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Princess diana may have been pregnant

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News news from The Evening Standard
London, Monday 26.11.07
Diana pathologist admits she may have been pregnant at time of death - but not beyond three weeks

The pathologist who examined the body of Diana, Princess of Wales, has admitted that she could have been pregnant at the time of her death, but not beyond three weeks.

Dr Robert Chapman, who carried out a post-mortem on the night of her death, said the Princess's womb and ovaries did not display the tell-tale changes he would expect to see if she were pregnant.

But he admitted such indications would not necessarily be visible in the first three weeks after conception.

Giving evidence at Diana's inquest at the High Court in London, he also revealed she did not appear to have drunk any alcohol in the hours leading up to her death, even though tests showed that her lover Dodi Fayed - who dined with her that night - had.

As he began to give his evidence, two members of the public were ejected from the courtroom after interrupting proceedings, one shouting about "the conspiracy".

Coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker commented simply: "I think we can proceed."

The jury have heard that Dodi's father Mohamed al Fayed is convinced the couple were murdered by MI6 because she was carrying his child.

He believes Diana's body was embalmed in Paris deliberately to obscure the results of any chemical pregnancy test had one been conducted.

The jury heard that Dr Chapman examined the bodies of Diana and Dodi at Hammersmith and Fulham mortuary in west London on the evening of August 31, 1997 after they were flown back to the UK from Paris where the couple were killed.

He told the jury that he inspected Diana's womb and ovaries as he would for any woman of child-bearing age.

The court heard that the usual signs of pregnancy would include an increase in the thickness of the uterus lining, the presence of an embryonic sac and changes to the appearance of the ovaries.

He said he would "expect" to be able to see such signs when the embryo was three weeks old, but added they could be picked up as early as seven days after conception.

Dr Chapman showed the jury two text-book cross-section photographs of ovaries showing how parts of the organ increased in size to produce hormones during pregnancy.

Asked how early such physical signs could be seen he explained: "Certainly from day one to seven there could not or would not be anything to see.

"From day seven to 14 you might see something, thereafter there is an increasing likelihood of being able to see things which would indicate pregnancy."

He said that he noted how Diana's body had been embalmed in Paris and confirmed that the chemicals used could cause some changes such as blood clots.

But he said that the embalming fluids would not affect the physical evidence of a pregnancy in an inspection of the womb or ovaries.

He explained: "An established pregnancy will show one a change in the size of the uterus, a change in the thickness of the lining and presence of a gestation sac, an embryo with membranes, attached to the wall of the uterus and there will be changes also in the appearance of the ovaries."

Nicholas Hilliard, counsel to the inquest, asked him: "Were any of these indications present here?"

He replied: "No."

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