Newspaper editor and Diana letter
LONDON. England (CNN) -- Princess Diana expressed fears of a plot to kill her 10 months before she died, the Daily Mirror reported Monday. Editor Piers Morgan spoke to CNN's Walter Rodgers.
MORGAN: I think the extraordinary thing about this letter is that it's so detailed. If it had been a vague claim about "they're out to get me, they're going to kill me," or whatever, I think you could dismiss it as the rantings of somebody who was vulnerable or fearful of what was happening.
But it's the very precise nature of the letter, the fact that she talks of an accident, in her car involving serious head injuries, it's all so prophetic given that this is exactly what happened 10 months later.
So because of the detail in the letter I think it can't be dismissed as simply her vague worry about something happening to her. She talks very specifically of a plot.
RODGERS: Is it just a good story or evidence of a conspiracy?
MORGAN: I think it is fuel to the fire of every conspiracy theorist in the world, on a story that has attracted more than I think any since JFK's assassination. And I think the relevance of it in this country (Britain) is that there's been real unease here about the lack of any inquest or any formal legal inquiry into what happened.
There's been nothing at all. And that has created an atmosphere of the British establishment covering up something. Even if that's not the case, that's the atmosphere they created.
What today's revelation does is obviously make that a massively bigger problem for the establishment. Because without an inquest, without any inquiry, it is very very hard now for them to dismiss the conspiracy theorists.
RODGERS: Was it an accident?
MORGAN: I have never been one who thought it wasn't just an accident. I have always thought that it was a drunk driver, lost control and it was an accident. But that was before I read this letter.
If I'm very honest, when I read the letter I felt the hair on my back go up. And I felt that actually I may have slightly miscalled this. Now I've got no reason to say that what Princess Diana wrote in this letter was true, that there was a plot or anything.
All I'm taking is as a journalist, the juxtaposition, of the letter and then what happened and it's a very spooky and rather uncomfortable juxtaposition.
RODGERS: Fayed's father said it was a conspiracy.
MORGAN: Mohamed al Fayed has been ridiculed (for) saying that he believed that his son was murdered. I don't think the scale of that ridicule will be quite the same today. And that's not for me to countenance the conspiracy theorists. I'm merely saying that with no formal investigation and with this letter you put it all together and it adds up to something that looks rather sinister.
RODGERS: Diana was talking of her enemies -- who were they?
MORGAN: Diana had, by the end I felt, she felt very hunted and very vulnerable in Kensington Palace. She felt she'd become a problem for the royal family, particularly post her divorce -- that in some way they wanted to get rid of her, get her off the scene, shut her up.
This is a constant thing that she would say. To me she said it one day over lunch, that she just felt the best thing that could happen to her would be that she died, or they got rid of her. And she was being fairly flippant when she said it but underneath it was this constant feeling that she had that they just wanted her out of the picture.
And of course this was massively exacerbated when she hooked up with Dodi al Fayed, because then she's threatening, according to all the reports at the time, to marry a Muslim, which has enormous constitutional issues really for the British royal family, and more than that, it was Mohamed al Fayed's son, somebody who'd been the scourge of the establishment.
And the horror story for the royal family and the British government would be Mohamed al Fayed with his arm around Diana walking her down the aisle to his son for a wedding and this was looking more and more likely. So you put it all together and you get a very, a very sinister looking scenario, which, if you are a conspiracy theorist, and you read today's Daily Mirror you're going to feel very vindicated that you had those concerns.
RODGERS: So why do the theories linger on?
MORGAN: Because there's never been anything to stop them. There's been a rather wishy-washy investigation in Paris, that nobody's really given much credence to.
Paul Burrell, for example, who was right at Diana's side right to the end, has never been asked for his opinion about anything that happened before, during or after, which is really tantamount, I think, to a scandalous dereliction of duty by the British authorities. How you could not want to clear up this matter? ... according to today's opinion polls on the television, 86 percent of the British public do not believe, in light of our revelation, that this was an accident.
This is very serious and the British government and the royal family need to get together very quickly and order, I think, an immediate inquest and a public inquiry.
RODGERS: Was Diana paranoid?
MORGAN: Diana was paranoid, with very good reason. In my view. She had spent years with her phone calls being bugged, with you know, sinister followings with people pursuing her. She really was, by the end, I think a paranoid wreck. Does that make her a fantasist? I don't think it does.
