Princess Diana delayed returning to Britain ahead of the car crash in Paris that killed her because of a Tory backlash against her campaign to tackle landmines, a former royal aide has alleged. The Princess of Wales‘s ex-driver and minder Colin Tebbutt claims a row over her call for the mines to be banned convinced Diana to stay on in Paris with her boyfriend Dodi Fayed longer than she originally planned.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Mr Tebbutt says the decision kicked off the chain of events that led to her death with Dodi and their chauffeur Henri Paul in a crash in a tunnel on August 31, 1997.
The former royal aide argued Diana would not have been in Paris on the night she died if it had not been for backlash from Conservative Party politicians.
Diana, 36, had been due to arrive back in London on August 28, 1997, but decided to extend her trip by three days at the last minute amid the controversy.
Mr Tebbutt said: “She didn’t come back on the Thursday as scheduled because the Tories were having a go at her again over landmines.”
He added: “She was accused of using the campaign to boost her own image, which was nasty and upset her.
“So she contacted us and said she didn’t want all the hassle that would be waiting for her in the UK.
“She would return at the weekend instead.”
The ex-driver added: “If she had come back that Thursday…maybe we’d all be alive still today.”
While the row first erupted following Diana’s trip to Angola the previous January it reached fever pitch in August 1997.
After which Diana came under fire from Conservative defence minister Earl Howe described her as a “loose cannon” who is “ill-informed on the issue of anti-personnel landmines”.
While fellow Tory Peter Viggers accused her of ignoring “sophisticated arguments.”
The row reached a head in late August 1997 after Diana gave an interview to a French newspaper in which she was asked about the UK’s policy on landmines, whose abolition was “so dear to her heart”.
The princess reportedly replied: “The former one was so hopeless” – a reference to the Tory Government which lost power in May 1997.
And said she believed Tony Blair’s new Labour administration was “going to do terrific work”.
Prince Harry, 36, has continued his mother’s work to eliminate landmines and retraced her footsteps during a trip to Angola in autumn 2019.
He visited the HALO Trust, the same charity Diana previously worked with and witnessed the extraordinary progress they had made since his mother’s first visit.
Earlier this month, Harry spoke out to condemn an attack on Halo Trust workers in Afghanistan in which 10 people died.
At the time, the charity tweeted to confirm the tragic news.
Harry responded with a statement calling the attack “an act of barbarism”, he said: “In all, 26 members of The HALO Trust’s Afghanistan team were killed or injured on Tuesday night in what was nothing less than an act of barbarism.
“I honour those who have been lost and encourage support for the survivors and the families of those affected.”
“Those who work for HALO in Afghanistan face risks every day to remove the lasting – and still deadly – scars of war and conflict,” continued Harry, 36. “The men who were attacked come from the very communities in which they work. They joined HALO to protect and restore their country and their homes. As I understand it, the deminers who lost their lives were also protecting their friends.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK