Insights from the UK and beyond
So farewell then Princess Diana?
Watching the Diana inquest unfold, you sometimes felt that the lunatics had taken over the asylum.
With an extraordinary cast of characters straight out of central casting, it would have been rich fodder for any scriptwriter on a surreal soap opera.
Or maybe it was more of a roustabout pantomine with a cast of starkly drawn goodies and baddies.
John Loughrey, the only member of the public to attend every day of the six-month inquest, got through seven boxes of paint writing the words “Diana” and Dodi” on his face each morning.
His appetite never waned — even when the word count from the 278 witnesses reached a staggering total of three million words over six, at times seemingly interminable months.
Diana’s stepmother Raine Spencer, once said to have been nicknamed “Acid Raine” by her stepchildren, stepped straight of the pages of a romantic novel by her mother Barbara Cartland.
Resplendent in black hat and veil, her voice quivered with emotion as she told the jury “Affairs of the heart are impossible to fathom.”
“Energy healer” Simone Simmons revealed that she spent up to 10 hours at a time on the phone talking to Diana.
When Diana’s butler and self-styled “Rock” Paul Burrell said the princess certainly surrounded herself with some strange people, someone in the public gallery shouted out “Like You” to much laughter.
Tears flowed, tempers flared, grandstanding lawyers revelled in the chance to score points.
British taxpayers shelled out 10 million pounds so the inquest could conclude what British and French police had already decided in two extensive investigations.
So was it worth it?
Diana’s sons William and Harry pleaded with the conspiracy theorists “Let It Be The End.”
But with Mohamed al-Fayed blasting the verdict and convinced as ever that his son Dodi and Diana were murdered, the internet still could still be awash with talk of dark plots.
The Daily Mirror’s royal correspondent James Whitaker offered the perfect epitaph:
“So is everything now done and dusted? Will Diana and Dodi be allowed to rest in peace? Don’t be ridiculous.”