Princess DianaPrincess Diana’s sister has been ordered to search her family’s ancestral home for extremely sensitive documents that could expose the Royal Family.
The coroner at the ongoing inquest into the princess’ death has asked Lady Sarah McCorquodale to organize a search of Althorp, the Spencer family’s home, for the documents, including reportedly “nasty” letters from Prince Philip.
The inquest has already heard that Philip ordered the murders of Diana and her lover Dodi Fayed to prevent them from marrying.
On Jan 29, Diana’s friend Simone Simmons, told the jury that the letters from the Duke are central to the allegations that he had a motive for wanting his daughter-in-law dead.
Coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker has ordered that their full contents should not be discussed in court, reports the Daily Express.
Lady Sarah, along with a police officer who investigated Diana’s butler Paul Burrell in a failed prosecution five years ago for theft of her belongings, gave conflicting accounts of what had happened to the items, which Diana called the “Crown Jewels”.
The pair agreed that at least some were stored in a wooden chest, dubbed Pandora’s Box, that Diana kept in her Kensington Palace sitting room.
Lady Sarah said that she entrusted the "Pandora's box" of secrets to Burrell in the aftermath of the fatal Paris car crash.
She said its contents were given to Burrell, but the sensitive documents - including Diana's divorce papers and tapes alleging blackmail and rape in the royal household - have never been seen since.
In contrast, Detective Inspector Roger Milburn said Lady Sarah told him in November 2000 that Prince Philip’s letters had been in the box she gave to Burrell. When he searched Burrell’s Cheshire home, they were not found.
Asked by Michael Mansfield QC, representing Dodi’s father Mohamed Al Fayed, where the items were now, Mr Milburn said: “Obviously somebody has still got them.”
Mansfield pressed: “As a public official, do you find that items of this sensitivity, which you are being asked to track down, are missing – is it a matter of concern to you that they, to this day, are still missing?” He replied: “It’s an unanswered question, yes.”
The jury heard it suggested that Lady Sarah or her mother Frances Shand Kydd might have destroyed the Philip letters.
However, Lady Sarah insisted that though some letters were destroyed, but “nothing historical was ever shredded”.