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Vocapedia > UK > British Monarchy


Diana, Princess of Wales,

Lady Diana Frances Spencer    1961-1997





Charles and Diana at Balmoral before their honeymoon

in May 1981.


Photograph: Bryn Colton



Diana tapes reveal Queen’s reply

to her sobbing plea over loveless marriage


Sunday 30 July 2017    00.05 BST



















Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer

announce their engagement,

Buckingham Palace, London, Britain – 24 Feb 1981

Glam UK



















Princess Diana and Prince Charles on their wedding day,

St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, England,

29 July 1981.

Glam UK



















The end of innocence?

When Princess Diana died in a car crash,

it seemed as if all of Britain had descended

into a prolonged state of public mourning

— the recriminations are still ongoing.

The Guardian        Weekend        pp. 52-53

26 May 2007















Diana inquest        2007
















Dodi Fayed












Hasnat Khan










Paul Butler, the princess's butler

















UK > Lady Diana Spencer / Lady Di / Princess Diana

Diana, Princess of Wales, Lady Diana Frances Spencer    1961-1997        UK / USA



























































https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/series/diana-10-years-on-in-pictures - 30 August 2007


























Princess of Wales title


heir apparent to the British throne

after the death of Queen Elizabeth II


King Charles confirmed

the change to the roles

of heir apparent Prince William and his wife

in his first speech to the nation as monarch

on Friday evening.


He said: “Today, I am proud

to create him Prince of Wales, Tywysog Cymru,

the country whose title

I have been so greatly privileged to bear

during so much of my life and duty.


“With Catherine beside him,

our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know,

continue to inspire and lead our national conversations,

helping to bring the marginal to the centre ground

where vital help can be given.”


The Princess of Wales title

has been used since the 14th century

by the wife of the heir apparent to the English,

and later British, throne.


It has not been formally used

since William and Harry’s mother Diana died in 1997,

when William was 15 –

and is likely to be hugely emotive for many

because of the close associations with her.


When Camilla married Charles in 2005,

the decision was taken

that she would not use the title

despite her being entitled to do so,

out of respect for Diana.










The Guardian > In pictures > Diana ten years on



















From left to right:

Prince Charles, Diana, George and Barbara Bush.



Diana Memorial Fund, Matt Dunham


'All anyone wants to know is:

how will Diana worshippers accept her successor?'


Two decades ago,

the Prince of Wales and his glamorous young bride took the US by storm.

Next week, Charles returns - this time with Camilla.

What kind of welcome can the royal couple expect?

Kitty Kelley, whose book on the Windsors

was deemed too sensational to publish in Britain,

says at least one prominent American will be glad

to see them Diana ruled the country's celebrity-obsessed culture.


Americans were transfixed

by the royal soap opera of her marriage to the prince


The Guardian        G2        p. 9        Thursday October 27, 2005
















Corpus of news articles


UK > British Monarchy


Diana, Princess of Wales,


Lady Diana Frances Spencer    1961-1997




Jury Sees Video of Diana's Last Hours


October 4, 2007

Filed at 11:51 p.m. ET

The New York Times



LONDON (AP) -- Striking images from a countdown to death: Princess Diana salutes her driver; the driver waves to paparazzi lurking at the back of the Ritz Hotel; officially declared drunk at the time, the driver squats to tie his shoes without so much as a wobble.

These decade-old scenes collected from 31 security cameras at the Hotel Ritz in Paris were shown Thursday to a jury that eventually must decide what, if anything, they signify about how the driver, the princess and her boyfriend came to die in a car crash.

Much of the footage presented Thursday showed the growing crowd of photographers and bystanders hoping to see Diana with Dodi Fayed, her latest boyfriend.

The action, however, was at the back of the hotel, where Diana and Fayed are seen standing for seven minutes waiting for their car, his left arm protectively around her waist.

Henri Paul, the driver who died with the couple in the early hours of Aug. 31, 1997, is seen popping in and out of the service entrance, apparently looking for the car. Minutes before the car arrives, he spots two photographers across the street. Paul waves, and goes back inside.

In another scene, he talks to the Diana and Fayed, and the princess responds with a left-handed salute.

Once the car arrives, the two jump in, Paul takes the wheel and they are off within seconds, pursued by photographers Serge Benhamou, Jacques Langevin, David Odekerken and Fabrice Chassery.

