Princess Diana's death may not have been an accident, but it also wasn't the result of some massive royal conspiracy.
Jurors in the official inquest into the late royal's death returned their verdict Monday, determining once and for all that she and partner Dodi Fayed were, as has been generally believed, killed due to grossly negligent driving by chauffeur Henri Paul and the relentless pursuit of the paparazzi.
The coroner's panel ruled in joint verdicts that the reckless actions of Paul and the shutterbugs were unlawful, and that the fact that Paul was driving drunk, and that neither Diana nor Fayed were wearing seat belts, contributed to the deaths in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997.
A British police investigation of the incident had previously concluded that the crash, in Paris' Pont d'Alma tunnel, was the result of Paul being both drunk and driving at exceedingly high speeds.
Prior to deliberations, the jury was informed that an unlawful-killing verdict, the most serious of five options they were given, was tantamount to a ruling of manslaughter.
However, a Ministry of Justice spokesperson said it was unlikely any new criminal charges would be pursued as the deaths occurred outside the jurisdiction of the court, as all paparazzi involved were foreign.
Both Diana's sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, and Fayed's father, Mohamed al Fayed, were present in the High Court to hear the verdict. Both left without commenting to the press, though a statement subsequently released on behalf of al Fayed said the decision would disappoint "millions" of supporters.
"The French and the Scotland Yard inquiries were wrong," the statement said. "These inquests prove it. They said it was an accident and their findings are now dismissed.
"The most important thing is, it is murder."
Al Fayed has long propagated the notion that the royal family, in particular Queen Elizabeth's husband, Prince Philip, was behind the deaths. However, last week, the presiding judge, Coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker, told jurors that al Fayed's claims were without evidence or merit and prohibited them from ruling that the deaths were the result of any staged or premeditated killing.
Former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Stevens, who helped launch the original inquiry, called the joint verdicts "justification" of the inquest.
"The verdict has been clear," he said. "They have said they are absolutely sure that there is no conspiracy in relation to this matter. I do hope everybody will take this verdict as being closure to this particular tragic incident and the people who've died will be allowed to rest in peace."
Prior to the decision being announced, Baker told the 11 jurors that he would sign off on a majority verdict, meaning just nine of them would need to agree on the cause of death. It's unclear whether the ruling was done by majority or was unanimous.
The jury of six women and five men spent four days in deliberations, after six months of testimony in which more than 240 witnesses took the stand.
The cost of the inquest has been a topic of great debate in the U.K., with reports claiming the case cost the British public anywhere from $6 million to $20 million.