Princess Diana planned move abroad, court told

LONDON (Reuters) - Princess Diana told one of her closest journalist confidants that she planned to quit Britain, the inquest into her death was told on Thursday.

File photo from September 25, 1995, shows Britain's late Princess Diana. Diana told one of her closest journalist confidants that she planned to quit Britain, the inquest into her death was told on Thursday. REUTERS/Handout

She also planned to wind down her campaign to abolish landmines and concentrate on setting up an international network of hospices, the Daily Mail’s former royal correspondent Richard Kay said.

He was speaking at the inquest into the deaths of Diana and her lover Dodi al-Fayed, killed in August 1997 when their chauffeur-driven limousine crashed at speed in a Paris road tunnel while being pursued by paparazzi.

Kay, who spoke to Diana for the last time just hours before she was killed, was asked if she wanted to leave Britain.

Kay said she told him “My destiny is to go abroad.”

The world’s most photographed woman said she was keen to escape being relentlessly pursued by paparazzi.

But she had rejected suggestions that she wanted to set up home in the Villa Windsor in Paris, the former home of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor after the British monarch had abdicated to marry the American divorcee.

“She made it clear to me that it was not a place she would consider living in,” Kay told the court.

“She used a phrase -- something like it was full of old ghosts. To her it was a museum, not a home.”

Kay said he had come to the conclusion over the past decade that Diana’s affair with Dodi al-Fayed would not have lasted.

“It is more likely that they would not have married and that the relationship would have run its course,” he said.

Dodi’s father Mohamed al-Fayed, owner of the Harrods luxury store in London, says Diana and his son were killed by British security services on the orders of Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband and father of Diana’s ex-husband, Prince Charles.

Fayed alleges the killing was ordered because the royal family did not want the mother of the future king having a child with his son. He says Diana’s body was embalmed to cover up evidence she was expecting a baby.

Diana had visited Bosnia and Angola to publicize a campaign against landmines. Kay said he believed she wanted to visit southeast Asia and then wind down her involvement.

“Having done that, she felt she would have been to the most significant landmine zones of the world and she could have drawn a line under that aspect of her life,” he said.

Her charity concerns would then have switched direction.

“She told me that she had been discussing with Mr al-Fayed senior the possibility of setting up some form of worldwide hospice network which he, she indicated, was prepared to financially underwrite.”