19 OCTOBER 2007

Princess Diana's lover Dodi Al Fayed bought an ¬£11,600 'engagement ring' for her shortly before their fatal car crash, the inquest jury into the couple's deaths has been told. Jury members were shown a receipt dated August 30, 1997, from the Paris branch of jewellery store Alberto Repossi which lists the piece as bague fiancaille or engagement ring. The gold and diamond ring, which was later found at Dodi's flat in the French capital, was from the Dis-moi oui ‚Äď 'Tell me yes' ‚Äď range.

Also recorded on the receipt was the purchase of a ¬£60,000 etoile - or star ‚Äď ring of gold and 'gems' from the same line.

The jury was also shown CCTV footage of Dodi in the store, where he was seen inspecting several pieces of jewellery. Later he is shown carrying only a Repossi brochure back to the Ritz hotel where Diana had spent the afternoon.

Shortly afterwards, however, the hotel president's assistant Claude Roulet was captured on film returning to the store and picking up a bagged item which he took back to the couple's Imperial Suit and then deposited in the Ritz's strong room.

Mohammed Al Fayed maintains that his son and the princess had met jewellery firm owner Mr Repossi earlier in the summer in Monte Carlo to select a ring, which was then sent to Italy to be sized. The Harrods boss, who was not at the High Court on Thursday, has also said he received a phone call from Dodi hours before the car crash to confirm he'd picked up the ring and that Diana had spoken to him about making an announcement.

The coroner told the jury: "You will have to decide whether Dodi did indeed phone his father in those terms and whether, if he did, what he said was more than wishful thinking".

Diana's friends and family have always insisted she wasn't engaged nor was she planning to re-marry. The inquest heard from the Princess' close friend Lady Annabel Goldsmith who spoke to her about marriage not long before she passed away. "I need marriage like a rash on the face," Diana is said to have replied to her.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The jury were shown CCTV footage of Dodi in the Parisian jewellery store where he was seen inspecting a number of itemsPhoto: © PAClick on photo to enlarge
Photo: © Alphapress.com
A receipt from the store shows the words bague fiancaille, French for engagement ringPhoto: © PA