'Diana: Case Solved': Bombshell new interview casts 'suspicious' shadow on Princess Diana's death (Exclusive excerpt)

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What really happened with Princess Diana? A newly-published book, featuring the first-ever interview with the man driving the white Fiat Uno that clipped Di's car before her fatal 1997 car crash in Paris, claims to be "the definitive account and evidence that proves what really happened" 22 years ago.

In "Diana: Case Solved" by journalist Dylan Howard and former homicide cop Colin McLaren, out now via Skyhorse Publishing and Start Publishing, the co-authors sit down with Le Van Thanh for his first-ever interview on the subject, despite multiple requests over the years to share what he knows from that fateful night.

Below is an exclusive excerpt from the final chapter of "Diana: Case Solved," available only on AOL. To get the full story and read all that Le Van Than has to say, order the book here.


Diana: Case Solved, $22.49

“That’s why I let them think what they want.”

Of all the words spoken by Le Van Thanh during our confrontation with him, these are the ones that most haunt me personally.

Van Thanh knows he is a pawn. He knows that there are powerful forces capable of destroying his life. And he is not insane.

In this simple line quoted above, Le Van Thanh is telling us that he cannot do other than what he has done. He must allow the public to believe what they will, because the alternative is unthinkably dangerous.

Will he be killed for speaking the truth? Will his family? Will he find himself the victim of an “accident” just like Diana’s?

All of these are clear possibilities.

It is also outrageous that a man should be telling us—pleading with us, really—to understand his situation in a certain way. . . and to have the institutions of the world turn a deaf ear.

Even if Le Van Thanh wished to tell us the truth, he feels that he cannot. Surely this fuel demands for a new inquest to be opened on the tragic death of Princess Diana.

That is exactly the feelings of Mohamed Al-Fayed, who through his lawyer, Michael Mansfield QC, told our investigation that if it can now be shown Le Van Thanh was driving the white Fiat Uno, there is a genuine case to be made to reopen the inquest:

There is a real question mark here because the French authorities were particularly anxious to ensure that it was blamed to the paparazzi.

That’s why they were all arrested to begin with. He (Le Van Thanh) had the car resprayed. It is very suspicious.

If it’s him in the tunnel—if it’s his Fiat—whether it was an accident or whether he was trying to get in the way. I have no idea.

The Mercedes obviously did hit the Fiat. Whether that was an accident by the driver driving too fast into the tunnel or whether the Fiat Uno was in the wrong lane, I can’t take it beyond that. I don’t know what part the Fiat Uno played other than it obviously had a role as a vehicle that was there. But whether the driver did this deliberately or not obviously, and what his background is, and why, all the rest of these other questions are in the same league as the [James] Andanson story.

Witnesses have said it. It’s not contrived. That’s the concrete evidence. . . . What I’m more interested in is the sandwiching of the car. There are other drivers out there that have not been traced.

