Princess Diana died tragically more than a decade ago, but questions surrounding her death still rage on. One conspiracy theory concerning what transpired in a tunnel in Paris on August 31st, 1997 is that the princess faked her own death to escape the constant intrusions into her private life by the media. I found it to be one of the more interesting conspiracies surrounding the “death” of Princess Di.
When I began researching the reasoning behind the possibility of Princess Diana being alive and well in the world, I noticed that it was hard to find websites that were exclusively supporting this theory. The first instance that I found of both believers and non-believers of the faked death theory was at Patricia’s Princess Diana Remembered site. While she doesn’t necessarily side with either side of the theory, she was compelled to include a post about it on her site when one of her followers commented that Diana was not only alive and well, but had been present at William and Kate’s wedding. There is even a video from CNN included. While many of the non-believers argue that the princess would never put her sons through such a painful experience, true believers argue that both princes are in on the secret and others go so far as to argue that the entire royal family is in on it. I believe that the true believers have incorporated into their argument Goetzel’s idea that “claims of conspiracy cannot be reflexively dismissed, but they are difficult to test because lack of evidence can be interpreted as proof of how cleverly the conspirators have hidden it” (Goetzel).
On Grace Power’s website against the New World Order, “Princess Di Didn’t (Die)” is prediction number four in a list of predictions concerning the actions of the order. In this particular spin on the conspiracy, Princess Diana and Sophie Rhys-Jones share one life. Sophie is the aunt of Prince Harry and Prince William, and “following her Sophie look-alike surgery,” Princess Di was able to continue being a part of royal life in secret.
The final website I checked out seems to be a personal theory on what the owner of The Wacky World of the Hydra believes happened concerning Princess Di faking her death. I was unable to find any information about the author of the site, only that it was one conspiracy out of eight on the page. I found this website to be the most interesting because of the lack of space for comments, the lack of information on the author, and the general stark minimalism of the site. It seems as if the purpose is purely to share a theory in a bit of detail.
Blackmore (1999) states that “memes spread themselves around indiscriminately without regard to whether they are useful, neutral, or positively harmful to us” (pg. 7). I think that this is particularly applicable to the Princess Di conspiracy, because this conspiracy is not particularly harmful to the public, nor is it useful. It’s just particularly catchy and feeds off the hope of a nation that had abruptly lost a well-loved public figure.
While no solid evidence exists, conspiracy theories about the death of Princess Diana continue to grow and flourish. To many it doesn’t seem fitting, or even reasonable, that somebody as special and unique as Diana should die in something as common as an automobile accident. Perhaps they are right?
Susan Blackmore (1999). The Meme Machine. London: Oxford University Press.
Ted Goertzel (2011) “The conspiracy meme,” Skeptical Inquirer, 35(1).