The real truth about Princess Diana´s death.
The real truth about Princess Diana´s death.
Princess Diana dies at 36 years old in a high-speed car crash in Paris in 1997
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Monday, August 31, 2015, 1:07 PM
(Originally published by the Daily News on August 31, 1997.)
Princess Diana - the most photographed woman in the world - and her millionaire boyfriend were killed in a high-speed car crash in Paris early this morning as they tried to flee paparazzi, police said.
Diana was pronounced dead in a Paris hospital at 4 a.m., less than three hours after the dark blue Mercedes-Benz in which she was riding slammed into a tunnel near the Place de l'Alma in the heart of the City of Light.
PRINCESS DIANA'S DRIVER WAS DRUNK ON THE NIGHT OF HER DEATH
PRINCESS DIANA GREW BEYOND JUST A SUPPORTING ROLE
She was 36 years old.
Dodi Al-Fayed, 41, heir to the Harrods department store fortune, was dead at the scene of the accident near the Champs-Elysees, police said.
The driver of the Mercedes-Benz also was killed, and a royal bodyguard was injured when the car smashed into a concrete wall in a narrow tunnel along the River Seine around 12:35 a.m. (6:35 p.m. New York time).
Dodi's father, Harrods' owner Mohammed Al-Fayed, said the deaths were "appalling and quite needless."
"The world has lost a princess who is simply irreplaceable," he said.
French doctors struggled to save the stunning princess, who had struggled to find personal happiness in the year following her divorce from Great Britain's Prince Charles.
But Diana suffered cardiac arrest and severe internal bleeding, and couldn't be revived.
"The death of the Princess of Wales fills us all with shock and deep grief," said British Ambassador Michael Jay, who was by her side at the Salpetriere Hospital in eastern Paris.
It was not clear exactly how the wreck occurred, but witnesses said the princess' car was being pursued by five photographers on motorcycles.
A wrecked motorcycle was taken from the accident site, but police did not identify its owner.
Five photographers were in custody, police said, and a criminal investigation was under way. France Info radio said some photographers took pictures before help arrived and that one of the photographers was beaten at the scene by horrified witnesses.
The news of Diana's death reached Buckingham Palace shortly before 6 a.m. The princess had planned to return home to London today to see her two sons, William, 15, and Harry, 12, after days of traveling, CNN reported.
Prince Charles was informed of his ex-wife's death in a call to his summer home at Balmoral in Scotland. He told their children.
Queen Elizabeth and Charles were "deeply shocked and distressed by this terrible news" of the death of Diana, a palace spokesman said.
Relatives of Al-Fayed were being told of his death last night.
Diana and Al-Fayed had had a typically glamorous evening, dining at the Ritz-Carlton and afterward sneaking out the back door to try vainly to duck paparazzi camped outside.
A high-speed chase apparently ensued, taking their Mercedes 600 SEL sedan through a tunnel along the Seine at the Place de l'Alma, less than a half-mile north of the Eiffel Tower.
The crash occurred as the car roared through the underpass. The mangled wreck was found halfway through the narrow, brightly lit tunnel.
Witnesses said they heard a loud screech, then an explosion and finally the sound of the car's horn as the driver collapsed on the wheel.
One witness to the aftermath said that the princess' vehicle was found flipped over, with all four passengers trapped inside.
"It had definitely hit the wall," said U.S. tourist Mike Walker, who was driving in the opposite direction.
"I didn't see any other cars crashed," Walker, an Ohio resident, told CNN. "I saw four people in the car. . . . We saw the air bag; it had [inflated].
"It was a rough accident."
The Princess of Wales had ventured in and out of France with Al-Fayed several times in recent weeks, according to television reports.
The couple had been romantically linked just five weeks earlier, when photographers began documenting their secret Mediterranean getaways.
The pair had been pursued relentlessly by paparazzi ever since, amid speculation that the Egyptian playboy was ready to propose.
Diana was divorced from Prince Charles last year, four years after their separation and 15 years after their royal fairy-tale wedding.
A recent photo of Di and Al-Fayd revealing them in a passionate kiss sold for $400,000 before being splashed on the front page of the London tabloid, the Sunday Mirror.
Diana herself often lambasted the media, calling them "twisted" in an interview just last week.
"The press is ferocious," Diana told the French daily Le Monde. "It pardons nothing. It only hunts for mistakes. Every motive is twisted, every gesture criticized.
"I think that in my place, any sane person would have left [Britain] long ago. But I cannot. I have my sons," she said.
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