On Labor Day Sunday in 1997, like many others, I was shocked upon awakening to hear that Princess Diana had been killed in an automobile crash in Paris. Though I wasn’t yet a Diana fanatic, I was stunned and saddened. Because I work in the health care field, I researched what had happened that night in the Alma tunnel and I was disturbed and skeptical about the medical treatment Princess Diana received. I decided to write a book on my findings but in order to make it a compelling read I would write a fictional retelling and change all the names. Thus, “Death of the Queen of Hearts” was born.
“Death of the Queen of Hearts” is mystery thriller told from the point of view of the protagonist princesses’ son, Prince James, as he uncovers the truth about his mother’s death.
Our story begins with James celebrating his 21st birthday and amongst the gifts is a letter addressed to “Bunny.” Bunny was a nickname only his mother, Princess Christina who died four years earlier, knew and used. Inside was a dinner reservation for that night. Hurrying to the restaurant, James sits, waits and drinks. Then a mysterious voice behind him tells James to not turn around and feel underneath his table. Following the instructions, James discovers a DVD taped there.
Playing the DVD our Princess Diana inspired character, Princess Christina appeared saying:
“Bunny dear, happy, happy birthday. But if you’re seeing this, something dire must have happened to me. Listen, darling. You’re the only one to tell my story – the true story. Because whatever they told you, whether it was a suicide, an overdose or an accident, don’t believe them. It was murder. I have arranged for you to receive this when you turn twenty-one. Remember: trust no one. Remember me. Avenge me.”
Armed with this shocking revelation, James embarks on a quest to find the facts on his beloved mother’s death. He finds himself questioning official records—and even his own sanity—as his family members prevent him from discovering the truth of how Princess Christina died. James’ character transitions smoothly from an obedient, unsure youth to a confident, informed man secure in his choices.
I feel like there true story behind what happened to Princess Diana is much more complicated in reality than what was simply presented on television. As such I opted to create a story with twists, turns, hints and clues that allude back to what I believe truly happened.
I wanted James to grow as a character while the new clues about his mother created a more dynamic view of royal life. “Death of the Queen of Hearts” highlights the dark side of celebrity, the malevolent nature of conspiracy and the heart-wrenching impact of tragedy wrapped in a blanket of mystery.
I wrote this for fans of mysteries, political intrigue, celebrity hounds and especially those royalty watchers out there. The more you dig into the story the more you may just find yourself wanting to know more about the life of Princess Diana.
(About the article contributor: Roman A. Clay is a health administrator with experience in the film industry. He wrote “Death of the Queen of Hearts” as a screenplay and transitioned it into a novel to help share his discoveries about how Princess Diana passed away.)