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Diana Inquest, And A Bevy Of Conspiracies

This image made available Thursday Oct. 4, 2007, from evidence presented at the inquest into the death of Diana Princes of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed is made from CCTV footage showing Diana with Fayed, rear right, with driver Henri Paul, foreground right, and bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones in the lift at the Ritz Hotel in Paris shortly before Diana, Fayed and Paul died in Paris on August 31, 1997.
AP Photo/H.M. Coroner, HO
CBS News correspondent Sheila MacVicar reports from London.

This summer, on the tenth anniversary of her death, the massed ranks of the royal family came together to listen to her son Prince Harry's tribute.

"She made us, and so many other people, happy," he said of Diana.

… and to almost certainly quietly agree with this heartfelt plea from the Bishop of London, that Diana finally be allowed to fade from public memory: "Let it end here. Let this service mark the point at which we let her rest in peace and dwell on her memory with thanksgiving and compassion."

This past week, the royal family could be forgiven for thinking that those words were spoken too soon. The long-delayed inquest into the causes of the deaths of the princess and her boyfriend Dodi Fayad opened at the High Courts. Two police investigations (one French, one British) have concluded their driver Henri Paul was drunk and speeding when he crashed in a Paris tunnel. The jury has been told to set aside everything they have ever heard about that crash and listen to the evidence.

Listening to the evidence means forensically testing the conspiracy theories that have become pervasive since the couple died: That she was pregnant, they were engaged, and then assassinated by British intelligence agents as threats to the crown.

Mohammed Al Fayad, father of Dodi, could be called "conspiracist-in-chief."

"I am a father who lost his son. I am fighting for ten years. At last we are going to have a jury from ordinary people and I hope to reach the decision which I believe that my son and Princess Diana have been murdered, by the royal family."

In his opening remarks, the judge showed a picture to the jury of Di in a bathing suit. Some have suggested a tummy bulge was evidence of pregnancy. The problem with that, said the judge, is that the picture was taken before she met Dodi.

Even more intimately, he added, she was on the pill.

There will be more like this - very private moments of a very public princess, again naked in the public eye.

"There are notes by Princess Diana, allegedly by Princess Diana, saying she was in fear for her life and her husband may have been responsible for that fear," said royal commentator Robert Jobson.

Her husband Prince Charles may have to appear in court. Al Fayad's lawyers will try to get the Duke of Edinburgh and even the queen to testify, too. That would be unprecedented. The risk is if they do not, conspiricists will say they had something to hide.

And in a week when ten year old, grainy, flickering images of the princess and her lover fascinated once more, courtesy of the hotel's in-house camera system, it may be too soon to hope she rests in peace.