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Princess Diana the Undead

Over a decade after the death of Princess Diana, the wretched woman is not being allowed to lie unmolested in her grave. Too many people have an interest in the mouldering corpse; too many people are making a buck from her memory. The tabloid Daily Express has become the object of mockery for its obsession with the dead princess — in just six months during 2006, a Guardian researcher tallied 36 front covers devoted to her, or nearly one every three days, nine years after her death — but it’s common knowledge that the paper shifts more copies on those days, so whose fault is that?

We know what happened on 31st August 1997, and there is no need to rehash the grisly details. The facts are in the public domain and not contested by serious people. Yet Court 37 of the Royal Courts of Justice is currently playing host, at the behest of Dodi Al-Fayed’s father, to a macabre legal pantomime. Mohammed Fayed (the prefix to his surname, “Al-”, is an affectation, adopted when he came to Britain in 1974, that is perhaps meant to sound like an Arabic analogue of the European aristocratic form “de” or “von”) is one of the few who doesn’t buy the official version of events. Fayed was giving evidence today, and averred that the “racist Nazi” Prince Philip, true head of the “Dracula family” on the British throne, was behind the plot to murder Diana and Dodi. "It's time to send him back to Germany from where he comes. You want to know his original name – it ends with Frankenstein," said the "phony Pharaoh," mixing his Gothic horror stories as no true English gentleman ever would. But this is only the latest element in the knockabout farce we have witnessed recently.

In the name of “justice,” we have been subjected in recent weeks to accounts of Diana’s menstrual cycle and her choice of contraception, shown her love letters, and given a blow-by-blow account of who the protagonists were shagging in the last weeks of their lives. And all this because Fayed refuses to let the couple rest in peace. After two major police investigations, there is no need to prolong the indignity, and yet that is what is happening, and our much-trumpeted system of justice is increasingly resembling a punchline. I never cared for Diana in life, considering her an unstable basket-case whose pathetic quest for validation led her into the arms of a whole string of ridiculously unsuitable men. But it was obvious to even the most uncritical eye that Diana was more victim than anything else, long before fate caught up with her. Once again, a car crash is playing itself out in full view of the world’s media – not to mention the dead woman’s children – and this time the conspiracy is very real. News magnates, lawyers, loony conspiracy theorists and the viewing public all keep the story alive years after it should have been quietly, and sadly, euthanized.

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