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Letters read at dianas inquest { December 14 2007 }

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Diana's 'Darling Dodi' Letters Are Read
December 14, 2007

LONDON (AP) Princess Diana's letters to "Darling Dodi" were read Friday at the British inquest into the deaths of the couple, giving a glimpse of the passion of a new romance that ended in a car crash in Paris.

Dodi Fayed's previous girlfriend, who once thought she would be his bride, told the inquest about the abrupt ending of her affair with Fayed, when she was kicked out of her Los Angeles home and learned from a friend of his involvement with the princess.

In a letter thanking Fayed for a six-day holiday on his yacht in the summer of 1997, Diana wrote: "This comes with all the love in the world and as always a million heartfelt thanks for bringing such joy into this chick's life."

Michael Mansfield, a lawyer for Fayed's father, Mohamed Al Fayed, also produced a letter which the princess sent with a gift of cufflinks.

"Darling Dodi, these cufflinks were the very last gift from the man I loved most in the world, my father," she wrote.

"They are given to you as I know how much joy it would give him to know they were in such safe and special hands. Fondest love, Diana."

Diana and Dodi Fayed died from a car crash in the early hours of Aug. 31, 1997. French and British police say driver Henri Paul was well over the legal alcohol limit.

Mohamed Al Fayed alleges the two were about to become engaged and were murdered in a plot directed by Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II's husband, in part to keep a Muslim out of the royal circle. Fayed's lawyers have also suggested that the security services may have wanted to stop Diana's campaign against land mines.

Mansfield introduced the letters on Friday as he questioned Diana's friend Rosa Monckton, who had said on Thursday that she believed Diana was still recovering from a previous relationship when her romance with Fayed bloomed.

"She was treating this relationship with Dodi as a serious matter wasn't she? It doesn't suggest it was little more than a fling after a couple of days," Mansfield said.

"She tended to speak and write in an extravagant way," Monckton replied, but agreed that the sentiment was genuine.

Fayed's previous girlfriend, Kelly Fisher, testified that Fayed had lavished gifts on her, including a ring that she regarded as a sign of their engagement.

By July 1997, Fisher said, the relationship was not going well, although she still hoped for a wedding in August. She said they had already bought a house in Malibu to share after their marriage, with money Fayed said he inherited from his mother.

But when she returned to California in August, Fisher said she was told by a man there to leave, as it was Mohamed Al Fayed's house.

A friend later telephoned, Fisher said, to alert her to the publication of a picture showing Fayed and Diana kissing.

"I said 'they are just friends' and she said. 'no, they are seeing each other, it's in all the papers'. I didn't believe it so I called Dodi," Fisher said.

She could not reach him, so she said she called his father.

"It was horrible because of the things he said to me and called me," she said. Previously, she said, Al Fayed "was always really, really nice to me."

Fisher said Dodi had wanted her to stop work as a model, and said he would deposit $400,000 to $500,000 in her bank account.

After some delay, he put in a check for $200,000 in June 1997, which bounced, she said.

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Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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