Martin Bashir's ABC documentary, The Last 100 Days of Diana, builds a premise that the beloved princess's death was entirely preventable had she not set the wheels of publicity in motion herself.
Diana's final months were spent recovering from the wreckage of her marriage, trying to salvage her own image in the face of her ex-husband's attempt at public humiliation and desperately clinging to a romance that was wilting on the vine.
According to those close to her, the princess was head over heels in love with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan — so in love that she was ready to marry him on the heels of her own divorce from Prince Charles. But Khan was not eager to become "Mr. Diana" or suffer through the complete lack of privacy that entailed, and the romance floundered.
It was during an off period of their on-again, off-again relationship that as a guest on his father's yacht, she met Dodi Fayed. He was immediately smitten, sending home his fiancée Kelly Fisher and showering Diana with gifts, including a pricey Cartier watch. When she later returned for a vacation just with Fayed, the day after an argument with Khan in which he told her they were through, she herself tipped off the paparazzi.
That phone call set in motion a chain of events that couldn't be stopped.
The photos showed a happy Diana hugging and kissing Fayed, and they wound up on the front page of newspapers across the globe. The theory in the ABC special? She staged the images as a giant eff-you to both Khan and the royal family for dumping her. And the feeding frenzy in the press resulting from that decision led directly to her death.
So who was Diana really in love with? Fayed's butler claims his boss told him he was planning to propose the night of the fateful car crash, and a Paris-based jeweler alleges Fayed and Diana had already picked out a ring. But Diana's friends believe Fayed was nothing more than a palate-cleanser, a summer fling whose main objective was to make Khan jealous. Did it work? According to his testimony at the death inquest, Khan tried to call Diana on the night of her death, but was unable to get through.
The special leaves the truth ambiguous. Twenty years later, we are still talking about Diana's love life. She cannot escape media speculation, even in death.
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