x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

An old story revived

The world is still fascinated with Diana, Princess of Wales. But it would be a mistake to accept any new conspiracy claims at face value until there's real proof.

Diana, Princess of Wales, is in the news again, almost 16 years after her death. Police are again looking into the circumstances of the car crash that killed Lady Diana and Dodi Al Fayed in that Paris tunnel on August 31, 1997.

Vague reports about a British soldier who told his relatives something important have been more than enough to revive yet again this hardy perennial in the garden of conspiracy theories. It's mid-August, after all, and from Moscow to Mumbai, from Caracas to Calgary, newsmakers across the northern hemisphere are on holiday. The story is unmistakably a boon to the media, if no one else.

Still, you can't blame news outlets for jumping on the report. Diana, with her beauty, position and unhappiness, was perhaps the world's best-known person of her time, and among the most beloved. From her engagement at age 19 to her death at 36, she was constantly in the unwavering spotlight of publicity. Naturally her sudden shocking demise led - and is still leading - to all sorts of speculation.

This report must be investigated, of course. But conspiracy theories are generally castles with no foundations: people who believe in conspiracies don't understand how hard it is to organise even the simplest event.