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Diana letter 'warned of car plot'

Dodi Fayed and Diana, Princess of Wales
Fayed and the princess were photographed on holiday weeks before they died.

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Newspaper reports Princess Diana predicted an attempt on her life in a car accident
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British Royal Family
Princess Diana

LONDON, England -- Princess Diana warned of a plot to tamper with the brakes of her car 10 months before she died, according to a British newspaper.

The Princess of Wales wrote to her former butler Paul Burrell saying her life was at its "most dangerous" phase, the Daily Mirror reported Monday.

It quotes the letter as saying: "XXXX is planning 'an accident' in my car, brake failure and serious head injury in order to make the path clear for Charles to marry."

The newspaper says it knows the identity of the blacked-out name but will not publish it for legal reasons.

There has been no comment from Buckingham Palace or the office of Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, at St. James's Palace.

Diana, 36, was separated from Charles and was dating tycoon Dodi Fayed, 42, at the time of her death.

The princess, Fayed and chauffeur Henri Paul died when their speeding Mercedes smashed into a tunnel in Paris on August 31, 1997. Only a bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, survived.

A French inquiry in 1999 blamed Paul, saying he had taken a mix of alcohol and drugs. An autopsy revealed high blood alcohol level and traces of anti-depressant drugs in his body.

The French ruling dismissed charges against nine photographers who pursued the Mercedes, as well as a motorcycle courier accompanying the pack.

There has not been an investigation in the UK but officials in the southern English county of Surrey, where Fayed lived, said an inquest would be held on a date to be fixed into his death. A separate inquest will be held into Diana's death.

A spokesman for Prince Charles declined to comment on the revelations. "There will be an inquest at some point in the future and matters relating to the princess' death will be taken up at that time," he said.

Fayed's father, Mohamed al Fayed, has always said the crash was not an accident but a conspiracy planned by those who disapproved of his son's relationship with Diana.

The Daily Mirror reported that Diana said in the letter she had been "battered, bruised and abused mentally by a system for 15 years now."

She had "cried more than anyone will ever know" but her "inner strength" would never let her surrender.

Separate inquests will be held into the deaths of Dodi and Diana.
Separate inquests will be held into the deaths of Dodi and Diana.

Burrell, who has written a book about Diana, told the newspaper: "With the benefit of hindsight, the content of that letter has bothered me since her death."

He said he released the letter in the hope that it would lead to a thorough investigation in Britain.

Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan told CNN: "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.

"I think it is fuel to the fire of every conspiracy theorist in the world." (Full story)

But former Buckingham Palace press officer Dickie Arbiter said he had no doubt the car crash was an accident. (Full story)

"It does have all the hallmarks of a classic murder mystery, but I go back to what I've said time and time again. There is no question of murder. There is no question of conspiracy. It just didn't happen. It was an accident. It shouldn't have happened, but it did."

Arbiter said he thought it was a coincidence that Diana apparently predicted her own death in a car crash.

"We all think at some stage or another I hope I don't die in a car crash, I hope I don't die in a plane crash. We all travel a lot and it is conceivable that we could die in a car crash," he told CNN.

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