A jury of six women and five men has been chosen for the hearing. They were selected by ballot from a shortlist of 25. The inquest is expected to last for up to six months.
Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed, son of Mohamed Al Fayed, owner of London's Harrods, perished alongside chauffeur Henri Paul when their Mercedes slammed into a pillar in the Pont d'Alma tunnel, in Paris, on 31 August 1997.
Their deaths saw subsequent mass mourning in Britain, with an unparalleled outpouring of grief and shock, as well as a host of conspiracy theories.
Mohamed Al Fayed claimed that his son and Diana were murdered by British security forces on the orders of the British royal family, who wanted to prevent the Princes of Wales from marrying a Muslim. He claims that the couple were due to announce their engagement, and that Diana was pregnant with his son's child.
Former London police chief John Stevens led a subsequent investigation that concluded that there were no grounds to support such a claim.
Mohamed Al Fayed remains unconvinced, however.
"I believe my son and Princess Diana have been murdered by the royal family," he said outside the court, before the inquest.
Al-Fayed hopes that the queen, Prince Philip and Prince Charles will testify during the inquest, although experts say this is unlikely.
However, even if Mohamed Al Fayed were to get his wish and see the royals in court, there is little hope that the current proceedings will put an end to the speculation and accusations. The case has captured the imagination of the Great British Public, and looks fated to remain a talking point for decades to come.