About 15 minutes later, Paul lost control in the Pont d'Alma tunnel. Bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones was the only survivor.

Paul, the acting head of security at the hotel, is a key figure. French and British police both concluded that he had double the legal limit of alcohol in his blood, and lost control of the car as it raced ahead of pursuing photographers.

Fayed's father, Mohamed al Fayed, claims Paul was a paid informer for French and British intelligence services. He disputes that Paul was drunk, believe the blood tests were faked and says Paul was induced to take the route that led to the tunnel.

Lord Justice Scott Baker, in introducing the videos, said jurors would see Paul ''coming down the stairs, bending down and balancing whilst tying his shoelaces, and there is no indication that his movements were affected by alcohol.''

However, experts agree some ''have such a degree of tolerance to alcohol that they may give the appearance of being sober to a casual observer, even when their blood alcohol concentration is in excess of twice the legal limit,'' he said.

Paul, who also is seen bounding up stairs two steps at a time, was called back to the Ritz at about 10 p.m. earlier that night to execute Fayed's instructions that the couple be taken to his apartment.

Closed-circuit footage shows him conferring with the night security chief, two bodyguards and the hotel's night manager. He is seen going out front five times, apparently to assess the security situation as the crowd grew.

Diana and Fayed had been swarmed by paparazzi when they arrived that afternoon. Night manager Thierry Rocher said Fayed ''asked me why there had been a mess on his arrival,'' according to a statement read by Baker.

''He asked me to let Mr. Paul know that a third car would be ready in Rue Cambon and that they would leave via that exit,'' Rocher's statement said. ''This information was to remain confidential and only Mr. Paul was to be informed.''

Michael Mansfield, a lawyer representing al Fayed, asked Metropolitan Police inspector Paul Carpenter whether he found any images of Paul speaking to paparazzi after discussing that plan with employees.

Carpenter said no.

Security cameras show that most of the paparazzi stayed out front, attracting a growing number of sightseers. Video taken by an Australian tourist captured a jovial mood among bystanders.

Carpenter said other video focuses on the Repossi jeweler where Fayed bought what his father says was an engagement ring for Diana; another partially retraces Paul's movements.

The jury has a day off Friday and will go to Paris next week to see the hotel, the tunnel and other locations.


On the Net:

Inquest: www.scottbaker-inquests.gov.uk

Mohamed al Fayed: www.alfayed.com

Jury Sees Video of Diana's Last Hours,
NYT, 4.10.2007,
aponline/world/AP-Britain-Diana.html - broken URL







Haunted by the image of fame

Diana, Princess of Wales


Monday September 1, 1997
Charles Nevin

Her life, it was often said, although not so much of late, was like a fairytale. She was, it was often said, though not so much of late, a fairytale princess. And although this was one of those typically lazy Fleet Street labels, you could see the truth in it when the young Diana Spencer first emerged blushing and blinking into this lens and that lens, and all those lights and clicks and whirrs and shouts.

For the young prince had been seeking a bride but, as with princes, a pure bride of noble breeding. And these were in such short supply in the kingdom that some despaired of his ever finding one. Until, suddenly, she was there.

Our first proper view was the one of the nursery assistant, shyly pretty, caught in the playground, innocent of the sunlight and the lenses and clicks and whirrs and friendly shouts and guile that would make her skirt entirely diaphanous.

It was a fairytale moment but a 20th century fairy tale moment, with a knowingness among the smiles. And, as we all ought to know by now, 20th century fairy tales do not end happily.

No, they spin faster and faster, whirligigs powered by the pursuit of fame and profit and every last detail, a conspiracy of interests heavy with the inevitability of tragedy, large or small, but never underplayed or undersold, and always with the lights and the headlines.

None other has come close to matching the life and death of Diana Spencer. And not only in its twists, turns, heroes, speculations, confirmations, villains, stark reliefs and immense, unrelenting profile in which every quality, every event was endlessly exaggerated and simplified for the century's easier digestion. Here, also, the century met the monarchy in a collision that may in time prove as fatal as the desperate event in Paris a collision between the light and the magic that royalists had long warned against but in the end proved powerless to prevent, and even helped to fix.

But, despite all our cynicism and countless hindsights, it still did not seem quite like that as Lady Diana Spencer stood in the nursery playground on that day in 1980, posing for that photograph.

