Diana, Princess of Wales’s blossoming relationship with her new love Dodi Fayed left the Queen “concerned” as the couple grew closer, the inquest was told today.
A whirlwind romance brought the “playboy” and the princess together but it is claimed their deepening feelings left the Monarch troubled about the future.
The Queen made her thoughts known to butler Paul Burrell, he claims, in a private meeting at Buckingham Palace just weeks after the couple were killed in a Paris car crash in August 1997.
He told the inquest: “Her Majesty was concerned that the Princess was rather over-excited.”
Ian Croxford QC, for the Ritz Hotel, Paris, asked: “She (Diana) was at the start of a long-term union with Dodi al Fayed. What did Her Majesty say about this long-term union?”
The former butler said: “Her Majesty was concerned about the future.”
“About a marriage?” asked Mr Croxford.
Mr Burrell replied: “No, the Queen did not mention that.”
“A long-term union, is that the expression she used?”
The reality TV star replied: “A relationship.”
Diana’s romance with Dodi was something the establishment would have viewed as “an alliance made in hell,” the court was told by Michael Mansfield QC, representing Mohamed al Fayed.
The lawyer also said the Duke of Edinburgh had called the Princess’ boyfriend an “oily bedhopper,” but the ex-royal aide suggested it was unlikely Philip had said the words.
Meanwhile, a BBC Newsnight discussion planned for this evening about the merits of the Diana inquest caused concern after lawyers in the case warned it could prejudice the proceedings.
But when Coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker referred the matter to Attorney General Baroness Scotland for her consideration, the issue was examined but no action taken.
Mr Burrell, who spent three days in the witness box, denied a claim he asked the Queen outright if “they” killed Diana.
During a meeting shortly after Diana’s death with her friends – interior designer Roberto Devorik and Lady Elsa Bowker – the former butler told them about his now-famous meeting with the Queen in 1997.
Ian Burnett QC, counsel to the inquest, read him Mr Devorik’s account of that meeting.
It said: “Lady Bowker asked him if he had asked the Queen if they killed her, he said that the Queen had replied something like ’we cannot awake forces we don’t know’.”
But Mr Burrell insisted: “I would not ask her Majesty the Queen such a personal and intimate question about her daughter in law.”
He also claimed that Diana feared that Charles would be murdered.
“She did believe that Prince Charles might be attacked one day, she did believe he might face an assassination attempt,” he said.
Lord Condon, Britain’s top policeman at the time that Diana died, took to the witness stand to deny she was murdered or that there was a police cover-up.
The Peer, a former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said: “(It was) a tragic accident, the facts of which are broadly known for many years and I am not aware - and I am on oath – of anything that would take away from that finding.”
Nicholas Hilliard, for the coroner, asked: “Is there any truth whatsoever in the suggestion that you as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police took part in a cover-up of a murder?”
Lord Condon told the jury: “That is absolutely wrong.
“It would be an absolute betrayal of everything I stood for and I am sure that David Veness (then the Met’s Assistant Commissioner) stands for.”
Ms Witty later said in a statement: “At lunchtime I received a call from the BBC’s Newsnight programme asking me to appear in a live debate about the cost and purpose of the inquests.
“I gave a provisional acceptance, at that stage, subject to further consultation and advice, and I made clear that I could not be involved in any discussion of the nature of the inquests, or comment on the evidence or witnesses.
“There is no way that I would then, or since, want to commit some form of contempt of court, or anything that could be construed as such.”
She added: “It was pointed out in court, on behalf of Mohamed Al Fayed, that this programme should be deferred until after the inquests.
“We recognise that there may be a public interest in this issue, but a discussion halfway through the process risks jeopardising the jury’s determination.
“I wish to remind Newsnight that there is a legal requirement for these inquests and that Mohamed Al Fayed’s costs are not being borne by the public purse.”