The Biggest Conspiracy Theories About Princess Di's Death

Adolescents in the '80s and '90s were packaged a very Disney-inspired idea of royalty. As fairy tales would have it, being a royal heir was mostly a matter of wearing ballgowns, singing with wild animals, and eventually living happily ever after. Then, along came Diana, Princess of Wales, who proved things were a whole lot more complicated.

Coined the "People's Princess" by U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair (via CNN), Princess Di garnered global attention for being vulnerable, beautiful, compassionate, and flawed. It could be said that her appeal to humanity was, in effect, her humanity.

As a young photogenic bride and potential queen, she quickly became every photographer's muse. As a philanthropist and advocate for numerous charities and social justice causes, her notoriety soared. And when her marriage to Prince Charles was formally terminated in divorce, the world's fascination with the princess went from enduring to ugly (via Marie Claire).

In August 1997, Princess Diana's life ended at the tender age of 36 in a fiery car crash that would change history and media all at once (via History). In a failed attempt to flee paparazzi and to salvage the little bit of privacy she had left, it is believed that Princess Diana and boyfriend Dodi Fayed were run right off the road. Sadly, fame and fortune drove her to her own demise. Or did it?

Like many historical icons, some people are not convinced that Princess Di's life ended in the manner of which it has been portrayed. In fact, some people are not convinced that her life ended at all. Here's a look at some of the most engrossing conspiracy theories about Princess Di's death.

The crash was no accident

By the time paramedics burst on the scene, this rumor was already in circulation. Largely spearheaded by Mohamed Al-Fayed, Egyptian billionaire and father of Princess Di's late boyfriend Dodi Fayed, this is one of many claims suggesting that the crash was a collision, but certainly not an accident (via The New York Times).

There are two variations of this theory. One of them posits that the driver of the vehicle, Henry Paul, was not really a drunk chauffeur, but rather a secret MI6 agent assigned to the bloody task of murder (via USA Today). Subscribers to this theory say the numbers in Paul's bank account don't lie. As a humble driver, his annual compensation on paper was a mere $35,000 per year. Yet, his savings at the time of his death exceeded $250,000 in cold, hard cash. While $250,000 is more likely to prove savvy saver than secret murderer, there are many who believe the latter.

The other variation of this theory points to Prince Charles as the prime planner of a not-so-accidental accident. That version ties in with the next theory on this list.

Princess Diana eerily predicted it would happen

Numerous conspiracy theories related to the unexpected demise of the beloved princess fell under one report, formally titled Operation Paget (via Newsweek). One of these suggests that Princess Di eerily predicted a portrait of her own death in a letter she wrote to Paul Burrell, a man who was once her butler and perhaps a trusted confidante. According to The Independent, just 10 months prior to her deadly Paris crash, the letter was delivered to the butler as a kind of insurance, should she not survive the event. Some of the haunting prose reportedly included the following sentence:

"This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous — my husband is planning 'an accident' in my car, brake failure and serious head injury in order to make the path clear for him to marry Tiggy."

While it is possible that Princess Diana had suspicions regarding her ex-husband, the Prince of Wales, it's important to remember that with paparazzi relentlessly following her every turn, the late princess was often riddled with nervousness and suspicion (via The Independent).

She was allegedly pregnant when she died

If the British royal family went to all this trouble to stage an accident, plant an MI6 agent, alter blood tests, and the myriad of other things conspiracy theorists believe happened, they'd need a reason larger than divorce. Some theorists believe the motive was actually a hidden pregnancy.

According to Marie Claire, this theory arose in the early 2000s, when a French police officer is said to have revealed top secret information proving that the princess and her new beau were expecting. Mohammed Al-Fayed proclaimed that the royal family harbored a sincere disdain for the idea that their grandchild, a future king, would share lineage with a Muslim child. After reportedly calling Prince Phillip a racist Nazi (via The New York Times), Fayed shocked the courtroom when he blurted out, "they murdered her" and accused both Princes Phillip and Charles of going to unthinkable lengths to prevent the baby from being born.

Since these accusations arose, multiple pregnancy tests have concluded that Princess Di was not pregnant the night her car careened through a Paris tunnel. However, supporters of the theory claim the tests results were miscalculated due to the numerous blood transfusions she received in the hours leading up to her death.

The idea that the CIA was involved

Princess Diana's death has sparked rumors of corruption infiltrating the U.K.'s foreign intelligence service, known as MI6 (via USA Today). It has fueled gossip that puts blood on the hands of princes and tarnishes the royal family (via The New York Times). But it does not end there.

One standout conspiracy theory suggests the involvement of American intelligence agencies like the CIA and the NSA (via Newsweek). At the center of this theory is a perplexing series of transcripts the U.S. has of Princess Diana's telephone calls. While there is no existing evidence suggesting that the CIA and MI6 were in cahoots, supporters of the theory want to know why a foreign government was placing the princess under such scrutiny.

With such little evidence to note, this theory is very unlikely to be the explanation of her death. However, it is emblematic of the global appeal the princess upheld throughout her life.

Princess Di is purportedly still alive

Throughout her life, Princess Diana frolicked with celebrities and felt the hot flash of cameras capturing her smile. She was as relatable as she was untouchable, as broken as her outfits were put together. In her, many people saw their own reflection, and they swooned at the thought that royal balls might just be for ordinary maidens after all. Princess Diana encapsulated the fairy tales of the '80s and '90s. Then she broke their binds, and wrote a story all her own.

It is this last conspiracy theory, the one where she's alive and well and sucking up the sun on an island oasis, that speaks to her superstar status. Oxford University Press released a PDF explaining that amid tens of thousands of Princess Diana death conspiracy theories, the one where she isn't dead is the most popular of all. Aside from the fact that Princess Di and boyfriend Dodi Fayed had enough money to cover the cost of death hoaxing and faking photo ID's, there is literally nothing that indicates this theory as truth. What this really proves is that a relatable princess represents the global image of a dream that can never die.