Sunday August 31 11:51 PM EDT

Confidants: Diana Found Happiness Before Death

By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuter) - Princess Diana declared just hours before she died that she had found true happiness with Dodi Al Fayed and planned to withdraw completely from public life.

Close confidants said on Monday they had never known her so content and fulfilled now that she had a new man in her life. Wedding bells were being forecast.

"They were, to use an old but priceless cliche, blissfully happy," said Daily Mail journalist Richard Kay who talked to Diana on the phone just six hours before she died.

Kay, a close confidant of the princess for the past five years, said: "She told me she had decided radically to change her life.

"She was going to complete her obligations to her charities and to the anti-personnel landmines cause and then around November would completely withdraw from her formal public life."

Bubblingly enthusiastic in their last phone conversation, she told Kay how she was looking forward to seeing her sons again -- future king William, 15, and Harry, 12.

"I'm coming home tomorrow and the boys will be back from Scotland in the evening," Diana said. "I will have a few days with them before they're back at school," she added.

Andrew Morton, whose best-selling book on Diana first revealed the heartbreak behind her failed marriage to Prince Charles, said the princess was "just a fingertip away from the happiness she craved."

"She was just a breath away from the new life she was attempting to build for herself," he said.

Morton said Diana had a new sense of purpose and inner resolve: "New love, new life, new hope."

Diana's body was flown home on Sunday to lie in a royal chapel. Her millionaire companion was buried just hours after the Paris car crash that killed them both.

Dodi Al Fayed, son of Harrods department store tycoon Mohamed Al Fayed, had been seen over the years with a succession of beautiful women draped over his arm in high society playgrounds.

But Al Fayed's spokesman Michael Cole said Dodi planned to spend the rest of his life with Diana.

Cole had warned Dodi about being seen with too many other beautiful women in case they could be rumored to be new girlfriends.

"Dodi turned to me and said 'Michael, I will never have another girlfriend'."

And that is why Diana's closest friends found it even harder to come to terms with her sudden death at 36.

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