Declassified documents from 10 Downing Street made public today provide lots of detail on how the British state reacted to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, including funeral and memorial plans - but not much for the conspiracy theorists.

Among the most compelling are the diplomatic cables from the British Ambassador in Paris, Sir Michael Jay, the first British person to be told of her death -in a Paris hospital at four in the morning.

The ambassador wrote: "The French authorities alerted this embassy at about 01.30 local time on 31 August to the car accident involving Diana Princess of Wales, and Mr al-Fayed. My wife and I went immediately to the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, and remained there through the night. The French interior minister, Jean-Pierre Chevenement, visibly moved, was already at the hospital...."

While they waited, hospital staff worked to try and revive the Princess, but at 3.45am Mr Chevenement was called aside.

"He returned around 4am, took my wife and me aside, and told us the Princess of Wales was dead. He was visibly moved," the ambassador wrote.

The ambassador and his staff then engaged in a round of phone calls to royal residences, Downing Street and the British Foreign Office to confirm the news.

The French interior minister and the ambassador then agreed that the hospital authorities would announce the death to the press, after which they would make a statement.

Diana with her sons Harry and William

Mr Jay wrote: "At about 5.30am, as we were walking across the hospital grounds to the lecture room that had been converted into a temporary press centre, Mohammed al-Fayed, who had flown by helicopter from his home in southern England, was driven into the grounds. Chevenement and I confirmed his son and the Princess of Wales were dead, and tried to comfort him."

Afterwards, back in the intensive care wing of the hospital, Mr Chevenement told the ambassador that the French Prime Minster Lionel Jospin was on his way from La Rochelle on the west coast to pay his last respects to the Princess, and that he would also like to do so.

The ambassador wrote: "I explained that paying last respects was not a strong British or Anglican tradition. But I thought it right that Chevenement, who wanted to pay his respects to the Princess, and who has shown exceptional compassion and sensitivity, as well as efficiency, throughout the night, should be allowed to do so. My wife and I were with him".

Other visitors to pay their last respects that morning were Bernadette Chirac, the president's wife, and Bernard Kouchner, the former health minister and a friend of Diana through his work with the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières.

A note was prepared for Mr Blair on the morning of Diana's death

Prince Charles and Diana's two sisters arrived by 5pm that evening and visited Diana's remains in the company of President Jacques Chirac, before departing France at 6.30pm with the coffin, draped in the royal standard, aboard an RAF plane.

The ambassador praised the French authorities constantly in his dispatches to London, for both their efficiency and their compassion in carrying out an investigation and making arrangements for the return of Diana's remains to Britain.

A declassified memo for then prime minster Tony Blair, prepared by a Downing Street staffer on the morning of her death, states that neither the Ambassador nor any embassy staff were aware that the Princess and Dodi al-Fayed had arrived in Paris.

"Similarly the Close Protection Squad of the French police were not aware, and have said that they would have made an escort available if that had been requested," it said.

In a "keydoc" summarising a number of communications in the three and a half weeks that followed Diana's death, Mr Jay wrote "France has reacted to the princess's death with an intensity of feeling not seen for many years, perhaps not since De Gaulle died nearly 30 years ago".

He detailed the memorials, media coverage and public sentiment in France.

The 'keydoc' from Michael Jay

"As so often in the past, Britain and France have found themselves linked by tragedy inspiring strong emotions. It has drawn the two peoples closer together. We must make sure that this is not undone in the months ahead by differences over the investigation or subsequent litigation".

Ambassador Michael Jay went on to head the Foreign Office, and is now a member of the House of Lords, where he is prominent in the EU Affairs Committee, where he has taken an anti-Brexit stance.

He led a sub-committee to Dublin, where it took evidence in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum on the effect of Brexit on Ireland.

Diana at a 1994 dinner at the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens.

In the shadow of litigation

The issue of litigation was a constant theme of the ambassador's briefs within days of Diana's death.

In a note on the state of the judicial investigation into the car crash and deaths marked "restricted", on 3 September, the ambassador noted that the fact that "the late princess's mother and sisters are now parties to the legal proceedings introduces new sensitivities to the criminal investigation".

He said this "will increase speculation about civil action on behalf of the late Princess, most probably against al-Fayed interests, notably the Ritz Hotel Ltd, the UK-registered company which employed the driver of the car".

Indeed there was tension within days of the accident between the al-Fayed organisation and the French investigators when the autopsy was carried out on Henri Paul, the driver of the Mercedes car in which Diana died.

According to the ambassador's account to London: "Initial samples of his blood indicated over three times the legal limit of alcohol. This was challenged by a UK pathologist engaged by the al-Fayeds.

