21 DECEMBER 2007

Hours before the fatal crash in which she lost her life on August 30, 1997, Princess Diana phoned her closest journalist confidant to discuss her present concerns and plans for the future, the inquest into her death has heard.

Former royal correspondent Richard Kay revealed how the Princess told him in the conversation - which lasted between 20 and 30 minutes - she was considering leaving Britain for a life on foreign shores, saying: "Perhaps my destiny is to go abroad".

While the manager of the Mohammed Al Fayed-owned Ritz Hotel in Paris had previously told jurors Dodi planned to settle in Paris at the Villa Windsor with a "girlfriend", the journalist said Diana had made it clear it was not a place she would consider living. He told the court she felt the building was "full of old ghosts" and "more like a museum".

Mr Kay, who apparently struck up a close friendship with the Princess after she contacted him in 1992 to thank him for a series of articles, also stated his belief that Diana and her companion Dodi Al Fayed were not about to announce their intentions to get married. She had mentioned nothing about such a major development in the relationship during the call, he explained.

When he'd asked Diana earlier in the month about the possibility of an engagement, she replied: "Absolutely not. I have just got out of one marriage and I am not going to get into another one."

Another subject raised during the conversation were her plans of possibly setting up a worldwide hospice network, which Dodi was prepared to financially underwrite. "It was to be a major announcement," said Mr Kay, "It was something she wanted to do, rather than things other people wanted her to do."

The Princess had a phone conversation with her journalist friend Richard Kay - pictured covering her on a royal engagement – hours before she died. According to Mr Kay during the call she discussed her current concerns and plans for the future, including the possibility of moving abroadPhoto: © RexClick on photo to enlarge
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