French police concluded it was an accident -- the car crash on Aug. 31, 1997 in Paris that took the lives of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayad -- but nearly 11 years later a jury in London will soon deliberate as to whether the fatal crash really was an accident or conspiracy as Fayad's father maintains.
Mohamed Al Fayed has not budged from claiming that his son and the princess died at the hands of British security agents, acting at Prince Philip's behest. Al Fayed believes the Establishment simply didn't want Diana to marry his son, a Muslim.
More than 240 witnesses have testified since the inquest began on Oct. 2, including Diana's close friends and former butler, Philip's private secretary and a former head of the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. Al Fayed's late bid to force the coroner to summon Philip to testify, and for written questions to be put to the queen, was summarily rejected by a higher court.
There has been evidence that Diana feared dying in a car crash, but that she also had speculated about death in a helicopter or airplane crash; there was testimony that she feared Philip.
But there was precious little evidence to back up Al Fayad's claims that his son and Diana were engaged, that she was pregnant and that Philip was at the head of a murder plot.
When he testified on Feb. 18, Al Fayed affirmed his belief that the conspirators included Prince Philip; Diana's ex-husband, Prince Charles; Tony Blair, who was prime minister when she died; Diana's sister, Sarah McCorquodale; her brother-in-law, Robert Fellowes; two former chiefs of London police; driver Paul; the CIA; Diana's attorney, the late Lord Mishcon; two French toxicologists; Britain's ambassador to France; members of the French medical service; and three bodyguards Al Fayed once employed.
Al Fayed was the only witness to claim Diana was engaged to his son. He was told of the engagement, Al Fayed said, in a telephone call hours before the crash. He alone definitively asserted that Diana was pregnant. The pathologist who examined her body said he saw no evidence, and others testified she was conscientious about taking her birth control pills.
So where was the proof? Al Fayed was asked.
"How can you want me to get the proof?" he said. "I am facing a steel wall of the security service, Official Secrets Act."
The coroner asked Al Fayed if he could possibly be wrong.
"No way, 100 percent," Al Fayed said. "I am certain. I am the father who lost his son. And I know exactly the situations. I know exactly the facts."