"The French authorities carried out a third test, including the medically more conclusive sample of fluid from the white of the eye which confirmed the alcohol level, and also showed that Paul had been taking anti-depressants".

The embassy also noted the possibility of legal action arising in the case of Trevor Rees-Jones, a British bodyguard employed by the al-Fayeds.

He was the only survivor of the car crash and was visited in hospital by his mother and stepfather.

Princess Diana pictured in the backseat behind Trevor Rees-Jones (L) and driver Henri Paul

The Embassy note reports: "the Rees-Joneses are being well looked after by the al-Fayeds, but are conscious of the possible future complexities of their relationship with the al-Fayed Group. We have advised them to consider appointing a French lawyer on their son's behalf, and have advised them on their relationship with the press."

The note also mentions that the princess's mother Frances Shand Kydd and her sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale had, as executors of her will, established themselves as civil parties to the judicial inquiry into the car accident, as had Mohammed al-Fayed and the parents of Henri Paul, the driver.

Being a civil party in French law entitles people who have been directly affected to an incident to be kept informed of the progress in an investigation, to challenge a decision by prosecutors not to press charges, and have the right to demand the re-opening of a case if new evidence comes to light.

Diana pictured at her home in Gloucestershire

Later, in November 1997, a document in the files was sent from a staffer in Prince Charles's office at St James's Palace to Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair's chief of staff, setting out a line to take with the media about speculation that an application to vary the terms of Charles and Diana's full and final divorce settlement would be sought, using a legal process called a Barder application.

This was triggered by the appointment of solicitors to act for the interests of the two royal princes, William and Harry, following the death of their mother.

A staffer in Charles's office sent a message about the divorce settlement with Diana

The line was: "Lawyers acting for all the various parties concerning the estate of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, are meeting regularly to ensure that all matters are dealt with, through consent by all the parties, in a way which – as the Princess herself would undoubtedly have wished – is clearly in the best interests of Prince William and Prince Harry".

It went on to say that if asked about tax implications, the line was: "In resolving any of the complex taxation issues which may arise, these will be dealt with in a straightforward manner as referred to in the tax arrangements entered into by the Royal Family in 1993".

The note firmly says a Barder application will not be sought.

If asked was it explored, the guidance was to say: "The lawyers have naturally been looking at the financial arrangements which could be in the best interests of the two young Princes to maximise the assets of the estate".

Tony Blair arriving for the funeral service of Diana, at Westminster Abbey in London on 6 September 1997

The note confirms that a separate firm of solicitors had been employed to provide "independent advice" to Prince William and Prince Harry.

This had been done "at the request of solicitors acting for HRH the Prince of Wales" and by agreement with solicitors acting for Diana's estate.

It had been prompted, according to the note, by a review of the various solicitors of their responsibilities "with particular regard to protecting the interests" of the two princes, then aged 15 and 12.

The former Prime Minster John Major had agreed to oversee the arrangements "with the full approval of the Queen and the Prime Minister [Tony Blair], to assist in considering all the relevant legal issues relating to the young princes".

Correspondence to Tony Blair

The file includes a letter from Mohammed al-Fayed to then Prime Minister Tony Blair the day before the funeral, in which he writes: "I shall never be able to reconcile myself to the loss of two people so vibrant, so generous and so irreplaceable".

Mohammed al-Fayed's note to Tony Blair with a Harrod's letterhead

There is also a letter from Diana's brother Charles Spencer to Mr Blair, thanking him for appreciating what he called the positive force Diana was in people lives "when others scoffed at her".

Charles Spencer wrote to Mr Blair on 20 September 1997

International reaction

A memo between senior civil servants records international reaction to the death and funeral of Diana.

Dated 12 September, it is sent from the British Foreign Office to 10 Downing Street - and provides an insight into the thinking of the British Ambassador to Dublin at the time.

The memo describes the international response as "spontaneous, overwhelming and unprecedented".

"The high regard in which the princess was held was evident from the blanket media coverage and from the numbers signing books of condolences, attending memorial services, leaving flowers at British missions and contributing to the memorial fund," it continues.

In its overview of Western Europe, the United States and the Commonwealth, it paid particular attention to Ireland, "where 25,000 have signed the book at the Embassy, weeklong mourning was brought to a close with an ecumenical service at St Patrick's Cathedral attended by President Robinson and the Taoiseach".

More than one million bouquets of flowers were left at Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, and St James's Palace

The Ambassador commented: "Perhaps for the first time since partition, heartfelt grief at the death of the Princess has allowed many Irish people to vent feelings - such as a love of Britain and the Royal Family - that in the normal course of events would be buried deep from the gaze of their fellow citizens."

