The former head of MI6 denies having former Princess Diana assassinated. And Sir Richard Dearlove doesn't think rogue agents could have whacked her and her car-mates.
This story continues to feel like a remix from some modern Gothic. A possibly pregnant princess and her lover die in a spectacularly Ballardian fashion. The possibility of marrying and giving birth to a child with a man far to the south of Britain, in classic Gothic/Jacobean fear style. The invocation of shadowy intelligence organizations. Even the names are novelistic: Sir Dearlove (!), not to mention the complete, dooming sentence which results when you say it out loud: "Princess Di" (princess die, get it?).
There's a bureaucratic charm to Dearlove's defense, too:
Not only had he not authorised an assassination of the Princess, he said that such an action would have been outside the remit of the service... He suggested that if MI6 had planned to assassinate anyone, he would certainly have noticed.
There's even a mini-Gothic comedy within this Gothicky story:
[Sir Dearlove] described Mr Al Fayed’s claims that Prince Philip and the intelligence services were in fact running the country as difficult to respond to because “it’s completely off the map.”
[Ian Burnett QC, for the coroner] said: “It is suggested that Prince Philip and the intelligence agencies really run this country and that we are not a Parliamentary democracy.”
Sir Richard replied: “I do not want to be flippant. I’m tempted to say I’m flattered..."