Saturday, April 26, 2008

RECOVERED HISTORY: DIANA'S DEATH

DOMINICK DUNNE, VANITY FAIR - The more I hear and read and think about Diana's and Dodi's deaths in the Pont d'Alma tunnel, in Paris, on August 31, 1997, in what is possibly the world's most famous car crash, the more I doubt the truth of their great romance. If it was anything at all, it was a flirt, a fling, 'just one of those things,' as Cole Porter once wrote. Like the conspiracy theory surrounding their deaths, their romance, too, was orchestrated by Mohamed Al Fayed. The shrine to the eternal love of Dodi and Diana, in Harrods, the most famous of English department stores, owned by Al Fayed, is a popular tourist attraction. People line up to look at it. They speak in whispers, as if they were in church, instead of next to the Egyptian escalator in the basement of the store. . . They had been romantically involved with each other for less than a month. . .

Several friends of Diana's told me she was downhearted after the breakup of her romance with Hasnat Khan, the Pakistani surgeon, with whom she was still in love. They say Khan ended his serious relationship with Diana because, as a respected doctor, he could not stand the publicity that overwhelmed her life. (He told the inquest that Diana had broken up with him after she became involved with Dodi.) What is rarely mentioned, although it is well known, is the existence of a beautiful American model named Kelly Fisher, who wore on her left hand an enormous and very expensive engagement ring. She says her fiance had bought her a mansion in Malibu, where they would live after their marriage. She had tentatively set the date of August 9, 1997, for the wedding, nearly a month off. Her fiance was Dodi Al Fayed. The two were in Paris together on July 14, when Dodi was summoned by his father to join Princess Diana on the Jonikal, the yacht Mohamed Al Fayed had reportedly purchased for $20 million the day after the Princess accepted his invitation for a sailing trip with her sons, William and Harry. Kelly was left behind in Paris, though a few days later she was flown to St. Tropez and transported to another Al Fayed yacht. There she languished during the day while waiting for evening visits from Dodi.

Diana returned to the Jonikal in August. The fact that she came back for a second visit so soon really shows her loneliness more than it does a passion for Dodi. Her two sons were at Balmoral, one of the Queen's castles, with their father, Prince Charles, and their grandparents the Queen and Prince Philip, as was their August habit. Diana wasn't being invited around to the great English estates for long weekends. She had become too famous. It was too difficult to have her stay. Strangers gathered at the gates to get a glimpse of her. Helicopters hovered. She really had no place to go. The Jonikal invitations were perfect. A splendid yacht. A helicopter. A private plane. Guards to keep the paparazzi at bay. She probably knew that she was being used by a social climber for his and his son's advancement in London society, but in high society it was a fair deal. Each benefited. However, I think it is safe to say that Diana didn't know that Kelly Fisher was on another family yacht, waiting for furtive visits from Dodi, with whom she had been in a relationship for nearly a year. Diana had already played that scene in her marriage to Prince Charles. The guards assigned to Dodi and Diana by Mohamed Al Fayed must have known about Kelly. . .

On August 10, 1997, the paparazzi snapshot that became known as “The Kiss” appeared in the Sunday Mirror. The picture left no doubt that Dodi and Diana were romantically involved. Kelly was toast. She must have known that she was no match for the Princess of Wales, and she hotfooted it back to Hollywood, where she immediately hired the well-known Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred to file a breach-of-contract suit against Dodi. . . Gloria has written a soon-to-be-released book about her cases, entitled Fight Back and Win, which includes Kelly's lawsuit. As Allred writes, Kelly was standing there next to her, but she was too overcome with sadness and tears to speak: "Ms. Fisher is emotionally devastated and traumatized by Mr. Fayed's mistreatment of her. She is unable to speak to the press today because she breaks down in tears whenever she begins to relive what she has personally suffered." There's no question that they thought they had the case of the year, and that the sympathy and spotlight would shift to Kelly as the wronged woman. . .

Kelly even offered to meet with the Princess of Wales to tell her what Dodi was really like. The Princess did not reply to the invitation. And then, days later, the lovers were killed in the Alma tunnel. Kelly did the proper thing and withdrew her breach-of-contract lawsuit.

1 Comments:

At April 27, 2008 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Diana Spencer died in a stupid and avoidable accident, and that's sad--but this thing needed to be put to bed a long time ago, and would have been if it weren't for the continual, artificially-stimulated-by-the-mainstream-media appetites for 'news' about the rich, the decadent, the Eurotrash jet-set crowd, and celebrities famous for nothing more noteworthy than creating homemade porn on their cell phones. If anyone is truly interested in investigating a 'conspiracy', they'd put their energies to better use by investigating the conspiracy among news outlets to keep the public ignorant of stories and facts germane to their real existences, interests and needs, as opposed to brain popcorn centering around the latest Dubious Achievers of the moment. That would make for a truly worthy piece of investigative journalism, in contradistinction to the 'investigations' of a non-existant cabal surrounding a vacuous young woman's unfortunate but accidental death. And I'm not holding my breath waiting to ever see it in print, either, sorry to say.

 

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