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Hearing transcripts

12 December 2007 - Afternoon session

1 Wednesday, 12th December 2007
2 (2.00 pm)
3 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: I call Countess Spencer.
4 RAINE, COUNTESS SPENCER (sworn)
5 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: Would you like to sit down?
6 Questions from MR BURNETT
7 MR BURNETT: Now, Lady Spencer, I shall be asking you
8 questions first on behalf of the Coroner, as I have
9 explained before we started, and then there may be
10 questions from other counsel representing other parties.
11 Are you Raine Countess Spencer?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Are you the widow of Earl Spencer, the father of Diana,
14 Princess of Wales?
15 A. Yes, I am.
16 Q. Thus you were the Princess of Wales' stepmother and
17 stepmother to her three siblings, Lady Sarah
18 McCorquodale, Lady Jane Fellowes and the current
19 Earl Spencer?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. I think it is right, Lady Spencer, that you made
22 a statement dealing with matters that may be of
23 relevance to the inquests on 12th November this year to
24 Metropolitan Police officers.
25 A. Yes.

1

1 Q. You have a copy of that statement in front of you,
2 I see. Am I right in thinking that this statement, made
3 as it is ten years after the events, is the first time
4 that you have been asked to remember in detail
5 the events leading up to the tragedy in August 1997?
6 A. Yes, it is.
7 Q. Thus would I be right in assuming that you will ask us
8 to remember that you are doing best to recollect events
9 that are now long ago?
10 A. Yes. Thank you, sir.
11 Q. You met the late Earl Spencer, you say, in 1973 and then
12 were married in 1976; is that correct?
13 A. That is correct.
14 Q. It is right, is it not, that your relationship with his
15 children was not an altogether happy one during
16 the course of your marriage?
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. But in the years following his death, you re-established
19 a cordial relationship with the Princess of Wales; that
20 is right, is it?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. I wonder if you could tell us in which year Earl Spencer
23 died.
24 A. It is about 13 or 14 years ago now. I am afraid
25 I cannot remember the exact date; 1993, perhaps it was.

2

1 Q. Now, it is right, isn't it, that you and the late
2 Lord Spencer were long-standing friends of
3 Mohamed Al Fayed?
4 A. Yes, we were.
5 Q. Are you able to recollect the circumstances in which you
6 first met Mr Al Fayed?
7 A. Yes, very clearly. We were staying at the Ritz in
8 Paris, where we had stayed for many years before, and
9 suddenly Mr Frank Klein, who I gather has already given
10 evidence to this court, came to us -- who we knew
11 well -- came to us and said, "Would you like to meet
12 the new owner?", which of course we were delighted to
13 do.
14 He thereupon introduced us to Mr Al Fayed. He and
15 John got on very well almost immediately, and he asked
16 us if we would open his Ritz Escoffier School of
17 Cooking, which he had decided to establish in the Ritz.
18 We hardly had time to even think of clever phrases in
19 French, you know, before we went down and literally cut
20 a tape and opened it. From then on, somehow, it broke
21 the ice and we became good friends, not only with
22 Mr Al Fayed but also his wife and family.
23 Q. Now, we have heard from Mr Klein that Mr Al Fayed
24 acquired the Ritz, from my recollection, in 1979, so
25 this places the events at 1979 or 1980 or some time

3

1 around then. Is that right?
2 A. Probably, yes, I am sorry. I am not very good on exact
3 dates, recollecting them.
4 Q. Please don't worry about that.
5 After that initial meeting, you and Mr Al Fayed and
6 your late husband and Mr Al Fayed's family, as you say,
7 became quite close and really became family friends. Is
8 that a fair assessment?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. During that time would it also be right to assume that
11 Mr Al Fayed, from time to time, met other members of
12 the Spencer family, including the Princess of Wales?
13 A. Let me think. Yes, there would have been a time lag
14 because -- you mentioned 1979, I think probably quite
15 rightly, but some of the Spencers, including Diana and
16 her brother, were quite young then and still at school.
17 So there would have been a certain time lag.
18 Q. Yes, I see. Well, you have told us that Lord Spencer
19 died in about 1993. It is right, isn't it, that
20 thereafter you remarried, but it was a marriage that did
21 not survive very long?
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. When you returned to London, the Princess of Wales and
24 you had a lunch with Mr Al Fayed. That would have been
25 in about 1996, I think; is that right?

4

1 A. Yes, I am sorry. I really was not expecting all of
2 these dates or I would have looked them up again.
3 Q. Don't worry, I am taking these dates from your
4 statement, essentially, so I am assuming that they were
5 correct when you first gave them.
6 Now in the interval, had Mr Al Fayed lent you
7 a house on his Scottish estate?
8 A. Yes, that was -- he was very, very sweet to me when John
9 died. He was absolutely wonderful and either he or
10 Michael Cole, who is in the court today, would ring up
11 very frequently to know if I was all right, because of
12 course I was not, I was devastated, and I felt
13 the bottom had fallen out of my world and I felt very
14 alone, for the first time in my life really. So Mohamed
15 was such a fantastic friend, he really was, and so was
16 Michael and still is. So I was very lucky.
17 Then, when I was engaged to a French man, with whom
18 I am still enormously close friends, although we are not
19 married anymore, for part of our honeymoon, he lent us
20 a house near Balnagown on his estate in Scotland.
21 Q. In 1996, if we can move forward, you have told us that
22 you had a lunch with Mohamed Al Fayed and the Princess.
23 Am I right in thinking that part of the discussion over
24 lunch centred on the fact that you did not feel you had
25 enough to do in your life at that time?

5

1 A. Absolutely correct. I do not want, your Lordship, to
2 bore the court, but it was just that all my life --
3 I was 18 years in local government, 16 years in tourism,
4 which was a government appointment, and I had always
5 worked in some way, and I was just doing voluntary work,
6 but I felt very sort of bereft, you know without
7 a husband and without a job. Diana jokingly said,
8 "Isn't it terrible about Raine? She is not doing
9 anything. What can we do about it?" And Mohamed --
10 there was just the three of us -- said, "Oh, I know,
11 I will give her a job". As he always makes great jokes,
12 we thought he was joking, so we sort of burst out
13 laughing, and said, "Oh come on, he didn't really mean
14 it", and so on and so on.
15 Q. But he did mean it --
16 A. He did, he did.
17 Q. -- because a fortnight later he invited you to become
18 a director of Harrods International Limited?
19 A. That is right.
20 Q. And that was an appointment you accepted?
21 A. Yes, and I have been there ten years.
22 Q. I think it is right also that since then you have become
23 a director of Harrods Management Limited and also
24 Harrods Estate Limited.
25 A. That is right, yes.

6

1 Q. You mentioned already, Lady Spencer, that your
2 relationship with the late Princess of Wales was
3 restored following the death of her father.
4 A. At her instigation.
5 Q. I would like now to ask you a little bit about that. In
6 the last year of her life, so one is looking at 1996 and
7 1997, generally how often would you speak to the
8 Princess of Wales?
9 A. Well, it is hard to say exactly, but we had become very
10 close friends and she always said that I had no hidden
11 agenda. I think that so many people, because she was so
12 popular and so world-famous, wanted something out of
13 her. They wanted her to open the bazaar or visit
14 the children's home or do all the things which she so
15 generously and readily did, but it was a very draining
16 life, and also she did not really have anyone at that
17 stage in whom she could confide without being afraid
18 that they might make use of it in some way, sadly.
19 So I feel so happy, your Lordship, that at that
20 particular point in her life, when she really was very,
21 very down, that I was able perhaps to help her a little.
22 She would ring up and at a very short notice would come
23 round and sit in my house on the sofa or talk or ring up
24 and say -- or plan ahead, even, for lunches. And she
25 wanted us to be seen in public, which was so nice.

7

1 I mean knowing that we had had this sort of froideur for
2 many years, she wanted now to make it quite clear that
3 we were close friends.
4 Q. Did you have any discussion with her in general terms
5 about intimate matters, matters of the Princess's
6 private life, or were they not things she discussed?
7 A. Very much, very much. Certain things she told me which
8 I could never say because, after all, if people are dead
9 and then, you know, they still would not want all --
10 very intimate things to be told, unless they were
11 completely relevant to this court, when obviously I will
12 do my best to comply with your requests.
13 Q. Now did the Princess speak to you about the visit to
14 St Tropez to stay with Mr Al Fayed?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did she ask for your advice on whether she should go?
17 A. Absolutely.
18 Q. Can you remember how long in advance of the visit this
19 was?
20 A. No, but possibly after the invitation, two weeks/three
21 weeks, ten days, something like that.
22 Q. So did she ask you in particular to make any enquiries
23 about the arrangements that would be made in St Tropez?
24 A. Absolutely.
25 Q. What was the issue that she wished you to find out for

8

1 her?
2 A. She rang and said she had been invited, and I knew she
3 was worried about the holidays. You see, your Lordship,
4 if I may just say, you have to remember that having had,
5 I suppose at her behest or request, any number of houses
6 to go to when she was married to His Royal Highness
7 the Prince of Wales, suddenly she did not really have
8 anywhere to go in the holidays to take the children. If
9 you can see how important that is as a subject, because
10 she wanted them to be in the country, to be away
11 somewhere, to have fun, and so she was very excited
12 about this invitation from Mr and Mrs Al Fayed.
13 I did not even know they had a house in St Tropez,
14 actually, so I immediately rang my friend,
15 Michael Cole -- sitting behind there -- and asked him to
16 tell me a little bit about it, which he then did.
17 I then passed this on to Diana, but I made it very clear
18 to her that I thought she ought to make her own decision
19 because I was then in a rather difficult position as
20 I then worked for Mohamed and was a very good friend of
21 the family and also was Diana's stepmother. I felt
22 it was impossible for me to give objective advice and,
23 also, I did not know the house. So she very much made
24 her own decision about that, which then ended in the
25 fateful meeting.

9

1 Q. Did you know Dodi before that holiday in St Tropez? Was
2 he someone you knew personally?
3 A. Only a little, sir, the real reason being that I believe
4 at that time he was a great deal in America. I say
5 "I believe" because I was not privy to his movements.
6 But he did around that time -- please don't press me for
7 a date -- spend more time in England because I knew that
8 he had an office in what is 102 Knightsbridge and he
9 was -- sorry, let me start again.
10 On the sixth floor of 102, which was a building that
11 belonged to Mohamed, there are offices of product
12 development. Product development, sir, for the court's
13 information, is objects which are marked as Harrods; for
14 example, a pen or glasses or a bag, such-and-such, which
15 are developed to be sold in Harrods, and they are
16 designed by a team at product development. I used to go
17 there quite frequently to chat to them, to perhaps give
18 a few ideas and so on. Dodi, at that time, had an
19 office there and used to come fairly frequently.
20 I cannot tell you how frequently. I had also met him at
21 Oxted --
22 Q. That is Mr Al Fayed's --
23 A. His house in Surrey. He was an absolutely charming
24 person. Very sweet, very quiet, very modest, as I have
25 said in my witness statement, with beautiful manners.