The reporting from Dublin was significant, as intensive talks on the peace process were underway, and taking up a lot of time of the top civil servants in Downing Street.

The other part of the world that was occupying the thoughts of Downing Street officials was the middle east, and in particular Libya and Iran.

It reported that in Iran, initial "callous remarks" were replaced by "factual reports, and s steady stream of visitors signed the book of condolences".

It noted that in Egypt, Jordan and Libya "some sections of the press fabricated conspiracy theories to account for the tragic accident".

On the conspiracy theories, it continued: "These, predictably, found their most obnoxious expression in Quadafi's accusation that British and French intelligence agencies had engineered an assassination. We have protested but Libyan sources were still playing on this theme after the funeral."

The memo concludes "it would be difficult to exaggerate the extent and depth of feeling evoked around the world by the death of the Princess".

MI6, Mr Speaker and the Milosevic 'assassination plot'

Coming up to the first anniversary of Diana's death in 1998, the British Embassy in Paris got word that former MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson was going to allege similarities between the death of the princess and a claimed plot by British Intelligence to assassinate Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in a car accident.

Declassified cabinet papers show how the story was flashed to the Foreign Office and Buckingham Palace by diplomatic telegram, marked confidential, from the British Embassy in Paris on 28 August 1998.

In the cable, British Ambassador Peter Jay reported a phone call from Philippe Massoni, the Paris Prefet De Police, who had called him just after midday to alert him that Mr Tomlinson had contacted the investigating magistrate on the Diana inquiry and requested to be formally interviewed as part of the case.

The interview was due to take place that afternoon, and Mr Tomlinson was to make two principal allegations; that the British Secret Intelligence Service had been "preparing to organise a car accident, similar to that which had resulted in death of Diana, aimed at killing Milosevic", and that Henri Paul, the Ritz Hotel driver of the car in which Diana died, and one of the press photographers who had pursued them, were MI6 agents.

Richard Tomlinson alleged that MI6 had been planning to kill the president of Yugoslavia in a similar circumstance to how Diana died

According to the Ambassadors telegram - now declassified from Downing Street papers - the French dismissed the allegations.

The ambassador wrote: "Massoni said that Stephan (the Magistrate) would of course keep the contents of the interview confidential. He said that we and he knew that such allegations were pure silliness and that Tomlinson was mad, but he feared that Tomlinson was likely to speak to the press straight afterwards.

"Massoni added that Tomlinson had a poor reputation and the affair was likely to blow over quickly".

"As we have told the Buckingham Palace and Downing Street press offices, and the SIS (MI6) by telephone, we suggest that the line, if asked, should be something like: 'We are now entering the realm of pure fantasy’. Grateful for confirmation that this is satisfactory".

A memo on the allegations made by Mr Tomlinson

Slobodan Milosevic was at that time the President of Yugoslavia and had been a key figure in the wars in Croatia and Bosnia.

In 1998 he was coming under intense pressure from the West in general, and the Blair government in particular, over the repression of the ethnic Albanian majority in the then Yugoslav state of Kosovo.

He would later appear before Hague war crimes tribunal, where he died in custody.

In the Downing Street file on this incident, there is a report of the AFP news agency reporting of the interview with Mr Tomlinson and Magistrate Herve Stephan.

It cited a "source close to the inquiry" stating that Mr Tomlinson alleged that Henri Paul was an MI6 agent, and that one of the princess’ bodyguards was also a "contact" agent of MI6.

Mr Tomlinson was reported to have slipped out a side entrance of the Palais de Justice

The AFP report said: "According to the same source, he did not specify in his letter whether it was Trevor Rees-Jones, the only survivor of the accident, or Alexander Wingfield, both employed by the Ritz Hotel, owned by Egyptian billionaire Mohammed al-Fayed, at the time of the accident."

The UK Press Association newswire on the same day reported Mr Tomlinson had slipped out a side entrance to avoid waiting journalists at the Palais de Justice.

The report noted that Mr Tomlinson had spent six months in jail for trying to sell his memoirs in breach of the Official Secrets Act, and that he was "an outspoken critic" of MI6, for which he had worked for four years.

He had been arrested in Paris, earlier in August of 1998, at the request of the British, but was released without charge.

Mr Tomlinson's allegations were taken up by a Labour backbench MP Lindsay Hoyle, now the speaker of the House of Commons.

He had become prominent in the public mind within weeks of the princess's death by calling for the renaming of Heathrow Airport as the "Diana Princess of Wales International Airport".

He wrote to his party leader and Prime Minister, Tony Blair, saying he had tried to table a number of parliamentary questions on the "mystery surrounding the death of Princess Diana", but they were refused by parliamentary authorities on the grounds that they related to "national security issues to which I am not entitled to an answer".