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Princess Diana's funeral
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Princess Diana's funeral
Prince William (left) and Prince Harry, the sons of Diana, Princess of Wales, bow their heads as their mother's coffin is taken out of Westminster Abbey following her funeral service. The princess was killed in a car crash in Paris. (Photo by Adam Butler - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
The Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry wait outside Westminster Abbey for Diana, the Princess of Wales' coffin to enter the Abbey. (Photo by Adam Butler - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
(From left) Prince Philip, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Diana's brother, Prince Harry, and Prince Charles walk together behind the carriage carrying the casket of Princess Diana in London on its way to the funeral at Westminster Abbey, 06 September. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / STF (Photo credit should read STF/AFP/Getty Images)
Sir Elton John signing 'Candle In The Wind' at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales on September 6, 1997. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 6: Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince William, and Prince Harry, join the Funeral Procession, at Diana Princess of Wales's Funeral, at St James Palace, for the journey to Westminster Abbey, London, on September 6, 1997, in London, England. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 6: ( l to r ), The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry, and Charles, Prince of Wales join the Funeral Procession, at Diana Princess of Wales's Funeral, at St James Palace, for the journey to Westminster Abbey, London, on September 6, 1997, in London, England. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
Hollywood star Tom Cruise (left) and his wife, actress, Nicole Kidman arrive at the funeral service for Diana, Princess of Wales with film director Steven Spielberg at Westminster Abbey. (Photo by Adam Butler - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry and the Prince of Wales follow the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales in September 1997. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
383207 02: Prince Charles, Right, Accepts Some Flowers From A Well-Wisher After He And His Sons Prince William, And Prince Harry, Left, Arrived At Kensington Palace To View Some Of The Flowers And Mementos Left In Memory Of Their Mother Princess Diana In London, Friday, Sept. 5, 1997. The Funeral For Princess Diana, Who Was Killed In A Car Crash In Paris Aug. 31, Will Be On Saturday At Westminster Abbey. (Photo By David Brauchli/Getty Images)
The public funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, London, UK, 6th September 1997, Queen Elizabeth II, 6th September 1997. (Photo by John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images)
The public funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, London, UK, 6th September 1997, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Prince William, 6th September 1997. (Photo by John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images)
The public funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, London, UK, 6th September 1997, Tributes to the late Princess from the public, 6th September 1997. (Photo by John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images)
The son of Diana, Prince William (R), and her brother Earl Spencer wait in front of Westminster Abbey in London to attend the funeral ceremony of the Princess of Wales 06 September. WPA POOL / AFP PHOTO / AFP WPA POOL / JOEL ROBINE (Photo credit should read JOEL ROBINE/AFP/Getty Images)
The public funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, London, UK, 6th September 1997, Tributes to the late Princess from the public outside Kensington Palace, 6th September 1997. (Photo by John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images)
The public funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, London, UK, 6th September 1997, Mourners on the procession route, 6th September 1997. (Photo by John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images)
The public funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, London, UK, 6th September 1997, Tributes to the late Princess from the public, 6th September 1997. (Photo by John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images)
The public funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, London, UK, 6th September 1997, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Prince Harry, 6th September 1997. (Photo by John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images)
Millions of flowers blanket the ground in front of London's Kensington Palace, home of Diana, Princess of Wales, Sunday Sept. 7, 1997. Diana was buried Saturday as Britain bid a massive goodbye, closing a week of shock, sorrow, regret and recriminations. (Photo by David Brauchli)
The public funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, London, UK, 6th September 1997, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince Harry, Earl Spencer and Prince William, 6th September 1997. (Photo by John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images)
The funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales at Westminster Abbey, London. 6th September 1997. (Photo by Mike Maloney/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
The funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales at Westminster Abbey, London. Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and Prince Andrew, Duke of York with their two daughters Eugenie and Beatrice. 6th September 1997. (Photo by Mike Maloney/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
The Funeral takes place of Diana, Princess of Wales. (L-R) The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry and the Prince of Wales follow the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales, to Westminster Abbey for her funeral service. (Photo by Adam Butler - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
The Princess Royal, her husband Captain Tim Laurence (2nd left), her son Peter Phillips (2nd right) and Prince Edward leave Westminster Abbey following the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. (Photo by Adam Butler - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Three young women weep during the funeral procession of Diana, Princess of Wales, in London 06 September.PENNY/AFP POOL (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, London, 6th September 1997 Express picture by John Downing Diana's family in Westminster Abbey (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
3-year-old Sam Swinney reflects the nation's sombre mood today (Saturday) as people gather on the Redheugh Bridge in Newcastle to pay their respects to Diana, Princess of Wales whose funeral was taking place at Westminster Abbey in London this morning. Photo OWEN HUMPHREYS/PA (Photo by Owen Humphreys - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
The coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales is carried by the bearer party of Welsh Guardsmen as it arrives at Westminster Abbey, for her funeral today (Saturday). (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Earl Spencer (4th left) Prince William, Prince Harry and The Prince of Wales (far right) watch the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales, leave Westminster Abbey following her funeral. 23/08/02 : Britons rate the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, as the most significant event in the nation's history over the last 100 years, according to a survey published. More than 1,000 people were asked to take part in the poll, undertaken on behalf of the History Channel, with the death of Diana voted ahead of the outbreak of World War II and the winning of women's suffrage. (Photo by Sean Dempsey - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
(L-R) The Prince of Wales, Prince Harry, Earl Spencer, Prince William and the Duke of Edinburgh watch the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales, leave Westminster Abbey this afternoon (Saturday) following her funeral service. (Photo by Fiona Hanson - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: Prince Charles (R), former husband of Diana, their two sons, Harry (C) and William follow the hearse in a Limousine as the coffin of Princess of Wales, makes its way from Saint James's Palace to Kensington Palace, Diana's former home, 05 September in London on the eve of her funeral. Some 2 million people are expected to line the route of the funeral procession. (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) The area around Kensington Palace, covered with flowers shows the great popularity of Diana. (Photo by Jon Jones/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
Earl Charles Spencer, the younger brother of Princess Diana, stands with Prince William, Prince Harry, and Prince Charles at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, only seven days after she was killed in an automobile accident in Paris. At least a million people lined the streets of central London to watch the procession with Diana's coffin from Kensington Palace to Westminster Abbey. She was buried at Althorp House, the Spencer family home in Northamptonshire. (Photo by Peter Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
Guardsmen of the Prince of Wales Company of the Welsh Guards put Diana's casket in a hearse after the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, only seven days after she was killed in an automobile accident in Paris. The coffin was draped with the Royal Standard, the monarchy's flag, and topped with three wreaths, from Diana's sons and her brother. The Princess was buried at Althorp House, the Spencer family home in Northamptonshire. (Photo by Peter Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry and Earl of Althorp wait for Diana, the Princess of Wales' funeral cortege to arrive at St James' Palace. test 2 (Photo by David Giles - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Former husband of Diana Prince Charles (L) and their two sons Harry (C) and William wait in front of the Westminster Abbey in London after the funeral ceremony of Princess of Wales 06 September. WPA POOL (Photo credit should read JOEL ROBINE/AFP/Getty Images)
BALMORAL - SEPTEMBER: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, holds the hand of Prince Harry as they view bouquets of flowers left in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales in September 1997 in Balmoral, Scotland. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
LONDON- SEPTEMBER 6: (FILE PHOTO) Prince Harry stands outside Westminster Abbey at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales on September 6, 1997 in London, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
LONDON - SEPTEMBER 5: (FILE PHOTO) The Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry look at floral tributes to Diana, Princess of Wales outside Kensington Palace on September 5, 1997 in London, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
383207 02: Prince Charles, Right, Accepts Some Flowers From A Well-Wisher After He And His Sons Prince William, And Prince Harry, Left, Arrived At Kensington Palace To View Some Of The Flowers And Mementos Left In Memory Of Their Mother Princess Diana In London, Friday, Sept. 5, 1997. The Funeral For Princess Diana, Who Was Killed In A Car Crash In Paris Aug. 31, Will Be On Saturday At Westminster Abbey. (Photo By David Brauchli/Getty Images)
Prince William arriving at Aberdeen Airport to board a plane for London along with Prince Harry and his father, the Prince of Wales today (Friday). The Princes will attend the funeral of their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales at Westminster Abbey tomorrow. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
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Likewise, former BBC royal correspondent Michael D. Cole (who after leaving the BBC, worked as director of public affairs for Harrods, and thus also as a spokesman for its owner Mohamed Al-Fayed) suggests our remarkable interview with Le Van Than should be passed to British and French authorities as part of a formal request to reopen the Diana inquest as a cold case inquiry.

