The murder of Princess Diana: the conspiracy that won’t die

A shroud of strange coincidences, missing evidence and sinister unanswered questions continue to hang over the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. In this article I’m going to home in on the three big ones: the white Fiat Uno, the lack of CCTV, and Henri Paul’s blood…

Diana’s death is Britain’s JFK. It remains the nation’s most talked-about conspiracy theory. The fact that the 2007 inquest failed to delve deeply enough into the possibility that the princess was murdered has kept conspiratorial tongues wagging ever since.

Now, as I’ve mentioned before—many times—I’m not a conspiracy theorist. But Princess Diana’s death has always disturbed me. There’s a LOT that doesn’t add up. Does that mean I believe she was murdered by government agents as part of an elaborate royal plot? Not necessarily. But I’m open to the possibility that she could’ve been.

Let’s talk first about Henri Paul, the man who drove Princess Diana to her death in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel on August 31st 1997, killing himself and Dodi Fayed in the process. Officially, as of the 2007 inquest, Henri Paul is guilty of the “unlawful killing” of the princess through negligence—specifically that he was driving while drunk. He’s been accused of having connections with the security services, disappearing for several minutes for unknown reasons shortly before the fateful journey from the Ritz Hotel, and secretly communicating with the paparazzi. But I want to talk about one thing: his blood.

Henri Paul’s blood

The French investigation into Diana’s car crash concluded that Henri was drunk, his blood containing three times the French legal limit. A British pathologist hired by Mohammed Al-Fayed, Dodi’s father, disputed this. Henri Paul’s parents did not accept that their son was drunk, and maintain that he always took his responsibilities as a driver seriously. Material evidence reveals that Henri only purchased two alcoholic drinks, and on hotel CCTV, he shows no signs of being intoxicated.

This led to one of the most famous Diana conspiracy claims: that Henri Paul’s blood was swapped with that of a deceased drunk driver in order to place the blame for the crash squarely on him.

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The Princes in the Tower: Britain’s most famous missing persons case

The unexplained disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, aka 12-year-old Edward V of England and his nine-year-old brother, Richard of Shrewsbury, is one of Britain’s coldest cases. Five and a half centuries on, it remains the subject of debate and conspiracy theory. But are we any closer to the truth?

When King Edward IV of England died on April 9th 1483, his son, also Edward, succeeded him as Edward V. Because he was only 12, his uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was supposed to act as Lord Protector of the Realm till he came of age. This didn’t quite go to plan. Richard sent both Edward and his younger brother to the Tower of London, supposedly in preparation for Edward’s coronation. But the coronation never happened. Instead, Richard took the throne for himself and the little princes disappeared.

A game of thrones

On his deathbed, Edward IV named his brother, Richard of Gloucester, Lord Protector of the Realm until his son reached maturity. However, Elizabeth Woodville—Edward IV’s wife and queen consort and Edward V’s mother—wasn’t too thrilled about this. She and her family either didn’t trust Richard or wanted to seize power for themselves in the wake of the king’s death (or both).

In any case, Elizabeth ordered her own brother, Anthony Woodville, Earl Rivers, who was looking after Edward V at Ludlow Castle, to bring the boy king to London immediately to be crowned. And she told him to bring an armed escort of 2000 men. Whatever her motive, it certainly looked like Elizabeth was preparing to do battle with her brother-in-law.

But Richard, aware of what was going on, intercepted Edward V and Anthony on their way to London. Also present was Richard Grey, Edward V’s half-brother (the product of Elizabeth Woodville’s first marriage), and Thomas Vaughn, Edward’s chamberlain. Richard met them at Stony Stafford and dined with them, lulling them into a false sense of security before arresting all three men for treason the following morning. (They were later beheaded at Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire.) When the boy king protested the arrests, Richard told his nephew of a plot to deny him his role as Lord Protector, and that his guardians had been a part of it. He then escorted Edward V to London himself.

On hearing of her brother and second-eldest son’s arrests, Elizabeth Woodville fled into sanctuary at Westminster Abbey with her daughters and nine-year-old son, Richard of Shrewsbury.