He called for the Prime Minister to make a statement to "clear up some of the secrecy and controversies surrounding her death".

Lindsay Hoyle is now the Speaker of the House of Commons

This set off an intense internal discussion in the British government on how to handle the allegations without adding further fuel to the fire.

In a handwritten note in the declassified files, a Downing street staffer wrote "Lindsay Hoyle is publicity mad – Bruce G's strong view was not to give him this in writing".

The note also asked if Alastair Campbell, Mr Blair's combative Downing Street head of press had a view on how to deal with the matter.

It said: "If we are to get this out in this way, we surely need to do so in [a] time and manner we control."

Another hand written note - this time to Tony Blair himself - argued the contrary.

It said the Foreign Office thought there were "disadvantages" to putting anything in writing to Lindsay Hoyle, suggesting a phone call instead.

The author continues - this strikes me as daft - much better to put this in writing clearly and definitively.

A definitive letter was drafted stating Downing Street's view that Mr Tomlinson's claims were wrong.

"Any suggestion that any British official organisation or department had anything to do with this tragic event is both ridiculous and deeply distressing for the bereaved families," it said.

In the letter, the Prime Minster said it would be inappropriate to make any sort of statement that might prejudice the ongoing investigation by the French authorities, which had been "thorough and painstaking".

The letter on file was signed by Tony Blair, but it was never sent - indicating how contentious the handling of Hoyle's questions had been.

Memorial funds: An Irish Connection

There are huge numbers of documents on various plans for memorials and ways to commemorate Diana, including one addressed to a Treasury official called Gabs Maklouf – now the Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland.

Back then he was Principal Private Secretary to Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Candle in the Wind

Princess Diana died in the early hours of Sunday, 31 August 1997.

Her funeral – one of the biggest ever witnessed in Britain - took place on Saturday, 6 September.

Amidst the shock and grief, a large-scale funeral for a prominent royal had to be organised by church and state officials.

Buckingham Palace, Downing Street and the Spencer family were all involved, as were many other people and organisations from traffic police to video screen rental companies.

The planning followed the template of other royal funerals, with a suitable selection of music and prayers, a reading by prime minster Tony Blair, and a eulogy by Diana's brother Charles Spencer.

In between them was to be a piece of music - contemporary to reflect the princess's interests.

Her friend Elton John was chosen, and the song he performed - Goodbye England's Rose/Candle in the Wind '97, a re-write of the earlier hit opening with "Goodbye Norma Jean" (about actress Marilyn Monroe) – went on to be one of the biggest selling singles of all time in the UK and USA, selling more than 33 million copies.

Elton John performs at Diana's funeral

It wasn't in the original order of service, where another early Elton John hit Your Song appeared in the early draft order of service circulated for discussion to key parties on 2 September.

But 24 hours later, the newly-written ode to "England's Rose" was in the next draft of the order of service.

Except it was not definite that Elton John would perform it - or indeed perform at all.

There was a choice to make about the contemporary element of the service: an established performing artist at the top of their game and personal friend of Diana - or a complete unknown; a teenager, unnamed in the correspondence, from a charity the princess was associated with who was to play an improvised saxophone solo.

Diana with her sons William and Harry

In a fax from the Dean of Westminster Abbey, the very Reverend Dr Wesley Carr, to Lt Colonel Malcolm Ross of Buckingham Palace, and circulated to Downing Street, the Dean wrote: "This is a crucial point in the service, and we would urge boldness.

"It is where the unexpected happens and something of the modern world that the Princess represented. I would respectfully suggest that anything classical or choral (even a popular classic such as something by Lloyd-Webber) is inappropriate. Better would be the enclosed song (Lyrics of "Your song" were at the end of the fax) by Elton John (known to millions and his music was enjoyed by the Princess), which would be powerful".

Then the Dean mentioned the new song that had already hit the airwaves.

"He has written new words to a tune which is being widely played and sung throughout the nation in memoriam of Diana. It is on all the time on the radio. Its use here would be imaginative and generous to the millions who are feeling personally bereaved. It is popular culture at its best.

"If it were thought the words were too sentimental (although that is by no means a bad thing given the national mood), they need not be printed - only sung. I would be prepared to discuss the significance of this suggestion over the phone with anyone.

"The alternative of a saxophone solo by a young musician which would be poignant in the Abbey is a very second best shot. We have both available".

Ultimately, and swiftly, the Dean's suggestion of Elton John playing England's Rose was selected with enthusiasm, and the powerful contemporary effect he sought was achieved - and then some.