10

1 If I can give you just an example, if your Lordship
2 allows me, because it sort of sets the scene by what
3 kind of person he was. I remember one day I was walking
4 along the side of the street -- I think it was South
5 Audley Street -- and Dodi was the other side and he saw
6 me, and he deliberately crossed over, which was not
7 the way he wanted to go, in order to come and say
8 "Hello".
9 Q. The language you use in your statement, which may
10 summarise the sentiment you are expressing, is that:
11 "Dodi was very quiet and gentle. He had exquisite
12 manners and was utterly charming."
13 That is your summary of how you perceived him --
14 A. Exactly, but I did not know him well.
15 Q. Did you have any contact with the Princess of Wales
16 after she returned from St Tropez; that is to say after
17 the holiday with the boys?
18 A. Very much so. She could not wait to tell me all about
19 it.
20 Q. We have heard from others already that she had great fun
21 and so did they.
22 A. She had a fantastic time. She really enjoyed it.
23 Q. We have also heard some evidence already about Dodi
24 going down to join the party at St Tropez. As far as
25 you are aware, was that the first time that they had met

11

1 properly -- no doubt they may have met in the past --
2 but met properly and spent time together?
3 A. I assumed that, but I do not know whether she had met
4 him previously in Harrods. Ironically, if I may say,
5 I never went shopping in Harrods because I was too busy
6 in local government and tourism. It was my husband who
7 adored Harrods and practically lived there. Diana also
8 went to Harrods endlessly, and with him sometimes, with
9 John. So if they met Dodi there, which they might well
10 have -- because I know she used to see Mohamed quite
11 a lot there and so did John, but I am afraid I am not
12 aware of it.
13 Q. When did you learn that the Princess intended to go on
14 a second holiday, this time with Dodi on the yacht?
15 A. Well, this, as far as I can recall, sir -- because you
16 must remember this ten-year gap is now sort of going to
17 weigh in -- as far as I can recall, it was very shortly
18 after the St Tropez trip because I remember -- I hope
19 you don't mind, I keep looking at my friend, Michael,
20 because he has a memory like 20 elephants. He remembers
21 every detail -- and I talked to him almost straightaway
22 about that and, you know, just felt happy that there was
23 another lovely invitation, something interesting for her
24 to do.
25 Q. You were aware, I think, after the Princess's return

12

1 from St Tropez that she and Dodi were seeing each other
2 for dinner and so forth in London after their return?
3 A. Yes, somewhat later. After the second trip I think
4 I became aware because, after all, the Princess did have
5 a lot of gentlemen only too anxious to take her out and
6 I had no idea whether it was just a casual dinner,
7 cinema, whatever.
8 Q. In your statement you say this:
9 "I was amazed when ten days after their return, Dodi
10 asked Diana to go on the boat for a holiday with him."
11 A. There you are. It is ten days. It is in the statement,
12 I am sorry.
13 Q. Don't worry about that. I was just interested to know
14 why you were amazed.
15 A. Why was I amazed? Why was I amazed? I suppose, you
16 know, suddenly to go on holiday -- but there were
17 probably going to be other people there -- with
18 somebody ... no, I do not know why. I cannot think.
19 I am sorry, sir, not to answer that very clearly.
20 It was fun, it was exciting, but it sounded as
21 though -- perhaps I said "amazed" because perhaps I felt
22 maybe there will be something to this, serious. Do you
23 see what I mean?
24 Q. Yes.
25 A. The ways of the heart are impossible to fathom, aren't

13

1 they, even with our closest friends?
2 Q. That may be right, but I wonder whether you were aware
3 that for the preceding quite long period, the Princess
4 had been seeing Hasnat Khan in what has been described
5 as a very serious relationship. Is that something you
6 were aware of?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did the Princess speak to you about that?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did she speak to you about the possibility of marrying
11 Hasnat Khan?
12 A. No.
13 Q. She never spoke to you about that?
14 A. No.
15 Q. As far as you are aware, was the relationship with
16 Hasnat Khan still extant in the summer of 1997?
17 A. I did not know.
18 Q. You just don't know?
19 A. I do not know.
20 Q. Did the Princess speak to you at all whilst away on her
21 first trip on the Jonikal, do you remember?
22 A. I am so sorry, I did not quite hear.
23 Q. I am sorry. Did the Princess speak to you whilst she
24 was away on that trip on the Jonikal?
25 A. No. No.

14

1 Q. I am just reminding myself of the dates because we have
2 this fairly clearly established, that the Princess and
3 Dodi returned to England on 6th August. So can I now
4 just ask you to wind forward to that stage?
5 You say in your statements that the Princess spoke
6 to you about Dodi on many occasions following her
7 return. So that, I infer, is after 6th August.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. What was --
10 A. After the second trip, not after St Tropez.
11 Q. So we had better make sure we are talking about the same
12 events. We have the St Tropez trip, which is with the
13 princes.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Then we have the cruise on the Jonikal, which finished
16 on 6th August, and then there is later a second cruise
17 on the Jonikal. I think we will see that you did not
18 speak to her during that period.
19 A. No, sorry, I am confused about the cruises.
20 Q. Please don't worry.
21 What was the sense that you got from the Princess
22 following her return from the cruise; that is to say on
23 the 6th August and thereafter?
24 A. Well, I am so sorry, your Lordship, I am really being
25 very bad about all of these dates.

15

1 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: Don't worry about the dates.
2 A. I so dislike boats myself, I never know the names of
3 boats. I did not know it was called that.
4 At some stage -- may I put it like that because
5 obviously I want to be completely truthful -- she
6 started talking a great deal about Dodi, and it then
7 became very clear that she was having lots of dinners
8 and outings and wonderful times with him and that he was
9 being very sweet to her and that they were extremely
10 happy.
11 This was before -- she told me this many times --
12 before that last telephone call, which is mentioned in
13 my witness statement, which is in the August before
14 the fatal September. But I cannot -- I am sorry,
15 I really cannot say to you now, after all these years,
16 that it was May, July, April, whatever. It is just
17 completely ...
18 Q. I am simply focusing on what the Princess was saying to
19 you about Dodi after she had been away on the boat trip.
20 A. No, I do understand. I am sorry if I am not being as
21 helpful as I should.
22 Q. Were you able to make an assessment, from what she said
23 to you, about how she felt for Dodi?
24 A. Oh yes, he was very special. One of the things which
25 made him so special -- and I do say it in the witness

16

1 statement; I think it is on the third page, later on, or
2 fourth page -- was that he always wanted to make her
3 happy, he wanted to please her. As I think I have
4 intimated earlier, her life was a great strain with
5 always somebody wanting something. Do you know?
6 I, in my small, way was in public life for so many
7 years, and there is always somebody wanting you to do
8 this, do that, do the next thing, solve a problem, open
9 the bazaar, visit the hospital, et cetera, et cetera,
10 which of course is only a pleasure and a duty if you are
11 a councillor and it is your job to look after your
12 people. But with her it was so extreme that to meet
13 a man who then wanted to please her and only do what she
14 wanted to do and think up wonderful outings and lovely
15 dinners and wonderful holidays was suddenly the most
16 marvellous thing to happen to her.
17 Q. At this stage they had been going out together, if I can
18 use a rather unimaginative phrase, for two or three
19 weeks; something of that sort. Were you able to form
20 any impression, from what the Princess was saying to
21 you, about what you thought was likely to happen, where
22 the romance was going?
23 A. Well, in my view, it was certainly getting stronger and
24 stronger and stronger and they were certainly getting
25 closer.

17

1 Q. Did you and the Princess discuss whether she had any
2 developing or fixed plans as far as Dodi was concerned?
3 A. Diana was very secretive in some ways and she was
4 the kind of person in some ways who would say she was
5 going to do one thing and then do quite the opposite
6 because she was very worried about people knowing too
7 much about her, because everybody obviously wanted to
8 know too much about her, so she never said precisely.
9 Q. Did you know whether Dodi was free and single?
10 A. I really knew very little about him. As I have said in
11 my witness statement and to you, sir, I really knew very
12 little about his private life, but I imagined he must be
13 completely single to take her out as much as he did.
14 Q. In your statement you say, in respect of this period --
15 so we are after the first boat trip, if I can locate
16 it -- that:
17 "Diana was madly in love with him. Diana's life was
18 a great strain. She had suddenly met someone who adored
19 her and whom she found attractive. It may be that she
20 was on the rebound from Hasnat Khan. I do not know."
21 Again does that summarise how you perceived it to be
22 at that time?
23 A. Absolutely.
24 Q. Can I take you to the last time that you spoke to
25 the Princess, which you tell us was in mid-August,

18

1 shortly before she was to go to Greece with
2 Rosa Monckton. Where were you at that time?
3 A. I was in Antibes.
4 Q. That was holidaying, presumably?
5 A. Yes. I was staying with a great friend, who has now
6 unfortunately died, called Madame Michelle Policier(?),
7 whose husband actually was a lawyer for one of the -- I
8 think for President Pompidou or one of the presidents of
9 France -- and she had a beautiful house in Antibes and
10 there was a big house party and she very kindly invited
11 me to stay.
12 Q. Did the Princess get hold of the telephone number for
13 that house and give you a call just before she was to go
14 away with Rosa Monckton?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Forgive me if I help you with dates on this occasion, we
17 know that she went with Rosa Monckton to the Greek Isles
18 on 15th August. Are you able to recollect how long you
19 had been in Antibes before the Princess telephoned you?
20 A. No, not at all. I was only there for five days or
21 something like that.
22 Q. Did she talk to you on that occasion about Dodi, as far
23 as you can recollect?
24 A. Very much so.
25 Q. Did you have a short or a long telephone discussion with

19

1 her?
2 A. Well, I have said in my witness statement, sir, it was
3 about an hour. I was quite surprised because I think
4 I had only left my telephone number with one person and
5 I was quite surprised when she rang up.
6 Q. What was she saying to you about Dodi on that occasion,
7 as far as you can remember?
8 A. Well, at that stage, which is in my witness statement,
9 she was very effusive, very excited about him, very --
10 incredibly happy, and she said really she had never been
11 so happy for years. She was really blissful. That was
12 the moment when I really felt that it was highly likely
13 that she and Dodi would get engaged and then married.
14 Q. Did she talk to you about gifts that Dodi had given her?
15 A. Not then, but on previous occasions.
16 Q. So when, in England after the first trip?
17 A. Well, I do not remember when, but in England sometime.
18 Q. Are you able to recollect at all what gifts she
19 mentioned to you?
20 A. No.
21 Q. In your statement, if I might ask you just to look at it
22 with me, page 3, Lady Spencer --
23 A. Yes, I said vaguely maybe a watch or something --
24 I think vaguely.
25 Q. You talk about:

20

1 "She told me that he had given her a lovely watch
2 and a ring. I believe she did show the items to me.
3 Although I can no longer describe them in detail, gold
4 and diamonds come to mind."
5 A. Yes, exactly. That is all I can say really.
6 Q. So this would have followed the Princess' return on
7 6th August from the cruise and before you went to
8 Antibes, presumably?
9 A. Maybe, maybe.
10 Q. Now you have said that you formed the impression that
11 they would in due course get married. Was that
12 something the Princess herself said or is this a close
13 friend divining what is likely to happen from the tone
14 and nature of what has been said?
15 A. I think you put it beautifully, sir. I think it is more
16 a close friend divining. Diana would never have said.
17 Don't you see, even though she trusted me completely,
18 it was too newsworthy a thing to admit to anybody that
19 she had made any kind of decision of that nature.
20 Q. So that I understand clearly, it is really the result of
21 the description of her being so happy and the kind
22 things she was saying about Dodi that led you to that
23 type of thinking?
24 A. Yes, absolutely. I think -- could I say something here?
25 It is awfully hard for people who are not so in the news

21

1 to understand how terribly sensitive they have to be
2 about any item whatsoever of interest being mentioned to
3 anyone that could be leaked to the press. I suppose
4 this happens with pop stars and celebrities and people
5 who call themselves celebrities nowadays. So obviously
6 they are very, very, very careful about what they say to
7 even family, relations, close friends, et cetera.
8 If I could just divert to prove my point? John and
9 I used to be asked the most incredibly impertinent
10 questions about not only Diana, but the rest of the
11 Royal Family, do you know, and people used to listen
12 agog at dinner parties waiting for our reply.
13 We developed a reply which always amused Diana very
14 much, when we used to say, "It is very kind of you to
15 ask. I am afraid we cannot possibly answer that because
16 we know too much". It always annoyed people very much
17 indeed, which was quite deliberate, because the
18 questions were extraordinarily impertinent.
19 She had that kind of question all the time and
20 it was very, very hard. So she had steeled herself
21 really to say nothing to anybody, which was very, very
22 sensible, and I was very flattered when she told me
23 anything, but I never asked.
24 Q. Now, I take it then that, in the light of what you have
25 just explained to us, there was no question of the

22

1 Princess mentioning to you that she was pregnant?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Do you believe that the Princess would have got pregnant
4 or allowed herself to get pregnant outside of marriage?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Why not, Lady Spencer?
7 A. Because she was brought up in quite an old-fashioned
8 way. Many, many years have gone by now and I do not
9 personally believe she would have considered it. It
10 would have been out of the question for her. But I do
11 not know if she was or not.
12 Q. If the Princess had any plans or any significant news,
13 is there anybody who you believe she definitely would
14 have involved in her plans?
15 A. Well I think you must be referring to Paul Burrell,
16 which I have mentioned in my witness statement, because
17 he was terribly close to her. He was terribly loyal to
18 her. He was really wonderful to her. Of course, being
19 the butler, he knew everything that went on in
20 the house; who came, who went, who stayed, who did not,
21 and nothing really went on without his knowledge.
22 Q. Are you confident, then, that Paul Burrell would not
23 have been excluded from any plans that the Princess
24 might have had?
25 A. I do not think the word is -- I cannot go with that word

23

1 "confident", the reason being that, as I have said
2 earlier, Diana not only was secretive, she was obliged
3 to be secretive by her circumstances.
4 Q. Most of the words I used came from your statement, so
5 can I just read you a little part of it and ask you to
6 either confirm it or qualify it?
7 "I have been asked whether Diana would have excluded
8 Paul Burrell from any of her plans for the future. No.
9 He was her rock and she would not have excluded him. He
10 knew everything and Diana was extremely fond of him.
11 Paul knew everything. If he did not know of it, it did
12 not happen."
13 A. That -- I completely stand by that, but I think you did
14 use the word "confident", which I do not think is in my
15 statement, to say "Are you confident that she would have
16 told him?" I cannot be confident of that.
17 Q. Now can I move to a different topic? That is
18 the question of the Princess's relationship with the
19 Royal Family. Is that a topic that she did discuss with
20 you from time to time?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. As a result of that, are you able to tell us what she
23 described as the approach of the Queen and the Duke of
24 Edinburgh?
25 A. I think I have said in my witness statement that

24

1 the Queen was -- Her Majesty the Queen was always
2 extremely nice to her, which she appreciated very much.
3 Q. It is on page 3, Lady Spencer, in the fifth paragraph.
4 Shall I read the sentence?
5 "She told me that Her Majesty the Queen had been
6 nice to her and that the Duke of Edinburgh had always
7 been very nice to her."
8 A. Yes, correct.
9 Q. You are aware, aren't you, that there are suggestions
10 afoot that the Duke of Edinburgh was far from nice to
11 her. What is your reaction to that?
12 A. Well, why don't you read the next two sentences because
13 I think that covers it?
14 Q. My problem, Lady Spencer, is that you are the one giving
15 evidence and not me.
16 A. I see. Well, I apologise. Would you like me to read it
17 instead?
18 "I have read the allegations about a letter she had
19 received from the Duke of Edinburgh but I did not quite
20 believe it. Diana never mentioned receiving any nasty
21 letters from him."
22 Q. Thank you. The next matter I would like to ask you
23 about is the question of the Princess expressing fears
24 that someone might harm her. Did she ever express such
25 fears to you?

