29 JANUARY 2008

In a tense day of testimony to the High Court, Princess Diana's sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, vehemently denied she destroyed a box of potentially explosive secrets that was kept locked in apartments at Kensington Palace.

Lady Sarah, the executor of the Princess' will, told the inquest into her death that highly sensitive documents contained in the chest were handed to Paul Burrell for safekeeping.

Diana's butler maintains this material - which was said to include letters from Prince Phillip and tapes recorded by the Princess – were taken to the Spencer family home, Althorp.

A lawyer acting for the family of driver Henri Paul asked Lady Sarah: "Are you seriously saying that you took all of these sensitive materials with their obvious capacity to embarrass and cause distress… handed them over to the butler?" Her answer was a curt: "Yes".

These developments came as the actions of Harrods tycoon Mohamed al Fayed in the last days of Diana's life also came under scrutiny in court. According to Diana's eldest sister, the Princess of Wales feared Dodi's father was bugging The Jonikal, the yacht on which the couple cruised the Mediterranean in the summer of 1997.

Photo: ©
Lady Sarah McCorquodale, the Princess' eldest sibling, was asked in court about her claim that sensitive documents were given to Paul Burrell for safekeepingPhoto: © PA
Photo: ©
The two sisters shared such a close relationship that Sarah often acted as the Princess' lady-in-waiting and was named as the executor of her willPhoto: © PA