The Queen’s first reaction to hearing the news of Princess Diana’s death in a car crash was to assert that, “someone must have greased the brakes,” according to a new book.
The sensational claim appears in Andrew Morton’s ‘The Queen’, which is being serialised in the Daily Mail newspaper.
Diana was killed in an August 1997 car crash that took place in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris while her driver was trying to speed away from pursuing paparazzi.
Queen Elizabeth was reportedly informed that Diana had suffered only a broken arm and had walked away from the accident, to which she responded, “Someone must have greased the brakes.”
According to Morton, the Queen’s reaction “shocked and puzzled her staff, who’d rarely heard her use such colloquial language.”
“Was the Queen implying that Diana had been a target?” asks Morton.
The official explanation is that the accident was caused by a combination of dangerous driving and Henri Paul being over the limit. However, conspiracy theories surrounding the car crash have raged virtually since the night it happened.
Questions about why surveillance cameras in the tunnel failed, the potential involvement of a white Fiat Uno, a strange flash that occurred before the accident, and why it took so long to get Diana to a hospital are often asked.
Innumerable theories as to the motive behind Diana possibly being killed as a result of a Royal Family conspiracy have circulated over the years, including concerns that her boyfriend Dodi Fayed, a Muslim, would taint their bloodline.
Such theories were bolstered in 2007, when a handwritten letter written by Diana sent to her butler Paul Burrel was revealed in which Diana claimed that Prince Charles was plotting to kill her.
Diana claimed her husband was “planning an accident in my car,” according to the letter, which was written in October 1993.
Called The Queen, the book’s publisher says it “takes you behind the scenes to uncover the woman behind the Crown”.
And so far, it has been serialised in the Daily Mail, where Morton examines the relationship between the Queen and Diana, and how the monarch dealt with the princess’s untimely death.
Here are seven revelations that have been made in the book’s serialisation about the two women…
Queen was at ‘wit’s end’
In 1992, both Charles split from Diana while Andrew separated from his then-wife, Sarah Ferguson.
Morton writes: “In the 1990s, her remarkable equilibrium was tested far more than we ever knew.”According to a friend of hers, she was at her ‘wits’ end’ when both Charles and Andrew’s marriages collapsed, wondering aloud when her family, and the monarchy, would finally be given some respite.”
Morton adds that the separation of Charles and Diana affected the monarch so deeply that “she allowed herself to stray from the ingrained habits of a lifetime”.
He added: “No longer did she have just one dry martini in the evenings; her staff noticed that Her Majesty’s modest consumption of alcohol had noticeably increased. ”
Queen had called Diana ‘one of us’ at first
According to the book, Diana impressed the Queen during early meetings with the monarch during her courtship with Charles.
Morton writes that after Diana’s first visit to Balmoral in 1980, the Queen remarked: “She’s one of us.”
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