Lloyd Evans

Truth, Lies, Diana review: it was a cover-up!

Truth, Lies, Diana review: it was a cover-up!
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Truth, Lies, Diana

Charing Cross Theatre, in rep until 14 February

John Conway’s sensationalist play, Truth, Lies, Diana, is a forensic re-examination of the circumstances surrounding the princess’s death in 1997.

The issue of Prince Harry’s paternity, which earned the play much advance publicity, reaches no conclusions. James Hewitt co-operated with the show and Conway portrays him as a decent twerp ruthlessly smeared by shadowy puppet-masters (‘men in suits,’ Conway calls them), who set out to destroy his credibility. Hewitt admits that his trysts with Diana began at least a year before Harry’s birth. But is the Cad the dad? Hewitt’s keeping mum.

Conway’s research into the crash revives various antique rumours: Diana was pregnant; the accident was staged; she survived the impact but was murdered in the ambulance. But he casts plausible doubt on the alleged drunkenness of the driver, Henri Paul. The post mortem revealed that he had the liver of a sparing tippler not an alcoholic. CCTV footage taken shortly before the crash shows him strolling around the Ritz quite normally, negotiating revolving doors, chatting to colleagues and at one point stooping to tie both his shoelaces. Not a lurch or a wobble in sight. Before exiting the building he rides with Dodi and Diana in a cramped lift. Did they not notice that their driver smelled like George Best’s mattress? The toxicologists found that his blood-alcohol levels were off the scale. But so were his carbon monoxide levels. Was it the wrong blood? Suicidals who overdose on carbon monoxide (exhaust fumes) are often drunk when they kill themselves. The blood samples may have been swapped.

This evidence would be worthwhile if presented alone. But Conway accompanies it with the daftest theories available on the internet. Here’s one. The house of Windsor discovered that Diana was expecting ‘a Moslem baby’ and promptly sentenced her to death. They were abetted, and provided with a hit-squad, by the world’s top arms dealers who realised that a happy union between a Muslim playboy and a Christian princess would promote global peace and hurt their profits.

Conway isn’t entirely frank with his audience. He shows us the 1996 letter in which Diana appears to predict her death.

‘My husband is planning an “accident” in my car, brake failure and serious head injury in order to make the path clear for Charles to marry...’

What he neglects to mention is that ‘Tiggy’ (royal nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke), is the word after ‘marry’. And the next sentence, ‘Camilla is nothing but a decoy,’ suggests that Diana wasn’t thinking straight when she wrote the letter.

Conway suppresses both facts. It’s a cover up! He also knows that his show’s arrival in London, unimpeded and amply trailed in advance, harms his central claim that ‘men in suits’ protect the royals from miscreant truth-seekers like himself. So he hints that he too may perish in a mysterious accident. The crowd consisted of Diana fetishists, Harry watchers, tipsy office folk and a scattering of egg-headed loners in multi-pocketed anoraks.

Clearly all members of an international murder-unit in heavy disguises.