Diving instructor, 19, whose mother was Princess Diana’s lady-in-waiting, drowned at Greek holiday resort
The teenage son of Princess Diana’s lady-in-waiting drowned attempting a ‘free dive’ on a Greek holiday resort, an inquest has heard.
Henry Byatt, known as Harry, was a scuba diving instructor at the exclusive Peligoni Club on the island of Zakynthos when he died in August 2017.
The 19-year-old’s mother, Alexandra, was a childhood friend of Diana and acted as her lady-in-waiting from 1991 until 1997.
THE teenage son of Princess Diana’s lady-in-waiting drowned attempting a ‘free dive’ on a Greek holiday resort, an inquest has heard. Henry Byatt, known as Harry, was a scuba diving instructor at the exclusive Peligoni Club on the island of Zakynthos when he died in August 2017
She attended a pre-inquest review hearing with Harry’s father Duncan – a senior civil servant in the Cabinet Office and former chief executive at the Foundation of Princes William and Harry – at Westminster Coroner’s Court on Friday.
The short hearing, ahead of a full inquest in October, heard that Mr Byatt may have been tired when he decided to free dive – an extreme sport involving deep dives without equipment.
Senior coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox said the teenager was ‘very unwise’ to undertake the dive while on a break from work with two other people, suggesting he was tired and should have instead gone to rest.
The court heard the teenager’s body was discovered at a depth of 100ft on the bed of the Ionian Sea in the early afternoon of August 6, 2017.
A police investigation followed Mr Byatt’s death but Dr Wilcox said no charges have been bought and it will not be reported to the Health and Safety Executive, because it happened away from his employment.
‘It was a voluntary activity on his part although it was during his working day,’ she said.
The 19-year-old’s mother, Alexandra, was a childhood friend of Diana and acted as her lady-in-waiting from 1991 until 1997. Above: The pair at the British Fashion Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in 1989
‘What happened that day, the search, the rescue, the attempts to resuscitate Henry, whether the watchtower was manned, is relevant and what emergency equipment was available is relevant.
‘He was using equipment that was not supplied by the employer and he was undertaking something that wasn’t within his normal work.
‘The sequence of events, what Henry was doing on that day, who he was with, who he was swimming with when they realised he was missing, how the alarm was raised, how he was searched for – these are the matters I’m looking at.
‘Three of them went together. They were free-diving because they wanted to do it.’
She added: ‘People in court will probably conclude it was very unwise.
‘He could have chosen to go to his room and lay down and rest. A sensible adult, when they were tired, would go and rest.’
A memorial page was set up online paying tribute to the former Eastbourne College student, describing him as a ‘beloved son, brother, and friend’.
A statement from the East Sussex college said its community was ‘deeply saddened’.