25

1 A. She often mentioned accidents, but mainly helicopter
2 accidents, which I have put in my witness statement, not
3 car accidents.
4 Q. The language that you use in your statement is as
5 follows:
6 "I can say that she was quite obsessed by the idea
7 of accidents in general, primarily involving the
8 Princess of Wales. She often mentioned helicopter
9 crashes, never an accident involving a car."
10 A. Yes, absolutely true.
11 Q. Why do you use the word "obsessed"?
12 A. Because she mentioned it so often and it was all
13 connected with -- she felt her telephones were bugged
14 and her house was bugged, and she seemed always very
15 conscious of that, that she was being watched.
16 Q. Was it something that you took seriously when she spoke
17 of it?
18 A. Well, I accepted it, and because security nowadays, as
19 we all know, is very tight everywhere, I imagined that
20 perhaps all the royal palaces and houses where royalty
21 lived are monitored and bugged in all kinds of ways.
22 I do not know.
23 Q. I was not really asking you about the bugging. Again,
24 we have plenty of evidence that the Princess believed
25 that she was being listened to and conducted sweeps and

26

1 so forth at Kensington Palace.
2 A. Absolutely.
3 Q. But it is the obsession with accidents. By talking of
4 an obsession with accidents, I have assumed that you are
5 suggesting that she was saying to you that someone was
6 going to contrive an accident, rather than it being
7 a real accident, or is that not what you are meaning?
8 A. Your Lordship, it is a difficult thing to put this into
9 words but, you see, Diana was very interested
10 horoscopes -- I am too, I love reading my horoscope.
11 We all want the dark handsome gentleman to walk through
12 the door -- but there comes a time when, beyond fun, it
13 becomes too believable. Can I elaborate on this --
14 Q. Please do, yes.
15 A. -- to try and answer your question properly.
16 Now, to this end, I know -- and I think it is public
17 knowledge -- that she did go endlessly to these
18 different soothsayers, fortune-tellers -- and there was
19 one in particular -- to such an extent that she really
20 forced me to do it because she so believed in what was
21 being told her, which I did, to please her, you see.
22 But, you know, there comes a moment when you have to
23 make your own decisions and ignore what the soothsayers
24 say.
25 Also, your Lordship, it always makes me a bit

27

1 surprised that if they were so good, why did not one of
2 them say "Beware the ides of March", as in Shakespeare?
3 Why did not one of them actually foretell the horror of
4 the accident?
5 So she was taken up with listening to what these
6 people said, and it is my feeling that one of them could
7 have enlarged -- I do not say put the idea in her
8 mind -- but enlarged on these fears and heightened them.
9 MR BURNETT: I see. I am very grateful for that.
10 Lady Spencer, those are my questions. There will be
11 some more, very likely, from others.
12 A. I hope I have answered them -- I have to the best of my
13 ability, anyway, to your satisfaction, I hope.
14 MR BURNETT: Thank you.
15 Questions from MR MANSFIELD
16 MR MANSFIELD: Good afternoon. My name is
17 Michael Mansfield. I represent Mohamed Al Fayed.
18 I have a few questions. I will try to avoid dates, if
19 I may, except the ides of March.
20 If I can start with the ides of March, the point you
21 have just made about why didn't someone predict who she
22 was seeing, did you know that in fact at least two of
23 them did?
24 A. No, I did not know that.
25 Q. So --

28

1 A. Really?
2 Q. I do not know whether that helps, if you follow what
3 I am saying, but she obviously -- and please understand,
4 I am not going to press you for intimate details of any
5 kind. I just want to deal with it generally. If that
6 is right, and she had been told that, she did not tell
7 you that she had that foretold?
8 A. No, she did not, but she did very often discuss -- this
9 is why I mentioned it so strongly in the witness
10 statement -- she did very often discuss the possibility
11 of accidents --
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. -- all around her and with people round her, and
14 including, like I have said, His Royal Highness
15 the Prince of Wales.
16 Q. Now did she ever tell you that in fact she had written
17 these fears down and communicated them in a rather
18 precise form?
19 A. No.
20 Q. She never did?
21 A. No.
22 Q. It is public now, but I just ask you. You see, she
23 appears to have taken the matter so seriously that she
24 went to her solicitor, Lord Mishcon, and there was a
25 meeting, which was recorded, in which she spelled out

29

1 these fears.
2 A. I had heard that.
3 Q. But she did not tell you that she had already done that?
4 A. No, not that I can remember, to be honest.
5 Q. I follow that. She in fact tended to --
6 A. I was very interested, though, that she had gone to that
7 particular firm for a personal reason, that when I was
8 on the London County Council, Victor Mishcon was
9 a member as well and I always had a very high regard for
10 him. He was on opposing sides, but I always admired him
11 very much. So I was very interested in the fact that
12 she had chosen him as -- that firm as her solicitors.
13 Q. It tends to indicate, given the respect that you have
14 for Lord Mishcon, that she plainly was taking matters
15 very seriously.
16 A. Oh yes, absolutely.
17 Q. Beside the meeting that was noted -- it is public
18 knowledge now, but I just want to ask you -- were you
19 aware, during 1997, that in fact she had communicated
20 very much the same fears to the one person that you said
21 might know more about it than anyone else? That is
22 Paul Burrell.
23 A. No, I did not know, but I accept exactly what you say.
24 Q. I am only saying what is in the public domain. I think
25 you have implied it, but the situation between the two

30

1 of you was such -- and possibly between her and
2 others -- that she was very compartmentalised in
3 the amount of information that she gave to different
4 people. Is that fair?
5 A. Yes, I should think absolutely, yes.
6 Q. She did not always tell different people, as it were,
7 the same thing; in other words, she might give
8 a different impression to one person than she might give
9 to another?
10 A. I think I have actually rather said that already,
11 haven't I, to your learned friend?
12 Q. Well, you have implied it, certainly.
13 Well, what I want to follow through here is -- can I
14 take one or two topics which it would appear she
15 obviously did not discuss, or you have forgotten, if she
16 did.
17 In the summer of 1997, she did something quite
18 remarkable, at least in the public eye. I am not
19 talking about the holidays; something in the public
20 domain of a semi-political character.
21 A. Well, the landmines, it would have been.
22 Q. Yes. The visit in the summer was to Bosnia. Did she
23 talk about that before she went with you?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Did she talk about it when she came back?

31

1 A. I do not recall.
2 Q. Did she talk about the level of public criticism and
3 the source of it to you about that trip?
4 A. I do not recall any of that.
5 Q. Did she talk to you -- I am sorry, I am just going
6 through these things about what she obviously did not
7 talk to you about -- about what her fears were for
8 herself in relation to being associated with a landmines
9 campaign, by which I mean the banning of landmines? Did
10 she talk to you about those fears?
11 A. No, she did not.
12 Q. There is only one other item linked to that, and, of
13 course, your relationship had been rekindled, if I can
14 put it like that --
15 A. Absolutely.
16 Q. -- by the beginning of 1997, had it?
17 A. I am sorry, I just cannot --
18 Q. I promised no dates.
19 A. I cannot give you the dates. I think it must have been
20 before that because it was when I was engaged to my
21 French husband, and he came with me, the first time
22 I had lunch with her, at Kensington Palace, with
23 the rekindling, if you like to say. There were three of
24 us then, so it would have been much earlier.
25 Q. And your husband had died in 1992?

32

1 A. And I remarried in 1993. So therefore it must have been
2 in 199 -- Michael, who has a wonderful memory, will
3 remember. It must have been 1993, if you need your
4 dates, that --
5 Q. No, that is enough on dates. We have the picture.
6 A. It was at her instigation. She wrote a note to me
7 saying, "Please let's be friends and will you come to
8 lunch?" So then, from then on, our relationship became
9 very close.
10 Q. My reason for asking you this is that there was a much
11 more publicised visit abroad, again in connection with
12 landmines, at the beginning of 1997 to Angola. Did she
13 talk to you about that trip?
14 A. I really honestly don't remember.
15 Q. Again, if she had talked to you about that and her fears
16 in relation to that, in general terms, you probably
17 would have remembered that, if she was telling you about
18 her real fears on that?
19 A. She just had very general fears that all was not well,
20 that something was going to happen to her, that
21 accidents were all round the corner.
22 Q. Right.
23 A. At the time I remember being quite surprised because
24 it is not something that my mind would ever dwell on,
25 but she was very nervous altogether about her

33

1 circumstances at that period.
2 Q. Did she tell you where the source of her fears were
3 coming from, like a telephone call in February 1997?
4 Did she tell you about that?
5 A. No. I do not think so.
6 Q. You have mentioned monitoring. She felt she was being
7 followed, she felt her communications were being
8 monitored. Is that a fair description?
9 A. Absolutely, and it was a sort of undisclosed "they"; you
10 know, rather like in some terrible film, an undisclosed
11 "they" were wanting her out of the way. That -- no
12 question, she was very scared about that --
13 Q. And of course she -- sorry.
14 A. -- and constantly -- so sorry -- she constantly
15 mentioned about the soothsayers, you know, which
16 I really rather discounted because I am Virgo. I am
17 very terre a terre, practical.
18 Q. I will not tell you my birth sign.
19 A. Diana was Cancer, which is very creative. She played
20 the piano wonderfully and so on. But she did have these
21 fears which she sometimes found it quite hard to
22 describe precisely.
23 Q. In connection with this particular issue, that is
24 the monitoring of her, she had good reason to worry
25 about that, did she not? I do not know if you recall

34

1 whether you discussed this at any time.
2 A. Could you elaborate on that?
3 Q. Yes, I certainly can. I am not going to go into a lot
4 of detail. I am just going to put it to you.
5 Do you recall that a telephone call that she had
6 made to a certain individual had been eavesdropped,
7 bugged and was put in the public domain?
8 A. No, I do not think I do.
9 Q. If I put one word to you, "Squidgy tapes"?
10 A. No, no. She never discussed that.
11 Q. Never discussed it with you.
12 So you were not aware of the fact that undoubtedly
13 that was a conversation that had been picked up by
14 somebody and put into the public domain?
15 A. I suppose, in general, everybody was at the time.
16 Q. Everybody was what?
17 A. Everybody was aware that there must have been some leak
18 somehow or monitored.
19 Q. Monitored?
20 A. But you know, we all see the films about hackers --
21 isn't that the word -- into computers. I do not know
22 whether you hack into telephones. There is probably
23 some other word for it. But even people who are not
24 official can do that now.
25 Q. I think the word is "tap" rather than "hack".

35

1 A. I think "hacking" is only computers, is that not right?
2 Q. Possibly, yes.
3 I want to move from that issue to the question of
4 her relationship with the Royal Family. Again, please
5 understand, I am not wishing to embarrass anybody in
6 particular, but I do want to ask you this.
7 Do you recall -- well, it is a now renowned
8 interview that she had on television with Martin Bashir.
9 A. I know about it, but I did not watch it.
10 Q. It was in November 1995. So this would have been during
11 a period when you were seeing her regularly or talking
12 to her?
13 A. Probably.
14 Q. Well, again, what I wanted to ask you is did she discuss
15 the fall-out from this particular programme and
16 interview?
17 A. She may have, but I do not remember, I am afraid.
18 Q. You see, she had very genuine concerns that were
19 actually broadcast in that. I am not going to take up
20 time if you have never seen it --
21 A. I did not. I did not look at it.
22 Q. You see, one of the things that you put in your
23 statement is that once divorce between the two, that is
24 the Princess and the Prince, was on the cards, you
25 recognised that she was going to be shut out.

