Henri Paul was granted ‘specific status’ which allowed him to drink alcohol on the night Princess Diana was killed in a car crash.

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Henri – who was behind the wheel of Mercedes when it crashed into pillar 13 of the Paris’ Pont d’Alma tunnel on August 31, 1997, killing Diana, her lover Dodi Fayed as well as himself – was given permission to drive while he was under the influence, even though others disapproved.

Thierry Rocher – a former night manager at Paris’ Ritz hotel, where Diana and Dodi had been staying – said he was not happy Henri was driving the car but was not in a position to challenge it.

He told the inquest into Diana and Dodi’s deaths at London’s High Court: ‘Nobody was allowed to drink alcohol while on duty but Henri Paul had a specific status at the hotel.

‘Henri Paul reported directly to Mr Klein (president of the Ritz) and in his absence Mr Roulet (Mr Klein’s assistant).’

Jean-Francois Musa, owner of the company Etoile Limousines, which provided the car for the couple’s journey, said he was unhappy when he learned Paul would be driving the pair.

He said: ‘I was unhappy because Mr Paul was not a driver and it was totally unusual to have a car of the company being driven by an external person.’

Henri has been blamed by separate British and French inquiries for crash as he was accused of being over the drink-driving limit and speeding.

However, Mohamed Al Fayed, Dodi’s father, maintains his son and the princess were killed by the British establishment as the couple were set to announce their engagement.

He also claims Diana – mother to Princes William and Harry – was pregnant with Dodi’s child.