS/Ruben Sprich)

"I am happy to confirm that the Prince of Wales met with Lord Stevens as part of his inquiry," a spokeswoman for Prince Charles told Reuters. 

The Sunday Times newspaper said the meeting took place at the prince's London home, Clarence House, and lasted for several hours. 

Britain's Royal Coroner Michael Burgess asked Stevens to examine allegations that Diana's death was not an accident as part of an official inquest. 

Diana, whose marriage to Charles broke down in 1992 and later ended in divorce, was killed along with her lover Dodi al Fayed and their driver Henri Paul in the crash in a Paris road tunnel. 

A French inquiry in 1999 ruled that the accident was caused by Paul being drunk and driving too fast. 

Allegations and conspiracy theories have emerged in the aftermath and Burgess said he wanted the inquest to put an end to the speculation. 

On the day the inquest began in January 2004, reports said that Diana had written a letter to her former butler Paul Burrell 10 months before her death in which she said she suspected Charles was trying to kill her. 

"This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous," the letter said, according to excerpts leaked to the British media. "My husband is planning 'an accident' in my car, brake failure and serious head injury." 

Royal commentators said the letter raised questions about Diana's state of mind and in fact reduced the credibility of any of the allegations aimed at Charles. 

Dodi's father, Mohamed al Fayed, owner of exclusive London store Harrods, has said he believes his son and Diana were murdered by British secret services because their relationship was embarrassing the royal household. 

He has called for a full public inquiry saying the inquest investigation would not be thorough enough. 

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