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PRINCESS Diana was murdered because she planned to expose Britain’s role in the deadly arms trade, a leading defence lawyer claimed yesterday.

Michael Mansfield QC said she intended publishing an “explosive” diary to unmask those most closely involved with British land-mine manufacturing.

Mr Mansfield told the Hay Festival in Powys, Wales: “Everyone remembers she raised the profile of the land mines.

“Everybody is aware that the British involvement in the arms trade, particularly land mines, is and was a huge vested interest.

“It seems to me she had planned various visits. She had already been to Angola and she was going to Cambodia.

“A large number of land mines had been manufactured by the British. She claimed she had an explosive diary in which she was going to expose the people most closely involved in the British arms trade.”

The Princess of Wales angered ministers when she called for an international ban on land mines just months before her death in 1997. She spoke out during a high-profile visit to Angola to meet some of the tens of thousands of innocent victims of the lethal devices.

At the time, Conservative defence minister Earl Howe described her as a “loose cannon” and claimed she was ill-informed on the issue.

Mr Mansfield said her anti-land mine campaign and plan to reveal the secrets behind the trade were “not unrelated” to the car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997 that killed Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed.

He added “a witness who knew her well” claimed the Princess had an “exposure diary” and a missing box of papers could contain crucial information.

Mr Mansfield represented Dodi’s father Mohamed Al Fayed at the inquest into the couple’s deaths which returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

He revealed he believed the Princess’s death was suspicious as soon as headlines flashed around the world: “I just stopped in my tracks and thought, ‘There’s something odd here’.”

Mr Mansfield added: “I was left with the distinct feeling this wasn’t an accident.”

He told a Spanish newspaper: “Diana had given interviews attacking the Royal Family but what most annoyed the authorities was that she became very actively involved in the campaign against land mines.”

Last night a spokeswoman for Princes William and Harry said they had “no comment” on the latest allegations surrounding their mother’s death.

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