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A face encounter with Prince William prompted an SAS soldier to make the extraordinary claim that Princess Diana was murdered by a member of the elite unit.
After taking William on an SAS advanced driving course in 2008, the former sniper, known only as Soldier N, went home and confided to his wife that Diana was assassinated in an alleged plot.
He calmly told his wife that she was killed when a bright light was shone into the Paris tunnel moments before the crash.
He swore his wife to secrecy but, confused and upset, she later blurted out the astonishing tale to her mum – insisting that she was convinced he was telling the truth.
A source said last night: “If it was not for Prince William being given driving lessons by the SAS, these allegations might never have emerged.”
The soldier’s wife, who is now divorced from him, was interviewed by Scotland Yard cops last month.
She said: “It was the time that Prince William was doing some sort of SAS training in cars. [Soldier N] had been doing some car stunts, shooting out of windows and had been showing Prince William how to do it.
“We were talking about it and I was saying how lovely it was that Princes William and Harry were doing so well and that it was sad that their mum wasn’t here to see it.
“Then he said one of the guys was responsible for the accident, for the death of Diana. I was shocked. I believed what he said.
“He went on to tell me that it had to be done in a tunnel, that people had been monitoring them [Diana and Dodi Fayed]… a light was shone in the driver’s eyes.
“He also said that it very nearly didn’t happen. When I asked how anyone could do something like that he said, ‘It’s an order, a job’s a job’. He said that it had to happen in the tunnel to guarantee death. He said that it looked bad so they left.”
The wife also told detectives that her husband had claimed that the “hit” had been carried out on the orders of individuals within the royal inner circle because they didn’t approve of Diana’s relationship with Dodi.
Soldier N told his wife that a former colleague, who had since left the SAS, was involved in the plot and that a motorbike and white car were used.
Crucially, the wife said that Soldier N had confided in her nearly two years before the breakdown of their relationship when all was fine between them. Asked why she didn’t report it earlier, she said that her husband had “told me to keep quiet, not tell anyone”.
The allegations were first passed on to Dyfed Powys Police in September 2011 in a letter from the mother-in-law after her daughter’s marriage broke up, but the police didn’t act on the information until it came to light through a court martial in July.
It has also emerged that the wife wrote to David Cameron – with copies to head of the Army General Sir Peter Wall and
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond – in February about Soldier N’s threatening behaviour following the breakdown of their marriage.
At the same time she informed him about the alleged Diana plot. She received acknowledgements from Downing Street and General Wall but neither made any mention of Diana.
Dodi’s father Mohammed Al Fayed has always insisted his son and Diana were murdered by the British establishment in a conspiracy involving MI6. He is convinced that a white Fiat, which smashed into the Mercedes but was never traced, was involved, along with a motorcyclist.
But the inquest into Diana and Dodi’s death ruled that the couple were unlawfully killed because of gross negligence by Henri Paul, who is said to have taken a cocktail of booze and pills.