As a matter of urgency, this information should be conveyed to an officer of the court. If it is reported to the French police or the British police, then there will be the temptation, or the possibility anyway, that somehow the information will be buried.

But first of all, Mohamed Al-Fayed needs to know about it, and then the proper authorities need to know about it, and then, given the possibility that this gentleman will actually make an affidavit, make a sworn statement, as to what happened to him twenty-one years ago, nearly twenty-two years ago, then other people than me can make a
judgment about what to do.

But it certainly is prima facie cause for a new thoroughgoing look at what went on, because if this was going on, what else was going on?

Mohamed himself declined to be interviewed but through another spokesperson wrote a letter stating:

First, he [Mohamed] thanks you for giving him this opportunity to speak again on this subject and for couching your invitation in such pleasant and sympathetic terms. Second, he hopes he may decline your invitation in a similarly polite way without causing offence. The fact of the matter is that Mr. Al-Fayed spends his precious time with his family and therefore is not minded to submit to further interviews upon this very difficult subject for him and his whole family.

Yet there will always be those who simply wish the matter were closed. Many feel that opening an inquiry will do more harm than good. Those who take this position usually do so on the grounds that those involved have “suffered enough.”

Take for example, the words of Tiggy Legge-Bourke, nanny and companion to Prince William and his brother Prince Harry and a personal assistant to Prince Charles between 1993 and 1999: “I think it’s extremely hard on both the dukes. I wish everybody would just be quiet and let it all go to sleep,” she reluctantly said when contacted for this book.

