Diana Death Anniversary Passes Quietly

Red roses are placed near a photograph of Diana, Princess of Wales, on the gates of her former home Kensington Palace, in London,Thursday Aug. 31, 2006. Ardent admirers of Princess Diana laid flowers at the gates of her former home on Thursday, the ninth anniversary of her death in a car crash. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) 9th anniversary of the death of the princess, who died following a car crash in Paris. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
There were no big media tributes, no formal memorial ceremonies this year to mark the ninth anniversary of the death of Diana, Britain's Princess of Wales and Prince Charles' ex-wife, reports CBS News correspondent Vicki Barker.

A few of Princess Diana's most devoted fans laid flowers at the gates of Kensington Palace, Diana's last home. Her sons William and Harry mourned in private.

However, for most Brits, says Barker, life has moved on. It seems memories of their fairy-tale princess are fading.

Nine years ago, Princess Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed walked into the Ritz Hotel in Paris, their romance that summer's hot story.

It was the beginning of the last evening of their lives, reports CBS News correspondent Sheila MacVicar.

Minutes later, their car crashed in the Pont d'Alma Tunnel. Fayed and driver Henri Paul were dead. Diana would die soon afterward.

French police found that Paul was drunk and lost control of the car.

For many, the idea that the most photographed woman in the world, could have died at the hands of a drunk driver was beyond belief.

"The truth is that people will believe what they want to believe and there will always be those that believe for their own reasons that Diana was murdered," says royal-watcher Robert Jobson.

Millions of dollars and years of work later, British investigators are writing a report they hope will put an end to the rumors.

"The truth will not be that this was a Saturday night accident caused by alcohol and speed," former Fayed family spokesman Michael Cole told CBS News.

Since that night, the Fayed family has fanned conspiracy theories and the press has presented a collection of lurid tales, ranging from secret pregnancies to bizarre assassination plots.

"There were malevolent forces conspiring against Diana and Dodi. People knew they were intent on getting married," said Cole.

"Maybe (Dodi's father, Mohamad al Fayed, the owner of the Harrods department store) is finding it very difficult, as any father would, to deal with the death of his son and the fact that actually everybody associated with this death was connected with him and was under his direct control," said Jobson.

Conspiracy theorists have alleged the blood tests which proved Paul drunk were switched. French investigators insist they can prove the blood was his.

"There is not one shred of credible evidence that indicates that Diana died as a result of a conspiracy, that she was assassinated. All the evidence shows it was an accident," said author Martyn Gregory.

As for the rumors of pregnancy and impending marriage, Gregory points to the results of the British autopsy and the words of the pathologist.

"We know from her evidence of the autopsy that Diana was not pregnant, she wasn't going to get married," Gregory said.

Sources close to the British investigation tell CBS News that investigators will almost certainly find, as the French did, that Henri Paul was drunk that night, and that Diana would most likely have lived had she been wearing a seat belt.