36

1 A. I did, because my husband was an equerry for many years,
2 not only to Her Majesty the Queen but His Majesty
3 the King before that, and he knew a great deal about
4 the Royal Family, for whom he had enormous respect and
5 affection, but he knew how the rules operate. Do you
6 see? I do not think Diana realised it.
7 Q. I want to suggest to you that she may not have wanted to
8 discuss it with you because, of course, she had,
9 ironically, a very close link besides Prince Charles, to
10 the Royal Family, didn't she?
11 A. I do not quite understand what you are saying.
12 Q. Her sister, Jane, was married to -- just so it is clear,
13 who was she married to?
14 A. Fellowes.
15 Q. Fellowes, who was the Queen's private secretary. So it
16 would make it very difficult for her, wouldn't it, to --
17 A. I have said in my witness statement that was the reason,
18 the very, very sad reason, why they could not see each
19 other after a bit. I say it very clearly.
20 Q. Yes, you have. The reason I want to come to is this --
21 A. May I read this bit out because it is very succinctly
22 put, your Lordship.
23 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: Yes, do.
24 MR MANSFIELD: I have no objection.
25 A. "I felt sorry for her [that is Diana]. I think she had

37

1 probably not realised that once she had divorced,
2 the Royal Family would shut her out. In addition to
3 this, her sister, Lady Jane Fellowes, had told her that
4 because of her husband's position, she could not see her
5 anymore and her brother Charles had withdrawn an offer
6 of a cottage on his estate because he did not want
7 the press intrusion that would result."
8 The second part is in the public domain, as you
9 know.
10 Q. I am not trespassing on that. I just wanted to ask you
11 about this, that the process of shutting her out and,
12 I suggest worse, animosity to her began directly after
13 this Martin Bashir Panorama interview.
14 A. I do not know.
15 Q. Can I ask you this: did you know that within a month of
16 that interview, she had received a letter from the Queen
17 suggesting a rapid divorce?
18 A. No, I did not know.
19 Q. You did not know any of that?
20 A. I do not know all of these dates. I know that it
21 happened.
22 Q. You knew that it happened.
23 Now it may be that she did not show you, but I want
24 to suggest that in fact she had received, after this or
25 about this time -- I cannot put particular dates because

38

1 the documents don't exist at the moment -- some
2 hostile -- the word has been used, "nasty" -- letters
3 from the Duke that she did not tell you about.
4 A. No, which I have said in there.
5 Q. And she never showed you any correspondence, did she?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Or asked for your help in replying or dealing with it?
8 A. No.
9 Q. I think it goes without saying this, but I just want to
10 elicit this: she was very close to your husband, her
11 father?
12 A. She adored her father.
13 Q. So anything that belonged to her father, she would
14 particularly treasure?
15 A. Very much so.
16 Q. Whether it is studs or cufflinks, that sort of thing?
17 A. Very much so.
18 Q. You have indicated that there came a point in the summer
19 of 1997 before her death, you summarised it like this:
20 you thought it was highly likely, your impression, that
21 they would get engaged, she would get engaged and then
22 married. In fact the way you put it in your statement
23 is that they might even cohabit or live together, if
24 that was the most convenient or appropriate way of going
25 forward. That was another thought that you had had; is

39

1 that right?
2 A. It was another thought I had. I think I would like to
3 make the point that I think it is -- your Lordship, it
4 is very discourteous to both Diana and to Dodi and to
5 everyone concerned that it should be written off, their
6 relationship, as a summer romance because it was, in my
7 view, in my humble opinion, definitely not that from
8 everything Diana said to me. It was much deeper, much
9 more profound and much closer.
10 MR MANSFIELD: Thank you very much. That is all I ask.
11 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: Mr Keen?
12 MR KEEN: I have no questions.
13 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: Mr Croxford?
14 MR CROXFORD: No, thank you, sir.
15 MR HORWELL: No questions.
16 MR BURNETT: No, thank you, sir.
17 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: Thank you very much indeed for
18 coming, Lady Spencer. I appreciate that it was probably
19 extremely stressful for you to come here and to give
20 evidence and we are grateful to you for doing so. That
21 is all we now require, thank you.
22 A. Your Lordship, could I crave your indulgence to make
23 only, I promise you, a very short statement, if I could
24 be allowed?
25 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: Yes.

40

1 A. It was really that I wanted to thank you, your Lordship,
2 and all the jury and all the legal gentlemen and
3 everyone who has given up so much of their time to try
4 and find out the truth about this matter, because
5 I think anyone who is in this court today will -- who
6 has ever lost a loved one, will know the appalling sense
7 of loss and the feeling that the whole world has fallen
8 away under your feet. I had that feeling when my adored
9 husband died. But for all Diana's relations, her sons,
10 her sisters, her brother, her close friends and all the
11 Fayed family, Mr and Mrs Fayed, the sisters,
12 the brothers and all their relations and uncles and
13 aunts, they have had to go through something which is
14 almost unprecedented, and a tragedy very, very public
15 and beyond any proportion of what any ordinary people
16 could possibly expect.
17 So, thanking you, sir, again, and everyone who is
18 concerned, the court officials, everyone who has had
19 a part of this, I do beg you to do your utmost to solve
20 this mystery, to tear aside anything that could be
21 a cover-up and to sift everything possible and
22 everything indeed impossible in order to allow poor
23 Diana and poor Dodi to at last truly rest in peace.
24 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: Well, thank you for your
25 sentiments and I am sure I say that on behalf of all of

41

1 us. We are all certainly trying to leave no stone
2 unturned.
3 Now, we have to have a break, Mr Burnett, for
4 the shorthand writers at this stage, so I hope that our
5 next witness will not mind way waiting for another
6 quarter of an hour before we begin.
7 MR BURNETT: Thank you.
8 (3.10 pm)
9 (A short break )
10 (3.23 pm)
11 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: I call the Honourable Nicholas
12 Soames.
13 THE HONOURABLE NICHOLAS SOAMES (sworn)
14 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: Please sit or stand, as you
15 prefer.
16 A. Thank you, sir.
17 Questions from MR BURNETT
18 MR BURNETT: Would you give us your full name, please?
19 A. Arthur Nicholas Winston Soames.
20 Q. And you are Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex?
21 A. I am, sir.
22 Q. How long have you been MP for Mid Sussex?
23 A. I have been a Member of Parliament since 1983 and for
24 Mid-Sussex since 1987.
25 Q. Were you in the army in the late 1960s?

42

1 A. I was, sir.
2 Q. And thereafter, did you serve as an equerry to
3 the Prince of Wales between 1970 and 1972?
4 A. I did.
5 Q. That was a relatively short-lived formal appointment,
6 but have you since maintained contact with the Prince of
7 Wales?
8 A. I have, sir. I have been fortunate to be a friend of
9 the Prince of Wales for nearly 50 years.
10 Q. Since you were children?
11 A. Since we were children.
12 Q. Is it also right that you knew the late
13 Princess of Wales from the time that she was
14 a little girl?
15 A. I knew her from the time she was very young, sir, yes.
16 Q. You remain a friend of the Prince of Wales. Can I ask
17 you one or two general questions about your relationship
18 with the late Princess?
19 A. Indeed.
20 Q. Whilst the Princess and the Prince were married and
21 living together, were you frequent guests of theirs and
22 vice versa?
23 A. I was, sir. I got married shortly before the Prince and
24 Princess of Wales got married and my then wife and I saw
25 a good deal of them. Then the Prince and

43

1 Princess of Wales got married, and actually, for
2 a couple of years, I did not see so much of either of
3 them, and then, at a later stage, saw a lot more of
4 them.
5 Q. Do you have children of the same sort of ages?
6 A. My son, Harry, is 22. He is the same age as
7 Prince Harry, sir.
8 Q. Were they childhood friends?
9 A. They were friends.
10 Q. In that context, did you see much of him and did they
11 see much of your son?
12 A. Well, I did see a fair bit of him when he was a little
13 boy. The Princess was always extremely kind to my first
14 wife, Catherine, and to my son, Harry, and they went on
15 many holidays and excursions together, yes.
16 Q. Mr Soames, you are aware that it has been suggested
17 publicly that you were -- I now paraphrase -- an enemy
18 of the Princess of Wales. What in general terms do you
19 have to say about that?
20 A. Well, I was never an enemy. In fact, I always got on
21 really very well with Princess Diana, but I was very
22 anxious with the way that I saw their marriage literally
23 falling apart and I was very shocked and upset,
24 personally, by what the Princess said on Panorama.
25 Q. Now is that the Martin Bashir interview which was on

44

1 20th November 1995?
2 A. That is right, yes.
3 Q. You made, I think, some public statements about that.
4 What in general terms did you say?
5 A. I think I should just explain the background. I was
6 rung up on the morning of the interview by either
7 the producer or the director of Panorama -- I cannot
8 remember whether it was in fact Jeremy Paxman or not --
9 but suggesting that they would like me to come on, that
10 she was going to do this interview. I resisted
11 the request, and I think about three or four times --
12 I should say at the time I was a minister in
13 the government, a defence minister, and about three or
14 four times in the course of the day they came back to
15 me, and actually, on the fourth time that they came back
16 to me, I decided that I ought to go because I did not
17 see that there was going to be anyone else to, as it
18 were, speak up for the Prince of Wales.
19 I am not sure that I do not now rather regret not
20 having spoken up for the Prince of Wales but actually
21 having taken part in the thing at all, but I did, and at
22 the end of it I was asked by Jeremy Paxman what
23 I thought of what had been said and I expressed myself
24 in strong terms, which I believed it to be very
25 shocking.

45

1 Q. And those were strong and disproving terms?
2 A. They were.
3 Q. That, as we have identified, was in November 1995. Did
4 you and the Princess have any contact in relation to
5 that programme or your comments about it?
6 A. No, not at all, although I am glad to say that
7 subsequently she wrote me a very nice letter and I made
8 my peace with her. But I was truly shocked by what she
9 said at the time.
10 Q. Now you have mentioned that you were a minister in
11 the government at the time. You were minister for
12 the armed forces at the Ministry of Defence?
13 A. I was, yes.
14 Q. So putting it in hierarchical terms, if you will forgive
15 me, you were the deputy to the Secretary of State?
16 A. I was number two to the Secretary of State.
17 Q. Now, Mr Soames, I need to ask you about precise
18 allegations that have been made publicly about you
19 concerning alleged threats that you are said to have
20 made to the Princess of Wales.
21 Before coming to them, I wonder, with you, if I can
22 simply set the sequence of events before the jury so
23 that everyone is clear. Did you, on 25th November,
24 receive an email from Katie Nicholl at the Mail on
25 Sunday seeking your comment on allegations that had been

46

1 made to the Mail on Sunday?
2 A. I did.
3 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: This is 25th November 2005?
4 MR BURNETT: 25th November 2005, sir, yes.
5 Could we have up on the screen please [INQ0059012]?
6 If we could maximise the relevant part, might I read it:
7 "Dear Mr Soames, I am sorry to hear that you have
8 been unwell. This is a sensitive matter so I would
9 appreciate a comment from you as I am planning to run
10 a story this weekend. I am told that you made a call to
11 Princess Diana advising her to stop meddling in matters
12 concerning landmines. During the phone conversation,
13 Diana argued that it was an issue she knew well. I am
14 told by one of her former aides, who claims that she
15 overheard the call, that you told the late Princess
16 'Accidents do happen'. I am also told that Scotland
17 Yard are to be made aware of this conversation and it
18 will be investigated as part of the ongoing inquiry."
19 Was that the first intimation that you received that
20 something of this sort was running around?
21 A. It was, sir.
22 Q. Did you, in fact, make a comment on the substance to
23 the Mail on Sunday or did you deal with it in
24 a different way?
25 A. I told the Mail on Sunday that if they printed the story

