It said that it had asked specialist detectives to examine new allegations and evidence passed to it “recently”. The move was approved by Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, its most senior officer.
The claims were given to the force by the Royal Military Police, after surfacing during the trial of Sgt Danny Nightingale, the SAS sniper convicted of illegal weapons possession.
The dossier is said to include a claim that the SAS “was behind Princess Diana’s death”. Scotland Yard declined to confirm the content or origin of the material.
Officers from the specialist crime and operations command will carry out a “scoping” exercise to assess if a full-scale investigation is justified into whether the Princess, her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul were murdered.
The disclosure comes in spite of the inquest into the death of the Princess and Mr Fayed dismissing any claims of murder made by Mohammed Fayed, Dodi’s father, and conspiracy theorists.
Since then murder claims have continued to be made but have never been looked into by British police – making last night’s move unprecedented.
The decision to examine the new claims suggests that officers believe they must be looked at by detectives to assess whether they have any weight.
However they come from the estranged parents-in-law of “Soldier N”, an SAS soldier who was a key witness in the successful prosecution of Sgt Nightingale. He was himself convicted of illegal weapons possession.
His estranged wife’s parents wrote to the SAS’s commanding officer claiming the soldier had told his wife that the unit had “arranged” the Princess’s death and that this had been “covered up”.