What is particularly unnerving about the letter is that she details a very specific plot. She gives absolute concrete, in her eyes, evidence, this is it. ... I mean you read it and it's hair raising.
RODGERS: How could she have known that?
MORGAN: What we don't know is what led her to write that down. And Paul Burrell doesn't go into any more detail about that other than it was at the culmination of a period where she was getting more and more concerned about being bugged, about being followed by whoever the people that, the queen herself said to Paul Burrell in the historic meeting, you know, "there are dark forces out there Paul, be careful. Watch your back."
Now if you're the royal butler and you're told that by the queen just after Diana's died in a car crash you're going to be pretty paranoid too.
RODGERS: "Powers at work about which we have no knowledge." The queen said that? Is she a mystic?
MORGAN: This is a very sensible woman who has been on the throne for more than 50 years telling a royal butler to watch his back just after his boss has been killed in a car crash that was reportedly an accident.
It was quite clear that she'd be referring to a form of secret operatives, MI5, MI6. I mean we all know these exist, these organizations, and we all know that most of the time they're up to stuff that would make our hair curl.
What is the unspoken question, the unanswered question, is were they responsible in any way for acting with or without the government authority or the palace authority to silence Diana and Dodi Fayed? I have no idea. What I do think we go a long way to, a swaying public concern, is to have a proper legal process, which has so far, for mysterious legal reasons been completely denied.
RODGERS: Was she a threat to the monarchy?
MORGAN: Diana was a massive threat to the monarchy in the sense that she had almost replaced the monarchy in public affection. And there's no doubt that since she's died, Prince Charles has been able to rehabilitate himself with Camilla Parker Bowles, that the royal family had a very successful jubilee.
It all went back to normal. You didn't have to wake up every day and wonder what Diana was up to, what she was saying because she was attracting all the attention. And this had gone on for 10 to 15 years and there was a real concern at the palace, I think, that she was taking all their glory and systematically, drip, drip, drip, poisoning, their reputation and their standing in public society.
And that was a very big threat. So yes, do I think the royal family were capable of murdering Diana? I don't. I don't want to go down that road in my thought process.
They had obvious motive, as did the British government, in stopping Mohamed al Fayed effectively becoming a relative of the future king, Prince William.
RODGERS: There is an inquest now scheduled.
MORGAN: This is a complete disgrace. We're now six years later. They're saying there may be an inquest into Dodi Fayed, we've heard all this for six years. What about Diana? Why is there no inquest into the Princess of Wales? And what can we now hope to achieve from an inquest, given that, presumably, a lot of the most vital information has just not been gathered and not been put aside?
Who knows what they kept and didn't keep. All I know is Paul Burrell's never been asked for his views, and there's a guy who was there right until the end of her life, and who, by the way, was in Paris by 6 a.m. on the night she died. At her side. And yet nobody's interested in asking him what he saw, what he knew, what he heard. Did you have a document, Mr. Burrell? Well yes he did. A document that cast some very very big shadow over what may have happened.
RODGERS: Does somebody have something to hide?
MORGAN: I unfortunately, am now changing my view that this was just a simple accident. And I'm changing my view both with the publication of this devastating document, the note from Diana, but also, more importantly, the way that the establishment in this country appears to not want to have any legal inquiry or inquest into what happened. There has to be a reason why they don't want that to happen.
RODGERS: Do you think Diana was a mystic?
MORGAN: I think Diana was somebody who was vulnerable, fragile, and paranoid. But I don't believe she was a fantasist. I think that with very good reason, that Paul Burrell goes into with some detail in his book, she had very very good reasons for thinking that she was being bugged, being followed, and that actually her choice of partner in Dodi Fayed was a massive potential threat to the British establishment.
Those are the facts that I know. And the rest of it, I'm afraid, will only probably be answered in some form of legal process.
RODGERS: Does anybody in MI5 (or similar) have the ability to carry out a plot similar to what Mr. Burrell alleges took place?
MORGAN: I don't want to fuel personally the fire of conspiracy. All I'd say is that we don't think it's very easy to arrange car crashes. If you're in MI5 or MI6 then you haven't been watching many James Bond movies. These guys are highly trained to do secret operations of this very nature around the world. And is it feasible that they murdered Diana? I would hope it isn't.
RODGERS: Is there more to come?
MORGAN: There is more sensational material. Frankly, if I ever get handed a piece of document quite like this again in my career I'd be quite surprised. In fact, a powerful impact, I could never remember anything that made me react in the way that I did to Diana's prediction of her own death.