47

1 I would sue them for libel because it was a total
2 fabrication and fiction and a preposterous and
3 outrageous assertion.
4 Q. And in fact they did not print the story?
5 A. They did not print it.
6 Q. Can we look next, just to set the train for everybody,
7 at [INQ0006502]?
8 Now, Mr Soames, you have probably not seen this
9 before. It is a message recording what was said to
10 a police officer on 29th November 2005. So you see
11 it is four days after the email you got from the Mail on
12 Sunday. This is the communication to the police.
13 Again, might I just read this one?
14 "Today I received an email from DC Southcott
15 informing me that Simone Simmons had contacted her for
16 an update. She explained that she was no longer on the
17 inquiry and arranged to take Miss Simmons' number and
18 for me to give her a call.
19 "I rang her this evening. Miss Simmons asked me
20 whether she had informed me about a threatening
21 telephone call that Diana, Princess of Wales had
22 received in February 1997. I reviewed her statement and
23 there was no mention of any such threat. Miss Simmons
24 explained that she was present when Diana,
25 Princess of Wales had received a call from Nicholas

48

1 Soames. The Princess knew it was him because he was
2 a good friend of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales
3 and often used to call her ex-husband when they were at
4 Highgrove. As Nicholas Soames was speaking,
5 the Princess beckoned Miss Simmons over and she put her
6 ear to the receiver as well. She heard a male say
7 'Don't meddle in things that you know nothing about
8 because you know accidents can happen."
9 Then she went on to describe an inflection in voice
10 and no doubt other matters which we will deal with with
11 her.
12 Now you were not immediately aware of that, but
13 it is right, isn't it, that you made a statement to
14 the police on 15th December 2005, so a fortnight or so
15 later when they asked to see you about it?
16 A. That is correct, sir.
17 Q. In the meantime, the Daily Express had published
18 the substance of the story but without naming any
19 individual. Were you, in fact, aware of that before
20 the police asked to see you on 15th December?
21 A. I was not. I did not see the story and they showed me
22 the relevant article.
23 Q. Now you have already given your reaction to it, but let
24 me just see if I can tease out one or two other matters.
25 The context of this would appear to be the Princess's

49

1 interest in landmines and a campaign to eradicate them.
2 Did you have any dealings at all with the
3 Princess of Wales in connection with that campaign?
4 A. No, sir, I never ever discussed anything to do with
5 the landmines campaign or indeed, I think in the many
6 years that I knew her, ever anything to do with any
7 political issue at all.
8 Q. As a Minister of the Crown at the time, would it have
9 been appropriate for you to raise political matters with
10 any member of the Royal Family?
11 A. No, sir. It would have been entirely inappropriate and
12 I would absolutely never, never do so.
13 Q. Had you, before these events, ever heard of
14 Simone Simmons?
15 A. No, sir.
16 Q. Did you have any concerns about the Princess's
17 involvement in that campaign?
18 A. No, and indeed, not only -- I mean, it was a current
19 policy question as to whether or not the British
20 government should take part in the convention to remove
21 landmines from the list of weapons, so it was a current
22 policy issue. She was being, I thought, very well
23 guided through all of this by Bill Deedes, who was,
24 I thought, extremely sensible and very principled on
25 this matter, and I think that she took her lead from

50

1 him.
2 Q. Now, Bill Deedes was Lord Deedes, who sadly died about
3 a month ago --
4 A. Died about two months ago.
5 Q. He had been a Member of Parliament and a cabinet
6 minister under Macmillan?
7 A. A Member of Parliament, a cabinet minister under
8 Macmillan and a distinguished soldier in the Second
9 World War, who had very considerable experience of
10 landmines.
11 Q. He went on to edit the Daily Telegraph, and rather
12 remarkably continued working and reporting until well
13 into his 90s.
14 A. Two weeks before his death he wrote his last letter.
15 Q. We have heard from elsewhere, Mr Soames, about
16 the Princess's trip to Bosnia in August 1997 with
17 Lord Deedes, so he is a figure with whom the jury are
18 familiar.
19 Did you have any involvement at all in questions
20 concerning the Princess's holiday arrangements and, in
21 particular, any dealings with anybody about her visit to
22 Mr Al Fayed's villa in St Tropez?
23 A. No, never, at any stage.
24 Q. Have you any idea how this allegation has come to be
25 made?

51

1 A. I have no idea at all and I cannot think why it should
2 be made.
3 Q. In February 1997 or thereabouts, did you have any
4 telephone discussions with the Princess about anything?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Are you able, in general terms, to remember when you
7 last telephoned her?
8 A. Well, sir, I suppose that when my son Harry and my
9 wife -- my first wife, Catherine, went on holiday,
10 skiing holidays generally with the Princess, I did --
11 from time to time, I would have spoken to her about
12 arrangements and things and from time to time, when she
13 and the Prince of Wales came to dinner with me, I would
14 have spoken to her to confirm arrangements. Other than
15 that, not at all on the telephone, no. I had
16 conversations with her face to face, but never on the
17 telephone. I cannot remember really -- it must have
18 been years ago that I last had a telephone call with
19 her.
20 Q. If the times that you are talking of are when she and
21 the Prince of Wales were still together, one is
22 ratcheting quite a long way back before 1997?
23 A. Yes.
24 MR BURNETT: If you stay there, there will be some more
25 questions.

52

1 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: Mr Mansfield?
2 Questions from MR MANSFIELD
3 MR MANSFIELD: My name is Michael Mansfield and I represent
4 Mr Mohamed Al Fayed.
5 First of all, you have quite a distinctive voice,
6 don't you?
7 A. If you say so, sir. I do, I think, yes.
8 Q. Yes, you do. It would be quite difficult to confuse
9 your voice with somebody else's, unless they were
10 Rory Bremner impersonating you.
11 A. Well I know several people who have very loud voices.
12 Q. It is not loud. You have a very particular intonation.
13 A. I cannot answer that.
14 Q. Did you have the telephone number of the
15 Princess of Wales?
16 A. No -- sorry, can I answer that question?
17 Q. Yes.
18 A. I did not have her direct line telephone number, but if
19 I had wanted to ring the Princess of Wales, I would have
20 gone through the switchboard to get her on the line.
21 Q. You have obviously telephoned her in the past?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Because you would be talking to Charles and she might
24 come on the phone or you might be talking to her
25 directly?

53

1 A. No, that is not quite right.
2 Q. Well, you tell us then.
3 A. Well, if I was going to speak to the Prince of Wales,
4 I would go to the switchboard and either the Prince of
5 Wales would speak to me or he would not be there.
6 Q. But you have spoken to her in the same way?
7 A. As I say, I cannot remember when the last time was that
8 I spoke to her, but it would have been on a matter
9 concerning domestic arrangements and a very long time
10 ago.
11 Q. Would it? Right.
12 Can you think of anybody who would want to ring her
13 up about the landmines issue?
14 A. No.
15 Q. You say, standing there or sitting there today, that you
16 cannot think of any reason why anybody should suggest
17 that it was you?
18 A. I cannot, no.
19 Q. Let alone Princess Diana herself; why she should suggest
20 to somebody that it was you?
21 A. I cannot answer that question.
22 Q. You must have thought about this quite a bit.
23 A. I have not really, to tell you the truth, because it is
24 such an absurd suggestion that I have not really given
25 it any thought at all.

54

1 Q. You say "absurd", but have you not really taken it
2 seriously?
3 A. I take it seriously because this is a serious matter,
4 but it is not a serious proposition to my mind to
5 suggest that I would have rung the Princess of Wales,
6 a member of the Royal Family, and spoken to her in terms
7 like that. It is just not possible. I would never do
8 such a thing.
9 Q. No. But then of course you do do absurd preposterous
10 things, if I may put it that way, don't you?
11 A. Well, if you say so. Tell me.
12 Q. Well, surely you know what I am talking about. Please
13 think about it. Are you not prepared to look back on
14 and -- I am dealing with this context, I am not dealing
15 with other matters, just this context; something that
16 you did which was entirely out of order, entirely
17 irresponsible. You know what that was, don't you?
18 A. I cannot think for the moment, no.
19 Q. No? Are you taking these questions seriously?
20 A. Very. I am waiting for you to tell me what it is so
21 that I can --
22 Q. I am surprised that you aren't able to tell this jury
23 what it is that you did that actually you now regret, do
24 you, or have you forgotten the questions that were asked
25 of you minutes ago?

55

1 A. No, I can think of lots of things that I regret in my
2 life, but I cannot think of the particular thing that
3 you are talking about.
4 Q. I do not want to catalogue them. There is just one
5 I want to ask you about.
6 When you were telephoned by Jeremy Paxman or someone
7 on his behalf to go on to Newsnight, you say you had to
8 be pressured into doing it. Is that your version of
9 this?
10 A. I said I would not do it I think three times or twice.
11 Q. Because, of course, one of the problems here is -- and
12 I suggest to you the irresponsible nature of what
13 actually happened is -- that you were a minister in
14 the John Major government, weren't you?
15 A. I was.
16 Q. There is something called, although sometimes forgotten,
17 collective responsibility, isn't there?
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. So therefore, if you are going to start talking about
20 members of the Royal Family, that could be very
21 compromising for a government, couldn't it?
22 A. Well, I do not think it was compromising for
23 the government and I do not think it did compromise
24 the government and I received no criticism from
25 the government for doing it.

56

1 Q. Oh, please. Remember what happened in the days that
2 followed. No criticism? Is that your recollection?
3 A. My recollection is that I had no official criticism at
4 all? If you are suggesting did I get a telephone call
5 from the Chief Whip or the Prime Minister, the answer is
6 no.
7 Q. You were rebuked in public by the Prime Minister,
8 John Major, weren't you --
9 A. I was not rebuked, no.
10 Q. -- suggesting that you should not make such remarks
11 again?
12 A. I was not rebuked, but it was suggested to me that
13 I should not make the remarks again.
14 Q. I wonder why. Did it occur to you why you were being
15 told not to do that, in public, by John Major? What did
16 you consider that to be? A pat on the back or "Please
17 be careful, you should not be entering or trespassing in
18 these arenas"?
19 A. I should think the latter.
20 Q. Yes, only he was doing it rather kindly to you.
21 A. He was.
22 Q. Others were not so kind, were they?
23 A. I do not recall.
24 Q. Don't you? You know Norman Tebbitt, don't you; Lord
25 Tebbitt?

57

1 A. Very well.
2 Q. Do you remember what he said about it?
3 A. No.
4 Q. You see, certain figures were saying, in the House of
5 Commons and elsewhere, that actually this was
6 a resignation matter, weren't they?
7 A. No.
8 Q. You don't recall that?
9 A. Mr Mansfield, no one suggested to me, to my face or to
10 anyone else that I should resign. As a matter of fact
11 the only person who could ask for my resignation would
12 be the Prime Minister and he did not do so.
13 Q. I appreciate --
14 A. So public tittle-tattle or colleagues saying -- well,
15 making remarks of that sort was, to be frank, of no
16 concern to me.
17 Q. No. There is not much that is of concern to you, is
18 there? Is that fair? You just go on and see what
19 happens?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Well, let's just take this example. When you were
22 pestered, as you put it, or pressured, did you consult
23 anybody within government circles before you appeared on
24 Newsnight?
25 A. No.

58

1 Q. No. Why not?
2 A. Because I did not choose to.
3 Q. No. Is it because of a certain arrogance?
4 A. No.
5 Q. No?
6 A. Because I did not think that if I was going to do what
7 I wanted to do, it would be wise for me to ask.
8 I thought I would just do it.
9 Q. But you knew -- would this be fair -- that if you did
10 ask, they would say "stay away"; correct?
11 A. I cannot tell that --
12 Q. That is why you did not --
13 A. It is likely that they would have done, yes.
14 Q. That is why you did not ask. Is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. So you don't ask because you know that you are going to
17 be told "Don't do it", but of course you don't care
18 about that, do you? You want to get on and defend,
19 perfectly naturally, your very close friend,
20 Prince Charles. That is what you wanted to do.
21 Somebody had to do it and you would be in the front line
22 doing it; is that right?
23 A. Well, I thought that it was right that there should be
24 someone there to speak for the Prince of Wales, yes.
25 Q. And, of course, this interview not only shocked you, it

59

1 shocked the monarchy to the very core, didn't it?
2 A. I do not know what the Queen thought of it personally,
3 but it shocked me very much, yes.
4 Q. Let's --
5 A. I think it was a remarkable event.
6 Q. It was poignant, it was candid, and it revealed a number
7 of things that had never been revealed before, didn't
8 it?
9 A. Well, I thought that it was -- those are your words, but
10 there were only one or two things that I found truly
11 shocking in it.
12 Q. What were the things that you found truly shocking?
13 A. I particularly found the inference at the end of the
14 interview that the Prince of Wales would find it
15 difficult to succeed as the monarch, and I also found
16 extraordinary the suggestion, implied, clearly running
17 through the interview, that the Princess felt that she
18 was -- obviously felt that she was being monitored in
19 some way. I think she referred to letters going missing
20 or something like that.
21 Q. Phone calls being --
22 A. I do not remember the phone calls.
23 Q. -- tapped.
24 A. I do not remember the words "phone calls being tapped".
25 Q. Because one of the things that you said on Newsnight

60

1 was:
2 "I cannot account for what the Princess was talking
3 about when she referred to those matters, for example
4 mail interception and telephones being tapped and all of
5 that."
6 Do you remember saying that?
7 A. Well I do not remember actually what I said, except
8 I remember one particular word I used, but I do not
9 remember in detail what I said, no. But I do remember,
10 as I told you, that I was shocked, as I say, by some of
11 those things, particularly -- as I say, the general
12 assertion of phones being tapped.
13 Q. You do remember the whole Squidgy tape affair? I am not
14 going into detail on it, but somebody had managed to
15 tape a private telephone call of hers, had they?
16 A. I do not remember the details of it. I heard you refer
17 to it earlier, but I do not remember the details.
18 Q. The fact that it had happened was very well known,
19 wasn't it? Wasn't it?
20 A. I assume so. I had not followed it, to tell you
21 the truth.
22 Q. No, all right. But even though, I suggest to you, she
23 had a basis for being worried about telephones, for
24 example, you went on to describe her in particularly
25 vitriolic terms, didn't you?

