The Diana Inquest Put to Rest—Finally
updated 04/21/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 04/21/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT
More than a decade after the Aug. 31, 1997 car crash in Paris that claimed the lives of Diana and boyfriend Dodi Fayed, a British jury has concluded it was the result of a perfect storm of bad circumstances—a drunk chauffeur, a high-speed paparazzi chase and unbuckled seat belts. Reading the verdict April 7 in London's Royal Courts of Justice, the forewoman of the 11-member panel declared Diana's driver, Henri Paul—also killed in the crash and found to have a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit—and the photographers "unlawful" and "negligent."
The six-month inquest, which called 268 witnesses and cost some $20 million, rejected conspiracy theories long propagated by Dodi's father, Mohamed Al Fayed, that Buckingham Palace orchestrated a hit to prevent the princess from marrying a Muslim. "I accept the verdict ... but am not approving 100 percent," he told Britain's ITV News, adding he wouldn't pursue further legal options now. "I've had enough. I'm leaving this to God to get my revenge."
If he remains bitter, Princes William, 25, and Harry, 23, welcomed closure. "We agree with their verdicts," the princes said in a statement. The boys, only 15 and 12 when she died at age 36, are "glad it's over," says a friend, "and hope now everyone will move on."