Edward V and Richard of Gloucester arrived in London together. At the time, Richard still promised his nephew he would be crowned, but postponed the date from 4th May to 22nd June. On 19th May, Richard sent Edward to the Tower of London because, at the time, the Tower was the traditional residence of monarchs prior to their coronation.

In early June, Richard wrote to a number of important lords asking for their support against “the Queen, her blood adherents and affinity” because he suspected Elizabeth Woodville and her cohorts of plotting his murder. At a Privy Council meeting on 13th June at the Tower of London, Richard accused Lord Hastings of conspiring with the Woodvilles against him. It is said that Hastings was dragged out of the Council chambers and immediately beheaded in the courtyard.

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There be changes round these ’ere parts

A new year gets all of us thinking about new things. Resolutions, goals, plans—stuff like that.

I’ve just moved house. That’s the biggest new thing I have to share. For the last four years I’ve lived in a town called Aldershot. Famous as the home of the British Army and birthplace of The Hobbit star Martin Freeman, it’s a town that’s been called “the vast wart on the backside of humanity” and which even people living there refer to as “Aldershite”.

My bedroom/office overlooked an ugly, narrow side street frequented by intoxicated undesirables screaming obscenities and having punch-ups, and sewage treatment vehicles fixing the ageing drains that were constantly going wrong, kicking up eye-watering smells that would lovingly seep through my window while I was working. On a good day, I might just see an old bloke walk past, honk up his guts and decorate the road with phlegm, or whip out his pecker and piss up the side of a house.

Oh, how I miss it.

I’m now in Haslemere, a charming country town where the view out my window is of trees, grass, sky, and a pretty little church. A far better place for a writer to be. It’s been a hectic move for me and my girlfriend, but we’re getting there. And it’s our first place together too, so, you know… romance and mushy stuff.

Anyway, I’ve made some decisions about my priorities, writing-wise. I’ve been writing these blogs solidly for three and a half years and the stories I’ve covered have given me tons of inspiration for my conspiracy fiction, which is great. Now I need to take a step back and focus on just the fiction, particularly as I started a new conspiracy thriller novel in the closing months of last year. So, I have plans for some new articles in the coming weeks, and after that, I’m going to give the blog an extended break. This is so I can focus my efforts on the new novel, submitting Million Eyes to agents, writing and publishing more Million Eyes short stories, and reading more too. Takes me ages to read a book but I’ve just got a load for Christmas that I want to get through. Plus, I’m now a contributor for the Time Travel Nexus, so my articles about time travel conspiracy theories (and other things time travel-related) will continue to appear on there.

I’ll use the blog to keep my readers and followers updated on all writing developments, and I’ll be back to write the odd article about any mysteries and conspiracy theories that particularly pique my interest.

The next few articles I’m planning will focus on the mysteries and conspiracy theories that are at the heart of Million Eyes, starting with…

Next week: what really happened to the Princes in the Tower?

“Rachel Can Still See” has been published in Phantaxis Issue 7

My new short story, Rachel Can Still See, has been published in Issue 7 of science fiction and fantasy magazine Phantaxis.

Rachel Can Still See is the sixth of the Million Eyes Short Stories to be published, after Rachel Can See, Paul, The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller, The Home Secretary is Safe and Who is Rudolph Fentz? 

All these stories are set in the same world as my forthcoming sci-fi thriller Million Eyes and feature the same mysterious conspirators who take centre stage in the novel.

Rachel Can Still See is a direct sequel to Rachel Can See, which was published last year in Metamorphose Volume 2. It continues the story of Rachel Evans, a girl who experiences troubling alternate memories about world events and her own life. Both stories can stand by themselves, so you don’t have to read the first one to understand the second. However, I’d advise doing so in order to get a full picture of Rachel Evans’ journey.

The first story was longlisted by Inktears in 2015 and won an honourable mention in MetamorphoseThe sequel — prior to being accepted for publication by Phantaxis — won the Rushmoor Writers Hyde Cup Competition in 2016 and was later highly commended by Writers’ Forum.

Click on the cover image to buy the magazine from Amazon, or click here.

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

“Million Eyes” makes it into the top 20% of the Grindstone Literary Novel Competition

As I continue my tireless search for a literary agent for Million Eyes, it’s great to get some good news from a competition I entered the book into some months back.