61

1 A. It was not vitriolic. I said that I thought that she
2 was being paranoid about it and I think that she was
3 being paranoid about it. Actually I rather regret
4 saying that because I am not a doctor and I do not know
5 what the true medical definition of "paranoid" is, but
6 I thought that she was -- it was a really, I thought,
7 very unfortunate thing to suggest and to say.
8 Q. It was not just paranoia. The way you put it was this:
9 "It really is the advanced stages of paranoia."
10 That is how you put it, wasn't it?
11 A. It was.
12 Q. You were going on to portray her as somebody who was
13 suffering from some form of mental instability. That
14 was what you were putting across, weren't you?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Because you did not stop with this interview, did you?
17 You did not regret, when you came out of the Newsnight
18 studios, that you had ever done this at that moment, did
19 you?
20 A. No, but I have regretted it since, funnily enough,
21 because I think it was an unfortunate word to use and
22 I do not think I am qualified to say that.
23 Q. Those were not the only terms that you used on the
24 programme, were they?
25 A. I do not recall.

62

1 Q. You called her performance "toe-curling" and "dreadful".
2 A. Yes, I thought it was.
3 Q. I would like you to give the evidence, rather than me.
4 What else did you say?
5 A. I do not recall.
6 Q. What I suggest is having left the Newsnight studio,
7 the phones were ringing, weren't they, for you?
8 A. Well, I have no doubt -- I suppose they were.
9 I genuinely don't remember. It was a long time ago.
10 I do not remember the sequence of events, but certainly
11 it caused a stir and more of a stir than I would have
12 hoped.
13 Q. Because the next morning you appear on BBC Radio Today,
14 don't you?
15 A. I do not remember.
16 Q. You don't remember?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Similar sort of thing about the previous night's
19 Panorama, and you go on and conduct an interview in
20 the Daily Telegraph, don't you?
21 A. I really don't remember, Mr Mansfield. It was at a time
22 when I was extremely busy at the Ministry of Defence and
23 I do not recall the details of what interviews I did or
24 did not do and I do not remember going on the Today
25 programme particularly.

63

1 Q. One of the phrases that I want to put to you that was
2 used by you, but not on Newsnight in relation to
3 Panorama -- do you remember using these words about
4 Diana? The reason I want to put these particular ones
5 to you, you will see in a moment. You called her
6 a "totally unguided missile", didn't you?
7 A. I do not recall.
8 Q. It is something that you would have said?
9 A. It certainly sounds like me, yes.
10 Q. Yes, it sounds like you.
11 Just before we move on in time, did you ever retract
12 publicly anything that you had said in Newsnight or any
13 of these other publications? Did you ever retract it
14 publicly?
15 A. I have from time to time, as I said, regretted that
16 I used the word "paranoid" and I cannot remember whether
17 I have done it publicly or not, but I don't think I have
18 had the occasion to do it. But I do regret that I used
19 that word, yes.
20 Q. All I am asking is: you might personally now regret it,
21 but in the days that followed, when I suggest there was
22 condemnation of what you had done, did you ever publicly
23 apologise?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Because would it be fair to say that you actually meant

64

1 what you said, didn't you?
2 A. I thought that what she said was, you know, way off
3 beam.
4 Q. Just before we leave the programme itself, there were
5 a number of other things that she was saying about
6 the monarchy being in touch, about her own personal
7 problems, about how she wanted to be an ambassador. Do
8 you remember all of these things?
9 A. I do remember, particularly the ambassador, yes.
10 Q. The ambassador you remember because it crops up again,
11 doesn't it, in relation to landmines?
12 A. I only recall -- to tell you the truth, Mr Mansfield,
13 I read the Martin Bashir interview last night for
14 the first time ever in my life, but I did not read any
15 of the subsequent comments you have attributed to me
16 I have not seen the text.
17 Q. So you, therefore, having read it only last night, that
18 is why you have picked up on the word which I suggest
19 I just put to you, that she wanted to be an ambassador;
20 that is the --
21 A. I recall that, yes.
22 Q. She in fact was saying -- and I will just finish on this
23 in relation to the content of the programme -- one of
24 the things she was saying was that she was not going to
25 go quietly, remember?

65

1 A. Well, I remember from reading the text last night.
2 Q. Just in case the jury may not have seen the programme or
3 remember it.
4 What her theme was is: basically, she was going to
5 be fearless in a sense and fight her corner for what she
6 believed in, wasn't she?
7 A. Well, those are admirable sentiments.
8 Q. They are, but sometimes they can be seen as a threat,
9 cannot they?
10 A. I expect so, if you feel threatened by it, yes.
11 Q. What she said in the programme was that there was an
12 enemy to her. That is what she thought, didn't she?
13 A. I have no idea.
14 Q. Well you read it last night.
15 A. I have no idea whether she felt there was an enemy.
16 Q. She said that. She was asked by Martin Bashir, "What do
17 you mean by 'enemy'?", and she said something that
18 I would have thought would have struck right at your
19 heart.
20 A. No.
21 Q. She said, effectively, "It is my husband's camp who are
22 the enemy". Do you remember that from last night?
23 A. I do remember the "husband's camp".
24 Q. Yes, you remember the "husband's camp", and that she
25 would be seen as a strong woman, as a threat by her

66

1 husband's camp; correct? That is what she was saying on
2 the programme.
3 A. Apparently, yes.
4 Q. Now, as we go from 1995, when the programme was
5 broadcast in November, and we move on, you are still
6 minister at the end of 1996 and at the beginning of
7 1997, are you not?
8 A. I was minister until May 1997.
9 Q. I just want to set a context.
10 You have a particular interest -- it is fairly
11 obvious since you were connected with the Ministry of
12 Defence -- in defence, don't you?
13 A. I do. I am very interested.
14 Q. Very interested in defence. You list it on your website
15 along with international relations or affairs. Is that
16 right?
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. And trade and industry.
19 A. Correct.
20 Q. In 1997 -- it may not be so much now, but in 1997 and
21 1996, the year before, the defence industry was
22 substantial, wasn't it?
23 A. Well, it is a very substantial industry today. Yes,
24 it is a big industry, yes.
25 Q. One of the biggest in the world? One of them?

67

1 A. It is the second or third biggest in the world, yes.
2 Q. I am going to suggest to you that it is the second
3 biggest in the world, with a huge turnover; correct?
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. Running to billions of pounds?
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. With jobs at stake, economic interests?
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. One of your particular interests -- and you spoke about
10 this about a month ago, but you have probably spoken
11 more than that on this topic -- is reinforcing the
12 British export business in defence machinery.
13 A. Well the context that I expect was the abolition by
14 the Prime Minister of the Defence Export Services
15 Organisation.
16 Q. Exactly. Going back to 1997, part of the defence
17 industry concerned landmines, didn't it?
18 A. Well, there must have been companies making landmines,
19 yes.
20 Q. Well, when you say "there must have been" --
21 A. Sorry, to put it a different way, I do not know who
22 makes landmines.
23 Q. You don't?
24 A. No.
25 Q. In the Ministry of Defence, you did not know who --

68

1 A. Well, Mr Mansfield, I was not the Procurement Minister.
2 I was a Minister of State for the Armed Forces.
3 Procurement matters were dealt with by my colleague,
4 James Arbuthnot, and I had no responsibility for
5 procurement.
6 Q. You may not have had a responsibility, but are you
7 saying that you don't know any of the companies who were
8 concerned in this trade?
9 A. Not that I can think of, no.
10 Q. They were British companies, weren't there?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. There were a number of them, weren't there?
13 A. I do not know.
14 Q. Can I run through them to see if it jogs your memory for
15 a moment?
16 Thorn EMI Electronics, producing the ranger
17 anti-personnel mine in two forms, scatterable and
18 plastic APM; a British firm, yes?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. You did know about them then, didn't you?
21 A. Not that I recall, no.
22 Q. You did not know about them. The Royal Ordnance, which
23 produce the number 6 blast APM.
24 A. I certainly know about the Royal Ordnance factories, but
25 I did not know which landmines they produced.

69

1 Q. They have a lot of shares in -- don't they,
2 Royal Ordnance?
3 A. A lot of what?
4 Q. Shares and participation in companies concerned with
5 landmines.
6 A. The Royal Ordnance companies were privatised in the
7 mid-1980s and I think ended up under the wing of British
8 Aerospace, I think, but I do not know.
9 Q. Yes, precisely. So British Aerospace was yet another
10 one.
11 A. Mm-hmm.
12 Q. You agree.
13 Hunting Engineering produced something called
14 the JP233.
15 A. That is a cluster bomb.
16 Q. It is. It carries 215 APMs, anti-personnel mines; you
17 knew that?
18 A. I did.
19 Q. Just concentrating on them, in 1996, when you were in
20 the Ministry, the government ordered a replacement for
21 the JP233, due to come into service then -- at least
22 that was the prophecy -- in 2001. Do you know about
23 that?
24 A. Sorry, what were the dates?
25 Q. It was ordered a replacement for the JP233, which has

70

1 the APMs contained in it, in 1996. So it is the year
2 before this alleged conversation. It was due to enter
3 service in 2001?
4 A. Did I know about it?
5 Q. Yes, did you know about it?
6 A. I certainly knew about the cluster bombs because they
7 were an essential part of -- they might have -- I do not
8 think we ever used them in Bosnia. They may have been
9 used -- in fact they were not used in Bosnia, but they
10 were certainly used, I think, in the first Gulf War and
11 I expect there would have been a discussion, a policy
12 discussion, on the question of cluster mines/cluster
13 bombs. But it is true to say, which is I imagine what
14 you are getting to, that there was a concerted campaign
15 by the -- by various organisations to do away with
16 landmines and, under that heading, the cluster bomb
17 came.
18 Q. Who was leading the campaign?
19 A. I do not know.
20 Q. Back in 1996, the end of, and 1997, the Red Cross had
21 been leading the campaign, and then along comes
22 Princess Diana and she becomes an iconic figurehead for
23 that campaign, doesn't she?
24 A. She certainly attracted a great deal of publicity for
25 it.

