Dodi Fayed planned to propose to Princess Diana on the night they died, his former butler claimed yesterday (05.12.07).

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Rene Delorm also told the inquest into their deaths he saw Dodi down on one knee and tenderly touching the princess’ stomach, sparking more rumours she was pregnant when she was killed.

Delorm claims Dodi – who was killed with his lover Diana in a Paris car crash on August 31, 1997 – told him he was going to propose the day before the fatal accident during a conversation at Dodi’s Paris apartment.

He said: ‘Dodi told me, ‘Rene, have some champagne ready because when I come back I’m going to propose to the princess.’ The next thing he did, he reached into his pocket, he took out a box and I saw the ring.

‘I couldn’t believe – why I couldn’t believe? – because all these years sometimes I used to say, ‘Why don’t you get married, you are a good looking man… you are smart, you are rich, all you need is a family,’ and he said nothing more.

‘And here I am standing in front of a man who was going to propose to the princess and I was very excited.’

Delorm claimed he had witnessed Diana and Dodi going into a jeweller’s shop in Monte Carlo earlier in the summer of 1997.

He told the jury he had seen Dodi touch Diana’s stomach but didn’t know if this meant she was pregnant. But he added that he had later heard of rumours that the princess had been expecting.

Soon after Dodi’s death, Delorm wrote a book about his time with him but did not include this claim. The court heard that he first made the claim when interviewed by British police officers from Scotland Yard some years later.

Delorm said yesterday: ‘The officer of Scotland Yard told me ‘Why is that not in your book?’ and I said ‘I didn’t want to take advantage of a situation I didn’t know. It was a rumour, how can I tell she was pregnant?’

Dodi’s father, Mohamed al Fayed, has always maintained the couple were killed by the British establishment because they were about to announce their engagement and the pregnancy.