It was the 2017 Novel Opening Competition from Grindstone Literary Services, into which I entered the first 1,000 words of Million Eyes. While I didn’t make it into the top 5, I learned when I got my personalised feedback (which every entrant gets in this competition — a great bonus) that I’d made it into the top 20%.

I was super-happy with the feedback I got too. There was a little bit of constructive criticism, but I actually think the recent rewrite I did of the opening remedies most of these points. Some of the highlights from the judge’s feedback were:

One of the most original entries I’ve seen.
This is an intriguing idea, and from what I’ve read so far, seemingly well done. 
Overall, it’s very impressive.

All fantastic to hear. 😀

Next week: did a Japanese department store confuse Jesus with Santa?

“Million Eyes” updates and the soul-destroying search for a literary agent

I wonder if I write about time travel because of a deep-seated longing to skip the utterly soul-destroying process of trying to pummel into the publishing industry and travel to a point in the future when I’m already there. Dunno. Maybe.

It. Will. Happen. That’s what I have to keep telling myself. It’s what all writers who want to be successful have to keep telling themselves.

Anyway, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, my search for a literary agent for Million Eyes has been—so far—fruitless. I’ve submitted to 40 or so agents, nothing positive yet. I could still hear from a few of them because their estimated time for responding isn’t up (and I have the patience of a small child).

I’ve been through a few weeks of tearing my hair out, thinking the book is crap, and doubting that it’s ever going to happen. But then, we all go through that. Even the biggest, most successful authors have gone through that.

Nevertheless, I stopped submitting Million Eyes and took stock. I sought advice from my fellow scribblers at Rushmoor Writers, read them my query letter and opening pages and asked if there was any way I could improve them. Perhaps they’re just not catching agents’ eyes?

The advice I got was great. Mostly they recommended small tweaks to up the intrigue and grab the reader earlier in those opening lines and early pages. They also offered some much-needed words of encouragement: the book is good, and there’s a market for it.

So here I am, confidence resurged, ready to start submitting again. Will this next round of submissions yield any success? Heaven knows, but I’m keeping my chin up and everything crossed.

In other news…

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I’ve joined the team at ‘Time Travel Nexus’ as a contributor!

I’m super-excited to have been chosen to become one of three new contributors to Time Travel Nexus, a website for time travel enthusiasts.

It covers movies, books and TV series in the time travel genre, as well as discussion about real world research into the possibilities of travelling in time.

Apart from my own writing in the genre (my forthcoming novel, Million Eyes, and its accompanying series of short stories), one of the reasons I was chosen is because of my research into real-life time travel conspiracy theories and urban legends. Stories like Rudolph Fentz, Andrew Carlssin, the Rendlesham Forest Incident, and the Vanishing Hotel. I’ll be helping Time Travel Nexus to explore these stories and debate the evidence for whether time travel is already happening all around us. Cue some lively discussions!

I’m also scheduled to be doing some serious geeking out over my favourite time travel episodes of Star Trek and Doctor Who, as well as movies like Looper, The Butterfly Effect and Back to the Future.

Looks like my life’s about to get a lot more wibbly wobbly. Can’t wait.

Did Rudolph Fentz time travel? My short story about the famous urban legend is now published in Storgy Magazine

Who is Rudolph Fentz? was the first of the Million Eyes Short Stories to be published, way back in 2015 in Issue 68 of Scribble Magazine (and it won 3rd prize in their quarterly comp too).

Since that issue of Scribble is long out of print, I’ve been looking for a magazine to re-publish it. Now Storgy Magazine, who published Paul last November, have published Who is Rudolph Fentz? online — which means you can all read it for free!

The story is based on the famous time travel urban legend of Rudolph Fentz (who you can read about here) and centres on a man, Forrest Thomson, determined to get to the truth of who he is and how he ended up in the middle of Times Square in June 1950. But could Forrest be entering dangerous territory as he investigates those responsible?

You can read Who is Rudolph Fentz? by clicking this link to Storgy.

Enjoy, folks, and thank you Storgy Magazine for publishing another of my stories!

Coming soon: Princess Diana had a secret daughter?!