The Diana Inquiry: Truth But Not As We Know It

me I’ve had it with this Diana lark, I can tell you. Sure, she died a horrible death in a horrible car crash in a horrible tunnel in horrible Paris ten years ago and the exact circumstances of her demise have never been made public. For all I know it could have been murder on the instructions of the Duke of Edinburgh, or driver Henri Paul being blinded by  the flash of a paparazzo’s camera, or maybe he was dead drunk at the wheel. Whatever. End result: Diana dead, Dodi Fayed dead, Henri Paul dead.

Not that I’m satisfied with the slick, cut-and-dried accounts of events, as handed to us by French officialdom. Officialdom has a tendency to try and steady ships that shouldn’t be steadied. So many questions have, until now, remained unanswered and so unaddressed have been Diana’s own repeated suspicions that there was dirty work afoot that there seems to be a really good case for doubt. And where there’s doubt there’s a conspiracy theory. The question today is: will the British judicial inquiry that is now in progress, bring us an inch closer to the truth? Don’t you believe it. Largely undertaken because a grief-stricken father, Mohammed Al-Fayed, keeps raking things up, its final verdict is already carved in stone: Diana and her co-victims died in a tragic accident, with no evidence whatsoever of any foul play and that will be the end of the matter.

Not that I’m happy about that. I had a high regard for Diana, many notches higher than my regard for the wimp she married and the family of overpaid Spitting Image puppets she married into. I confess to shedding a tear for this unfortunate girl when Elton John sang ‘Candle in the Wind’ at her funeral and a young Tony Blair called her ‘the people’s princess’, making us all believe -albeit briefly- that he brought a bit more to his job than hypocrisy and naked self-interest. Even today I have to swallow a lump when I see footage of Diana actually touching an AIDS patient or, through some magic that she possessed, drawing uproarious laughter from African children who, judging from their lack of usable limbs, had very little to laugh about. For that I happily forgave her her occasional lapses into self-pity and her use of the media to get across points she would have been better advised to make directly to the people involved, like Charles and Camilla. (Did she ever even consider going up to the current Duchess of Cornwall to call her an adulterous dog-breathed old cow and threaten to scratch her eyes out? I think, in her position, I would have.) In the end, of course, she fought fire with fire and became pretty adulterous herself, but by that time right was so firmly on her side that it hardly seemed to matter.

So now, to give the definitive whitewash a semblance of serious inquiry, eleven jury members have been flown to Paris to view, with their own eyes, the historic sites where it all happened. I assume that the underlying thought is that it will help them form a clearer view of what really took place. Well good luck to them. Ten years on, the Alma underpass look just like..eh….well….an underpass. X marks the spot where the Mercedes careered into the wall. Wow. Oh and get a load of this ladies and gentlemen of the jury: this is the exact Ritz Hotel elevator that Diana and Dodi travelled down in on that fateful night. Did she press the button herself? Of course not, she was a bloody princess for Christ’s sake. Call me cynical, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the six women and five men have been served the same Foie Gras d’Oie Avec Sa Gelée de Groseilles et Son Verre de Mombazillac that Diana tucked into on the night of her death, just for some added verisimilitude.

The really funny thing is that whatever verdict the inquiry comes up with will not be the truth of ten years ago or even the truth of today. But -and this is how it usually goes- fifty years into the future it will be the only truth we know and, mark my words, the only truth we have ever known.

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