Princess Diana: Untimely Death


Dodi Al-Fayed
  


 In 1997, Princess Diana began a love affair with Dodi Al-Fayed -- son of the billionaire businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed.  In July 1997, Mohamed had invited his son, Diana, William and Harry to a Mediterranean cruise on his luxury yacht.  Dodi and Diana hit it off.  They were both divorcees.  A few weeks later, Diana and Dodi holidayed in St. Tropez.  British photographers followed the couple to the south of France, photographing them canoodling and hugging on yacht decks and villa terraces.  Diana was aware of the paparazzi's presence, but continued to play the game.   Some believe she was out to show the world (including ex lover Hasnat Khan) that she was having a good time.  

Diana with Dodi Al-Fayed



Death


The wrecked Mercedes In August 1997, the Dodi and Diana set sail for Sardinia, the the paps followed.  On the 30th of August, they flew to Paris and dined at the Ritz, which belongs to Dodi's father.  Shortly after midnight, trying to evade the lurking paparazzi, the couple exited the hotel's back door and got into a Mercedes.  Inside the car were driver Henri Paul and bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones.

A group of photographers had chased the Mercedes along Place de la Concorde, and into the tunnel Pont de l'Alma.  Running at 180km/hr (speed limit was 80km), the an intoxicated Henri Paul crashed the Mercedes into the tunnel's 13th post.  None of the four occupants wore a seat belt.  Dodi and Henri Paul died on the spot.  Diana and the bodyguard were alive. A doctor who witnessed the crash came to give first aid, and an ambulance shortly arrived, but it would take an hour before Diana could be pulled out of the wrecked car.  

At 1:30am of August 31, Princess Diana was brought into La Pitié-Salpêtriére Hospital.  They discovered she was bleeding massively internally and tried lengthy resuscitation attempts, including an internal cardiac massage.  Ultimately, she was proclaimed dead at 4:00am Paris time.  The world woke up to the shocking news of Diana's death.

Highlights:

  • Involved in a car chase with paparazzi in Paris
  • Mercedes crashed while driving through a tunnel, killing Dodi and the driver instantly
  • Driver Heni Paul was intoxicated with alcohol
  • Diana suffered from internal hemorrage and died in a Paris Hospital on August 31, 1997 at 4am after numerous resuscitation attempts
  • She was 36 years old



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Funeral


Diana's simple coffinPrince Charles, joined by Diana's sisters Sarah and Jane, flew to Paris to bring Diana's body home.  The Queen and the Duke drove to their usual Sunday service that morning, where strangely, Diana's name was never mentioned.  The public soon accused the Royal Family of their lack of heart.  Meanwhile, the world mourned. The death of Princess Diana had a profound impact on the British public as well as people in other countries. It led to an unprecedented outpouring of grief and sympathy. Over 1 million bouquets of flowers were laid at Buckingham Palace.

Diana's funeral on September 6, 1997 was watched by millions worldwide.  On the four-mile journey from Kensington Palace to Westminster Abbey, Diana's casket  was followed by her sons William and Harry, Prince Charles, Prince Philip, her brother Charles, and five representatives from each of 110 charities she had supported.  The church service was attended by political figures and celebrities.

Charles, Diana's brother, gave his famous speech during the service, where he accused the paparazzi for her death and pledged to look after her sons.  It was a heartbreaking farewell to "the unique, the complex, the extraordinary and irreplacable Diana, whose beauty, both internal and external, will never be extinguished from our minds"

Diana's body was laid to rest in her family home of Althorp.  

Highlights:

  • Funeral took place on September 6, 1997
  • Just like her wedding to Prince Charles, her funeral was watched by millions worldwide
  • Diana's final resting place is her family home of Althorp
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