One can, perhaps, not entirely fault Leggy-Bourke. After all, it is very human to wish for unpleasant truths and disruptive secrets to simply “go away.”

But that is what we cannot do.

For more, order "Diana: Case Solved" here.

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9 secrets about Princess Diana no one knew about until after her death
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9 secrets about Princess Diana no one knew about until after her death

She recorded her thoughts on tape

Much of what we know about Princess Diana’s personal life is thanks to audiotapes she recorded herself. Once she recognized her marriage to Prince Charles was falling apart, she documented her side of the story on a tape recorder and gave the tapes to her close friend, Dr. James Colthurst. He, in turn, gave them to journalist Andrew Morton so her words could get out to the public. From those tapes, Morton published the biography DIANA: Her True Story—In Her Own Words in 1992. No one knew Diana had a hand in the book’s production until after her death. Here are some more surprising facts you probably didn't know about Princess Diana.

(Reuters)

Her sister dated Prince Charles

There are definitely ways to improve your relationship with your sibling, but we’re not sure if sharing a boyfriend is one of them. Before Diana and Charles started going steady, he dated her sister, Sarah. She introduced the two when Diana was just 16 and takes credit for their falling in love, calling herself Cupid.

(Getty)

Her grandmother worked for the queen

As prominent a public figure as Queen Elizabeth is, there’s still a lot that the public doesn’t know about her. One of those more intriguing bits of trivia is that the Queen Mother was close friends with Princess Diana’s grandmother, Ruth Fermoy. She was one of Her Majesty’s ladies-in-waiting and later held the title Woman of the Bedchamber, which meant that she was the Queen’s right-hand woman and assisted with important social engagements. Here are some more facts (and scandals!) you never knew about Queen Elizabeth II.

(Getty)

She and her husband were related

The royal family tree can get pretty complicated, but don’t worry, there’s nothing incestuous about this marriage. Princess Di and Prince Charles were distantly related. Specifically, they were 16th cousins once removed, through King Henry VII.

(Getty)

She had a poor sex life

In her tape recordings, Princess Diana discussed her married life in great detail, even calling her wedding day “the worst day of her life.” Specifically, she talked at length about her lack of a sex life, saying that she and her husband had sex but it was “very odd.” By the time she made the recordings, their sex life had been going downhill for seven years. She went on to say, “There was no requirement for (sex) from his case. Sort of once every three weeks… and I kept thinking it followed a pattern. He used to see his lady (Camilla) once every three weeks before we got married.” Learn more about the real story of what happened between Charles and Diana.

(Getty)

She messed up her wedding vows

In hindsight, Princess Diana messing up her wedding vows may seem like a sign her marriage was bound to fail, but in reality, she just caught a case of wedding day jitters. During the vows, she called her husband “Philip Charles” instead of “Charles Philip,” mixing up his first and middle names. Here are some more little mistakes that happened on royal wedding days.

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She ate in the kitchen

It was against royal family etiquette to eat in the kitchen with staffers and not in a dining room, but Princess Diana was no stranger to breaking protocol. Her personal chef, Darren McGrady, said she would just walk into the kitchen and eat at a countertop while he tidied up, which was unheard of coming from any royal. She would even make coffee for the two of them. Check out these stunning, rarely seen photos of the People's Princess.

(Getty)

She attempted suicide

One of the most troubling revelations from Princess Diana’s audiotapes was that she struggled with depression and even attempted to take her own life. She said in her recordings, “I was so depressed, and I was trying to cut my wrists with razor blades.” She also talked about having bulimia and that the eating disorder started after Prince Charles put his hand on her waist and said, “A bit chubby here, aren’t we?”

(Getty)

She was harassed by the paparazzi

With three new documentaries about Princess Diana set to premiere, Prince William and Prince Harry are opening up about their memories of their mother. Some are uplifting, like how she involved them in her charitable work. But their recollections of Diana dealing with the paparazzi are disturbing. As Prince William says in the ITV and HBO documentary, Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy: “If you are the Princess of Wales and you’re a mother, I don’t believe being chased by 30 guys on motorbikes who block your path, who spit at you to get a reaction from you and make a woman cry in public to get a photograph, is appropriate. Harry and I, we had to live through that.” Here's how Prince Harry and Prince William are keeping their mother's memory alive twenty years after her death.

(Getty)

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