Former royal coroner: Diana not pregnant at time of death

— Princess Diana was not pregnant when she died, a former royal coroner says, apparently ruling out one of the rumors which has swirled around Diana's death in a car crash six years ago.

Dr. John Burton, who was the royal coroner at the time, said he was present at a post-mortem examination after Diana's body was returned from Paris, The Times newspaper reported in Wednesday's editions.

"I was actually present when she was examined. She wasn't pregnant. I know she wasn't pregnant," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

Burton spoke on the same day that the present royal coroner, Michael Burgess, opened formal inquests into the deaths of Diana, 36, and her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, 42. They died when their chauffeur-driven car crashed in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997.

A French judge put responsibility for the crash on the driver, Henri Paul, who was intoxicated and driving at high speed. He was also killed.

Fayed's father, Mohammed Al Fayed, has claimed that Diana may have been pregnant when she died. He has also accused Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II's husband, of masterminding a conspiracy.

The Daily Mirror newspaper on Tuesday published a letter apparently written by Diana to her butler, in which she claimed that her ex-husband, Prince Charles, was plotting to kill her in an auto accident.

The Daily Mirror itself described the idea as "utterly preposterous to many people" and said there was no evidence to support the claim.

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