On August 31, 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales died in a car crash in Paris. The news of Diana’s demise sent shockwaves throughout the world. Former daughter-in-law of British monarch Queen Elizabeth, Diana was married to Prince Charles. At the time of the car crash, Diana was with her boyfriend Egyptian-born socialite Dodi Fayed who also died in the accident along with the driver of the car, Henri Paul.
Diana emerged as one of the most popular members of the British royal family. Mother to Prince Williams and Prince Harry, Diana juggled the roles of a rule-bound royal member and a doting mother. Her very public marriage with Prince Charles in 1981 and the following separation in 1992 also made her a subject of interest for the British tabloids.
A few days before the car crash, Diana and Dodi had been vacationing on the French Riviera. The couple had arrived in Paris earlier the previous day and left the Ritz Paris soon after midnight. It is reported that the couple were intending to go to Dodi’s apartment on the Rue Arsène Houssaye. However, as soon as they departed the hotel, a throng of unforgiving paparazzi began tailing their car on motorcycles. It is said that three minutes later, driver Henri lost control and crashed into a pillar at the entrance of the Pont de l’Alma tunnel.
The images of the car crash circulated widely through the press at the time. Paramedics who arrived at the scene pronounced Dodi and the driver dead on the spot. Diana was rushed to the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in the city and was declared dead at 6:00 am. There was a fourth passenger in the car who happened to be Diana’s bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones. He was seriously injured but survived the crash.
The next morning Charles, as well as Diana’s sisters and other members of the Royal Family, arrived in Paris. Diana’s body was then taken back to London where her funeral was held.