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Diana `was not pregnant'.

DIANA was not pregnant at the time of her death, the former Royal Coroner said today.

Dr John Burton, who attended the princess's post-mortem examination, said he could tell she was not expecting a baby when he looked at her womb.

``I was actually present when she was examined. She wasn't pregnant. I know she wasn't pregnant,''he said.

Dr Burton was speaking the day after his successor Michael Burgess opened inquests into the deaths of Diana and her lover Dodi Fayed.

Mr Burgess said he had asked the Metropolitan Police to probe speculation that the deaths were not the result of a ``straightforward, road traffic accident''.

Police in England would be asked to interview possible witnesses to find out whether their evidence was relevant to the inquests,Mr Burgess said.

Fresh allegations were made last month that Diana was pregnant at the time of the fatal car crash in Paris in August 1997.

A senior French police source told a national newspaper the princess was pregnant and that there was a ``cover up of sorts'' after the accident.

The source, who claimed to have seen all the relevant documents, said the pregnancy was not mentioned in the official investigation into the crash by a French judge because it was not considered relevant to either the causes of the accident or Diana's death.

Under the Coroners Rules in Britain, postmortem reports must include the results of internal examinations of the deceased's generative organs.

Dr Burton said a blood test would not be necessary to tell if the princess was pregnant if she had been internally examined.

The claim that Diana was carrying Dodi's baby has been repeatedly voiced by Dodi's father,Mohamed al Fayed. It has been consistently denied by people close to the late princess.

Diana, 36,and Dodi,42, were killed with chauffeur Henri Paul when their Mercedes crashed in a Parisian underpass on August 31,1997.

A two-year investigation in France blamed Paul for losing control of the car because he was high on drink and prescription drugs and driving too fast.

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SPECULATION: Diana's death in Paris is to be investigated by the Metropolitan Police
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 7, 2004
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