Biteback has pulled a title claiming to tell the “true story” of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed's fatal crash in 1997 following "an abrupt change of mind" from Fayed's father, Mohammad Al Fayed.
The book, Diana And Dodi: The Truth by Michael Cole, promised to tell the "inside story of what really happened" on the night of the car crash, and also fuel rumours of a cover-up. It was due to be published on 31st August 2017, the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed's deaths.
But according to Biteback, Al Fayed, who was previously "aware and supportive" of the book, had an "abrupt change of mind" and asked Cole to not go ahead with its release. The publisher added that the cancellation of the book was set to leave a "big gap" in its publishing schedule.
A statement from the publisher said: "We have to announce with disappointment and consternation that our author Michael Cole has decided to cancel publication of his book Diana and Dodi. Up until this week Mr Fayed (Michael Cole’s former employer) was aware and supportive of the book, even supplying photos and, more recently, saying that he planned to order copies for himself. Unfortunately, he has now had an abrupt change of mind and asked Michael not to go ahead with the book. Sadly, therefore, we will not now be publishing Diana and Dodi."
Cole said that he came to his decision out of his "great respect" for Al Fayed and his family when he "became aware that they did not wish me, in this book, to revisit the terrible events of 20 years ago when Mohamed’s eldest son, Dodi, and their dear family friend, Diana, Princess of Wales, were unlawfully killed in the Alma Tunnel in Paris."
He added: "Knowing how acutely the family continues to feel the loss of Dodi and the Princess, I have now decided that the best and most appropriate thing I could do to honour the memory of Diana and Dodi would be to continue to share the Fayed family’s grief, borne in silent dignity for the past 20 years.”
Iain Dale, m.d. of Biteback, said the decision to cancel the publication of the title had not been taken "lightly" but he respected Cole's decision.
“Michael Cole feels he cannot now go ahead with publication, and I have to respect that decision even though it leaves a big gap in our publishing schedule and inconveniences those who had already ordered the book," Dale said. "I can only apologise to them, but this decision was not one made lightly."
Dale added: "It also deprives the world of reading a very different and moving account of Dodi Fayed’s relationship with the Princess of Wales and I hope in time the Fayed family may come to realise that this book’s publication would not only be in their interests but represents a vital contribution to the truth surrounding the events of July and August 1997.”
Biteback has also said that it had received a "needless and unjustified" letter threatening legal action even after it had decided to pull the book.
The book is now unavailable to pre-order from retailers.