71

1 Q. Yes, a great deal of publicity. In fact, one of the
2 images that the public have in mind -- and no doubt you
3 will have recalled it -- shown at the Diana concert this
4 year, is of her carefully and studiously threading her
5 way across a minefield in Angola with a headband round
6 her. Do you remember that photograph?
7 A. I do remember it.
8 Q. Of course, British firms were cooperating with other
9 European firms in the manufacture of landmines, weren't
10 they?
11 A. Mr Mansfield, I am sorry, I hate to disappoint you, but
12 really this was not my bag. I had nothing to do with
13 the ordering of munitions.
14 Q. No, I am not suggesting you did.
15 A. It would have come to my responsibilities -- since
16 I ought to explain this, is had a military operation
17 taken place, it would have required me, a minister, to
18 have sanctioned the use of those weapons.
19 Q. Just on that context, there was something called
20 the "Ottawa Process" that was going on at this time. Do
21 you remember it?
22 A. I remember the name, but --
23 Q. It was a process, just to remind you, whereby
24 the British government was attempting to come to some
25 sort of agreement about the use of landmines because, of

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1 course, what was really wanted by the British government
2 at that point, end of 1996/beginning of 1997, was an
3 exemption for the use of landmines by the British Army.
4 Do you remember that?
5 A. I remember very well the exhaustive and very difficult
6 ongoing policy discussions on landmines which had been
7 going on for many years before I got to the Ministry of
8 Defence.
9 Q. Absolutely. The one thing you did not want was
10 a non-politician, high-profile, ex-member of the
11 Royal Family trespassing, as you saw it, on your
12 province?
13 A. Mr Mansfield, I never thought of the Princess of Wales
14 trespassing on any product. It is as if, you know --
15 that is so wide of the mark. I think we all respected
16 the Red Cross' campaign which she was part of, which
17 Bill Deedes was part of. We have to make decisions in
18 the interests of the British Army and the safety and
19 security of troops on operations. I cannot recall where
20 we had got to by May 1997, but I believe I am right in
21 saying that when Clare Short became --
22 Q. Oh yes.
23 A. -- that they then signed the convention, the Labour
24 government signed the convention.
25 Q. The Labour government did, but there was a big

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1 difference in approach between the Conservative
2 government and the Labour government, wasn't there?
3 A. Well, we decided that we would -- the discussions on the
4 ratification of the convention were still going when
5 we left and our position was that we did not want to
6 give away the use of landmines.
7 Q. No.
8 A. But I do not recall -- I mean, I really cannot recall
9 this being a factor in any discussion that I ever had.
10 Indeed, it was not a negotiation to which I was party,
11 I have to say.
12 Q. No. I am not suggesting that you ring up and order
13 landmines or have a hands-on approach to any of that.
14 But you would know, as a minister in the Ministry of
15 Defence, that this was an issue. That much you would
16 know, wouldn't you?
17 A. I was conscious of the discussions that were taking
18 place on landmines, and quite outside the Princess's
19 involvement in this, it was an ongoing thing. As you
20 said and acknowledged, this had been going on for a long
21 time before I got there. This campaign had been going
22 on for years.
23 Q. Yes, of course, but not with the Princess at the head of
24 it?
25 A. No.

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1 Q. That is just the so-called legitimate use of landmines.
2 But there is an illegitimate use, isn't there?
3 A. What do you mean by the "illegitimate use"?
4 Q. Let's take Angola where Princess Diana went in 1997 at
5 the beginning. You were aware of her trip, weren't you?
6 A. I was.
7 Q. The Ministry were very aware of her trip, weren't they?
8 A. I have to say, Mr Mansfield -- I hate to disappoint you
9 on all this, but this absolutely never came anywhere
10 near me. So when you say that I was aware of it, I mean
11 I was aware that the Princess -- I think I was aware
12 that the Princess was going to Angola on a Red Cross
13 trip, but there was certainly no traffic that came
14 across my desk connected with it, no.
15 Q. Do you know Earl Howe?
16 A. I know Earl Howe.
17 Q. Yes, junior minister. Do you remember what was being
18 said in public by the Ministry of Defence about her
19 visit?
20 A. I do not, no.
21 Q. The words that Earl Howe used happened to be very
22 similar to the words that you used in relation to
23 the Panorama programme; that she was ill-advised,
24 ill-informed, and not, as it were, an "unguided missile"
25 but a "loose cannon". You remember those words, don't

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1 you?
2 A. I cannot remember, no.
3 Q. They made quite an impact publicly at the time, that she
4 was being criticised in that way with those terms. You
5 really do remember that, don't you?
6 A. I do not remember it in detail.
7 Q. Is there any possibility that instead of you making
8 the mistake that you made over Panorama, another
9 minister stepped into your shoes to use much the same
10 sentiments, "She is a loose cannon"? Is there any
11 possibility of that?
12 A. I have no idea.
13 Q. Going back to Angola for a moment, you were, in the
14 Ministry of Defence, about the long-term problem in
15 Angola, weren't you?
16 A. Well, we were aware of a number of long-term problems in
17 Angola.
18 Q. I am going to put it in short terms to save time. There
19 had been a civil war going on between two factions in
20 Angola. Do you remember that?
21 A. I do.
22 Q. One was called UNITA and one was called the MPLA. Do
23 you remember that?
24 A. I remember it.
25 Q. Who backed UNITA?

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1 A. I do not know.
2 Q. Who backed the MPLA? I suggest to you that you --
3 A. Mr Mansfield, you are asking me questions of events that
4 happened a considerable time ago. I cannot remember in
5 that very complicated scenario who backed who.
6 Q. I am going to suggest to you it was terribly simple.
7 Russia or the Soviet Union backed the MPLA who were
8 Communist-inspired, or so it was said, against UNITA
9 backed by the Americans and the British. You knew that,
10 didn't you?
11 A. I do now you have told me.
12 Q. You do now I have told you. Right. In what way had
13 the British been supporting UNITA? Because they lost
14 the war in the end, but in what way were they supporting
15 the UNITA forces?
16 A. I have no idea.
17 Q. Well, perhaps can I jog your memory again? They were
18 supporting them with funding and, more precisely,
19 landmines.
20 A. Mr Mansfield, you are asking me about things that I knew
21 nothing about. If you are suggesting -- if part of the
22 suggestion is that I authorised the sale of landmines to
23 Angola or, indeed, by the sound of it, the gift of
24 landmines to Angola, I am afraid you are off beam.
25 Q. Was that the suggestion I made?

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1 A. That is what it sounds like to me.
2 Q. Does it? Are you rather sensitive about it?
3 A. I am not in the least bit sensitive about it.
4 Q. That was not the question. I am not suggesting -- you
5 may have done some things you regret. I am not
6 suggesting you ordered the landmines. You see, what
7 I suggest was that this was a covert operation that you
8 have agreed was going on in Angola.
9 A. I have not agreed any such thing.
10 Q. No, you have agreed that the support for UNITA came from
11 the British and the Americans, and I am asking you what
12 the support is. You cannot remember, so I am helping to
13 prod your memory about it.
14 A. Mr Mansfield, you have told me that we supported UNITA.
15 I did not remember that we did support UNITA and I am
16 not aware of any of the details of what that support
17 was; any of them.
18 Q. I see. Because what I want to suggest to you is that
19 the covert support that is lent to battling forces with
20 an oil resource at the root of it all were the security
21 services in this country.
22 Are you making a note to make some inquiries?
23 A. No, I am just making a note to remind myself of where
24 this is going so I can keep up with it. We seem to have
25 gone some way from -- it is all very unusual.

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1 Q. Well, it is called a "phone call", you see.
2 A. I see.
3 Q. You did not realise that is why I am asking these
4 questions. In 1997, she goes on the Angola trip.
5 People in the Ministry of Defence, I suggest, were
6 getting a bit hot under the collar about Princess Diana
7 trooping off to Angola where -- you were aware that
8 there were more landmines per capita of population in
9 Angola than anywhere else in the world?
10 A. I was not aware, no. I was aware that there was a very
11 serious landmine problem in Angola.
12 Q. Yes, something like 70,000 people had been injured one
13 way or another over the course of 20 years. Again,
14 these are figures you may not remember.
15 The reason I am asking you all of this is not out of
16 pure interest, but because I suggest there is a direct
17 link to the Ministry. I want to see if your memory can
18 be jogged.
19 When she went to Angola, somebody at the Ministry of
20 Defence briefed journalists about how ill-advised that
21 was. Do you know who did that?
22 A. I do not.
23 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: Well, do you know whether anybody
24 did?
25 A. Not as far as I know, sir.

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1 MR MANSFIELD: Were you aware --
2 A. I just -- absolutely not, no.
3 Q. So you have no recollection of Princess Diana, while she
4 was out there on the trip, being very angry about
5 the fact that there had been briefings against her while
6 she was out there? You did not know that either?
7 A. I do remember that, now you say it, but I did not know
8 who briefed them against her or indeed do I know that
9 it was the Ministry of Defence.
10 Q. Well, you remember her being angry about being briefed
11 against -- let us put it that way -- leave aside who
12 actually did it. You remember she was angry with that?
13 A. Well, I remember reading in the papers that she was
14 angry.
15 Q. When she, as it were, came back, that is when Earl Howe,
16 the junior minister, indicated that it was ill-advised,
17 ill-informed and that she was a loose cannon. You don't
18 remember that?
19 A. No, I don't.
20 Q. Do you know Peter Viggers?
21 A. My colleague Peter Viggers, yes.
22 Q. He was another colleague who spoke out against what she
23 was doing, wasn't he?
24 A. I did not know he had done, but he is a colleague.
25 Q. He was on the Defence Select Committee?

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1 A. He still is.
2 Q. What he was effectively saying is, "She ought to keep
3 out of this, she doesn't know what she's talking about,
4 because in fact what we are trying to argue for is for
5 British Army use of landmines". Do you remember? That
6 is the exemption that you were trying to argue for?
7 A. Mr Mansfield, I was not trying to argue for anything,
8 firstly. Secondly, what a colleague on the Defence
9 Select Committee says is not, mercifully, a matter for
10 me. Indeed what the Select Committee says is mercifully
11 not a matter for me.
12 Q. Therefore what I want to suggest to you is that
13 the words that were used on this telephone call fit
14 entirely with the sentiments that were being expressed
15 about her by members of the Ministry, "Don't meddle with
16 things about which you know nothing".
17 A. Mr Mansfield, I have already told you, it was not me who
18 made the telephone call.
19 Q. Well let's pass on a bit.
20 A. Okay.
21 Q. After that time, the suggestion is that it occurred in
22 February 1997. There were further occasions which --
23 can I ask you about whether you were aware of? So angry
24 was she about the way she had been treated, it became
25 a political issue, didn't it, for the parties? In other

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1 words, the Conservatives were saying, "It is not right
2 that she should appear to be siding with Labour
3 politicians, appearing on platforms with Jack Straw" and
4 so on. Do you remember all that fuss?
5 A. No, and all I can tell you is that at no stage did
6 I hear any colleague ever make that point.
7 Q. I see. So when she appeared, as she had done, at around
8 this period -- that is between November 1996 and 1997 --
9 supporting the cause of the homeless in relation to
10 Jack Straw and appearing, as it would to certain
11 Conservatives, that she was taking sides, you don't
12 remember that fuss that was being made about her?
13 A. I do not, no.
14 Q. She addressed the Royal Geographic Society on
15 12th June 1997. Again I am not expecting you to
16 remember the date, but do you remember that she did make
17 a major speech about landmines and the fact that it was
18 a personal crusade, that she was not going to be put off
19 by -- and she used a certain adjective to describe
20 certain Conservatives -- "ghastly Conservatives"? Do
21 you remember her saying something about that?
22 A. I do not.
23 Q. And that, therefore, she was not going to be deterred at
24 all. She was going to continue, in fact with greater
25 force. You don't remember any of that?

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1 A. I do not.
2 Q. Sir Nicholas Bonsor, do you remember him?
3 A. Very well.
4 Q. He made a number of public statements about this, didn't
5 he?
6 A. I have no idea, Mr Mansfield.
7 Q. Can I put one to you? This is one amongst a number:
8 "I think it is dangerous for the Royal Family to
9 have a member of its clan, as it were, behaving in that
10 kind of way or fashion. She was potentially a threat to
11 the establishment and the Royal Family."
12 Do you remember him saying that?
13 A. I do not.
14 Q. What was he in the government?
15 A. Well, he was not anything.
16 Q. No?
17 A. When did he say this?
18 Q. It is in this period.
19 A. We lost the election in May of 1997 and, as I say,
20 I have great enough difficulty remembering what I said
21 in 1997, let alone anyone else. And I do not recall
22 anything that Sir Nicholas Cosmo Bonsor has ever said
23 actually, let alone ...
24 Q. Well perhaps that is an advantage.
25 Were you aware of the trip to Bosnia, even though

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1 you weren't in government anymore at that stage?
2 A. Well, it shows how good my memory is because I thought
3 she went to Bosnia before she had been to Angola.
4 Q. Yes, alright. Well, it was after.
5 A. No, I wasn't. We weren't in government. It wouldn't
6 have come across my desk.
7 Q. When you were not in government, did you have a position
8 as a shadow minister?
9 A. No, not to start with.
10 Q. But you did at some point?
11 A. When Michael Howard became leader of the Conservative
12 Party, I became Shadow Secretary of State for Defence,
13 which was three years ago.
14 Q. And you have maintained, you have agreed this,
15 an interest in the defence industry?
16 A. Not in defence; my interest is in the armed forces and
17 all that goes with them.
18 Q. And you are a remunerated non-executive director of
19 a particular company, aren't you?
20 A. I am a remunerated non-executive of two or three
21 companies.
22 Q. Yes, but one that has a particular interest in defence?
23 A. Not particularly.
24 Q. What is the Aegis company if --
25 A. It is a private security company.

