Princess Diana Dies – HISTORY
Shortly after midnight on August 31, 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales – affectionately known as “the People’s Princess” – died in a car accident in Paris. She was 36 years old. Her boyfriend, Egyptian-born socialite Dodi Fayed, and the driver of the car, Henri Paul, are also dead.
Princess Diana was one of the most popular public figures in the world. Her death was greeted with a wave of sorrow. Mourners immediately started visiting Kensington Palace, leaving bouquets at the house where the Princess, also known as Lady Di, would never return. Piles of flowers reached about 30 feet from the palace gate.
Diana and Dodi – who were on vacation on the French Riviera – arrived in Paris earlier the day before. They left the Ritz Paris just after midnight, intending to go to Dodi’s apartment on rue Arsène Houssaye. As soon as they left the hotel, a swarm of motorcycle paparazzi began to aggressively follow their car. About three minutes later, the driver lost control and crashed into a pillar at the entrance to the Pont de l’Alma tunnel.
Dodi and the driver were pronounced dead at the scene. Diana was transported to the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital and declared dead at 6 a.m. (A fourth passenger, Diana’s bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, was seriously injured but survived.) Diana’s ex-husband Prince Charles, along with her sisters and other royals , arrived in Paris that morning. Diana’s body was then taken back to London.
Like much of his life, his death was a full-fledged media sensation and the subject of many conspiracy theories. At first, the paparazzi stalking the car were charged with the accident, but later it was revealed that the driver was under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs. An official investigation concluded that the paparazzi did not cause the collision.
Diana’s funeral in London on September 6 was attended by more than 2 billion people. She is survived by her two sons, Prince William, who was 15 at the time, and Prince Harry, who was 12.
READ MORE: Remembering Princess Diana: How the People’s Princess Changed the World