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1 Q. Yes, security services.
2 A. Private security company.
3 Q. Yes. Which provides intelligence?
4 A. It provides private security on the ground for
5 the American government in Iraq and it has a research
6 and due diligence business.
7 MR MANSFIELD: Yes. Thank you very much.
8 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: Mr Keen?
9 Questions from MR KEEN
10 MR KEEN: Good afternoon, Mr Soames.
11 A. Good afternoon to you.
12 Q. My name is Richard Keen and I am counsel for the parents
13 of the late Henri Paul.
14 Can I ask you this, Mr Soames: in the weeks
15 preceding the crash in Paris in 1997, do you recall
16 a political or ministerial colleague alluding to the
17 prospect of the sudden death of the Princess of Wales in
18 unexplained circumstances?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Perhaps this quotation may jog your memory:
21 "... and still elusive, though occasionally one must
22 assume in the telescopic sight, is the ultimate trophy,
23 the most brightly plumaged of all, to accelerate and
24 then to be the first to capture the sudden death of
25 Diana, Princess of Wales in unexplained circumstances."

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1 A. It means absolutely nothing to me.
2 Q. Those are the words of the late Alan Clark.
3 A. It could be, yes.
4 Q. Member of Parliament?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Minister of State in the Ministry of Defence?
7 A. A long time before that.
8 Q. Indeed so. Those words were printed and indeed
9 published on 9th August 1997. Do you recall now their
10 publication?
11 A. I do not recall their publication, but now you have told
12 me they were by Alan Clark and listening to the words,
13 I recognise them as being Clark, Clark literature.
14 Q. By style?
15 A. By style.
16 Q. And you would not have called him paranoid, would you?
17 A. I would call him lots of things but not paranoid, no.
18 Q. Not paranoid and yet, there we are some three weeks
19 before the crash in Paris, and Mr Clarke anticipating
20 that event in these words.
21 A. Again, Mr Keen, I am very sorry, but I cannot be held
22 responsibility for what Alan Clark said.
23 Q. He was a close personal friend?
24 A. He was a very close personal friend, but I nevertheless
25 cannot be held responsible for what he said. He did not

86

1 consult me before he said it.
2 Q. No, but once he had said it, you became aware that he
3 had said it?
4 A. I have never heard the words before in my life.
5 Q. Never read The Spectator, for example?
6 A. Well, I often read The Spectator but, you know,
7 August 1997, I do not think I would have been in the
8 hotbeds of London literature.
9 Q. On the moors?
10 A. Probably, not quite.
11 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: Three days later?
12 A. Three days later.
13 MR KEEN: Thank you, Mr Soames.
14 A. Thank you, Mr Keen.
15 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: Mr Croxford?
16 Questions from MR CROXFORD
17 MR CROXFORD: I just want to clarify one thing, Mr Soames.
18 Is this right: as a Minister of the Crown, you
19 decided not to take advice but to appear on a national
20 television programme for the purpose of defending a
21 lifelong friend during the course of which you described
22 the Princess of Wales as being, what, in an advanced
23 state of paranoia?
24 And yet, when that same woman became embroiled in
25 a very high-profile campaign to outlaw the use of

87

1 landmines, part of the stock in trade of the Ministry in
2 which you were serving, that same woman that you had
3 known since she was a little girl, are you saying that
4 you never had a conversation with her about that
5 campaign?
6 A. I am saying that I never had a conversation with her
7 about that campaign and it is totally different; there
8 is just no connection. Her campaign for the landmines
9 was undoubtedly a very admirable campaign.
10 Q. And the woman you had known since she was a little girl
11 did not merit any word from you even to say, "Well, this
12 is a very admirable campaign"; you never spoke to her at
13 all?
14 A. No, I never discussed it with her.
15 MR CROXFORD: Thank you very much.
16 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: Mr Horwell? No questions.
17 Mr Burnett?
18 MR BURNETT: Yes, if I may, sir.
19 Further questions from MR BURNETT
20 MR BURNETT: You have been asked large numbers of questions
21 about your interview with Jeremy Paxman on the night
22 that Panorama broadcast was made.
23 I asked you about that, and can I remind you of what
24 you said to me? You said:
25 "I am not sure that I do not now rather regret ...

88

1 having taken part in the thing at all".
2 Would I be forgiven for thinking that that is
3 a piece of classic British understatement?
4 A. It is, Mr Burnett, but I would make the point that
5 I want to separate -- I do not regret at all, I felt
6 that I should be there to defend someone that was a very
7 old friend, but I do regret using the word "paranoia"
8 and I regret that it caused offence because I was not
9 qualified to use it. That is my regret.
10 In many ways I wish I had not done it, but in a way,
11 I am glad I did.
12 Q. You said in your evidence earlier this afternoon, in
13 connection with the programme and your response to it,
14 that the Princess wrote you a very nice letter and,
15 "I made my peace with her".
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Could you expand upon that, if you would be so kind?
18 A. She wrote to me, and I cannot remember when it was, but
19 it was after the Panorama incident. She wrote me an
20 extremely civil letter and I, as far as I know -- I very
21 much regret that I did not see her before she died but
22 I like to think that we did not -- she did not go as an
23 enemy.
24 Q. In her letter, did she display any animus towards you?
25 A. None at all, no.

89

1 Q. And did you feel any animus towards her?
2 A. No, not at all.
3 Q. As part of the Panorama programme, which you read last
4 night, you told us --
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. -- and parts of which were put to you by my learned
7 friend Mr Mansfield, the Princess made the point really
8 quite forcefully that she would not be pushed about, if
9 I can put it in succinct terms.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Would I be right in thinking that that was very much in
12 her character?
13 A. I think it is, and it was not that she would not be
14 pushed about that I remotely thought was wrong. That
15 was not the line at all. I thought that that was
16 a courageous thing to say.
17 Q. But it was her to a tee. She was not somebody that you
18 could push about or bully?
19 A. No. I would not have dreamt of trying to push her
20 about.
21 Q. You see, the suggestion being made by Simone Simmons --
22 albeit that she did not make it when she initially spoke
23 to the police, it appears to have been an
24 afterthought -- is that you telephoned the Princess and
25 threatened her; threatened her with an accident.

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1 Now, did you hear anything at all about this before
2 the police got in touch with you at the end of 2005?
3 A. Never. I had never heard of it and it is a grotesque
4 suggestion.
5 Can I just say, Mr Burnett, actually not only would
6 I not have pushed the Princess about. Michael
7 Heseltine, when President of the Board of Trade, asked
8 Princess Diana to open London Fashion Week and she
9 declined to do so. Michael Heseltine was very keen that
10 she would do it if she could and asked me if I would
11 write to her and I did write to her and said, "I know
12 you've turned it down but would you be very kind because
13 they are desperately keen for you to do it", and she
14 wrote me back an extremely straight letter saying,
15 "I know perfectly well what I am doing and I do not need
16 any advice from you". She was quite capable of making
17 her own mind up about anything.
18 Q. The suggestion appears to be that you uttered this
19 threat to the Princess in February 1997 and that she did
20 nothing about it. Would that have been in character?
21 A. No, absolutely not. She would have -- it is just an
22 outrageous suggestion. It would never have happened and
23 she would, I am quite sure, have done something about
24 it.
25 Q. She would have gone ballistic, wouldn't she?

91

1 A. She would have gone completely ballistic.
2 Q. And --
3 A. And no doubt made a formal complaint to her private
4 secretary, who would have been on to me I'm sure.
5 Q. And none of that happened?
6 A. No.
7 Q. You have been asked many questions about British foreign
8 policy and British defence policy.
9 As far as Angola is concerned, during the years of
10 the John Major government -- and forgive me, we are
11 having to turn the clock back rather a long time -- and
12 Mrs Thatcher's government, did you ever serve as
13 a Foreign Office minister?
14 A. No, never.
15 Q. And did you ever have any dealings about policy relating
16 to Angola?
17 A. Never.
18 Sorry, I would have had some dealings at
19 the Ministry of Defence about Angola. I cannot quite
20 remember but there was a possibility that we might send
21 some peace-keeping troops to Angola and it would have
22 been a policy discussion along those lines, but never
23 policy in terms of the Foreign Office setting
24 the policy.
25 Q. Now, you have told us that you were of course aware of

92

1 the Red Cross campaign in relation to landmines and
2 I think you said that you respected that campaign.
3 A. I did indeed, and I meant to say to Mr Mansfield that
4 when the Red Cross campaign reached its zenith, ahead of
5 Angola, every Member of Parliament would have had
6 hundreds of cards and letters from constituents urging
7 them to support the campaign. It was a very
8 well-organised, very well-run and very powerful
9 campaign.
10 Q. What in a nutshell were the competing policy
11 considerations in trying to decide whether to subscribe
12 to the complete ban on landmines and the associated
13 cluster bomb business that you were telling us about on
14 the one hand, or keeping them for use by British forces
15 on the other?
16 A. In a nutshell, the cluster bombs is slightly different
17 because it is an airborne munition but the ground mines,
18 the decision that had to be taken was whether or not it
19 would compromise the safety of troops on high intensity
20 operations in a defensive position where you wanted to
21 have a landmine perimeter.
22 And we decided at the time that we would not concede
23 at that moment to the convention and when we lost
24 the election subsequently, the Labour government signed
25 the convention. I do not think it covers the JP22-3.

93

1 Q. These inquests have a lot to deal with and the ins and
2 outs of the practical policy as opposed to the moral
3 policy relating to weapons is perhaps beyond our
4 remit --
5 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: Not just perhaps.
6 MR BURNETT: These are difficult policy decisions that
7 governments have to take, and particularly when
8 considering defence matters.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, the suggestion seems to be that, because there were
11 concerns being expressed about the landmines campaign
12 with which the Princess had associated herself, that in
13 some way impelled you to make the telephone call that
14 it is alleged you made.
15 Just so I understand it, because I was not clear
16 from your answers, which were very short and mostly
17 negative, as opposed to my learned friend's questions
18 which were more expansive: what did you have to do with
19 the landmines issue and campaign within the Ministry of
20 Defence?
21 A. I had nothing to do with the campaign although, you
22 know, we were all aware of it. It was a red Cross,
23 highly reputable, very high-profile campaign.
24 Our decision was purely whether or not a policy
25 decision, that had to be taken, on whether or not

94

1 we would sign the Ottawa process -- I do not think
2 it was called the Ottawa convention -- or whatever
3 it was, to do with the banning of landmines. And
4 we decided at that time that we would not do that.
5 Q. One or two other discrete matters: you were asked
6 questions about Aegis, a private security firm, and you
7 told us what it did, namely providing security in Iraq
8 and dealing with ancillary matters.
9 I am right in thinking, aren't I, that as a Minister
10 of the Crown, no minister is allowed to hold any
11 commercial directorships?
12 A. No one is allowed to hold any office of profit other
13 than the Crown. We are not allowed to have any outside
14 interests whatever.
15 Q. When did you become a director of Aegis?
16 A. Two years ago.
17 Q. Two years ago?
18 A. Three -- I mean after I became -- after I had finished
19 being Shadow Secretary of State for Defence.
20 Q. So, it is a very recent --
21 A. Very recently. 18 months/a few years.
22 Q. You were asked questions about what was said by Mr Clark
23 in his article in The Spectator of 9th August 1997.
24 Were you aware that the context of his remarks were
25 denouncing harassment by the press of the Princess?

95

1 A. I was not. I did not see the article, Mr Burnett.
2 I was not aware of the article until Mr Keen mentioned
3 it.
4 Q. No, but the wonders of the internet mean that we have
5 been able to pull it up.
6 A. I never saw it, never heard about it.
7 Q. And just lastly then, so that we have it absolutely
8 clear: have you ever had any desire to harm
9 the Princess of Wales?
10 A. Never.
11 Q. And have you ever expressed any threats to the
12 Princess of Wales or to others in connection with
13 the Princess of Wales?
14 A. Absolutely not.
15 MR BURNETT: Thank you. Those are my questions.
16 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: Thank you very much, indeed,
17 Mr Soames, for giving us your time.
18 A. Thank you, sir. Thank you very much.
19 LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER: That is all that we require and
20 we are grateful to you.
21 Members of the jury, we will break off now. I am
22 afraid it is a little later than our normal finishing
23 time. I hope you have not been too much inconvenienced.
24 Tomorrow is a 10 o'clock start.
25 (4.40 pm)

96

1 (The hearing was adjourned until 10.00 am
2 on Thursday, 13th December 2007)
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
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18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25

97

1 INDEX
2
3 RAINE, COUNTESS SPENCER (sworn) .................. 1
4
5 Questions from MR BURNETT ................. 1
6
7 Questions from MR MANSFIELD ............... 28
8
9 THE HONOURABLE NICHOLAS SOAMES ................... 42
10 (sworn)
11
12 Questions from MR BURNETT ................. 42
13
14 Questions from MR MANSFIELD ............... 53
15
16 Questions from MR KEEN .................... 85
17
18 Questions from MR CROXFORD ................ 87
19
20 Further questions from MR BURNETT ......... 88


98

 

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