Then, in royal terms, it seemed a happy, clever, almost perfect match. A public tiring of an endlessly energetic bachelor prince who nevertheless seemed to be achieving little, publicly or privately, was delighted with Lady Diana , as were the photographers and their editors.

She was fresh, unknown, beguilingly shy, already with the appealing and trademark upward glance. And, most importantly for the photographers and their editors, and unlike many another royal or would-be royal, she was genuinely pretty and in possession of that most vital of 20th century qualities: she was very, very photogenic.

Good news, then, for Fleet Street, especially at the lower end, where Rupert Murdoch and his Sun newspaper in particular were increasingly alive to the attractions for readers of royalty, of a young and fresh royalty.

Buckingham Palace's more traditional concerns were equally satisfied. This might be the first English woman to marry an heir to the throne for over 300 years. But this was no common English woman.

Lady Diana 's father, the eighth Earl Spencer, had been an equerry to both George VI and the Queen. Her maternal grandmother, Ruth, Lady Fermoy, was a close friend and lady in waiting to the Queen Mother.

Diana was born on July 1, 1961, at Park House, on the Sandringham estate, in the same room in which her mother, Frances, had been born. In her childhood, she had played regularly with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. This was a girl who knew the form. But also a girl unaffected by the hauteur and distance that usually go with the form.

Journalists who spent a lot of time in the early days of her courtship with the Prince of Wales on the doorstep of the ungrand flat she shared in Coleherne Court in Kensington were surprised to find how approachable, how friendly she was.

If it is easy to see the seeds of future troubles in this now, it would have been much easier then to see other seeds in other parts of her background.

But such was the enthusiasm, high and low, for Diana and such was the shortage of other supposedly suitable mothers for a future monarch that little attention was paid to a childhood that had been anything but stable or happy. She had been only six when her mother left to take up with the lively and witty Peter Shand Kydd, a businessman and something of a contrast to her father, whose friends and pursuits she found dull.

By accounts, Lady Fermoy was determined that custody would remain with Diana 's father, the then Viscount Althorp, and not with her daughter, irrevocably deemed, even in the 'swinging sixties', a 'bolter'.

Diana 's fall from a horse while in her mother's care formed part of the custody proceedings. She was later to recall rows and violence between her parents. When her mother left, she would later recollect, she and her young brother, Charles, now Lord Spencer, cried themselves to sleep together she could remember, she said, the crunch of the gravel under her mother's shoes as she left.

Thus, classically, and beneath that appealing freshness, was to emerge the bulimia that was, by her own frank admission, to so plague her.

She was sent to Riddlesworth Hall, a boarding school near Diss, Norfolk, at the age of nine. She did not shine academically, either there, or when she moved on to her mother's old school, West Heath, near Sevenoaks, although her former teachers did speak loyally of sporting prowess, particularly at swimming.

She failed all her O levels, twice, leaving school at 16. She spent a brief time at the Institut Alpin Videmanette, a Swiss finishing school, before moving to the London flat, bought for her by her father.

Initially, before becoming an assistant at the Young England nursery in Pimlico, she had had various temporary jobs cleaning, acting as waitress at cocktail parties and nannying. Not the form thing, either.

Her elder sister, Jane, had followed a rather more conventional route by marrying Robert Fellowes, an assistant private secretary to the Queen later to become principal private secretary. Her eldest sister, Sarah, had been an earlier girlfriend of the Prince of Wales.

These connections, and Lady Fermoy's close interest, combined to bring Diana to the attention of the Prince and the Palace. In the summer of 1980, one of the early royal watchers discovered her through his binoculars, poised attractively on the banks of the Dee at Balmoral, looking up admiringly at a fishing Prince of Wales.

And so to the Coleherne Court doorstep, the nursery playground, and, in February, 1981, the announcement of the engagement.

The couple were haltingly, stiltingly, interviewed on television, Diana doing much upward looking, displaying her engagement ring, hiding chewed nails and much else, if probably not as much as her fiance.

In a segment endlessly replayed throughout the tortuous doings that were to follow, they were asked if they were in love. 'Of course,' replies Diana , in an embarrassed rush. 'Whatever love is,' replies the Prince, in an embarrassed rumination.

Much has been made of the contrast, particularly in the light of the revelation that the Prince of Wales was conducting at the time, and continues to conduct, a relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, an old girl friend who had, for the usual complicated reasons, married someone else.

Not so much has been made of other subsequent revelations about Diana 's worries about the match, even up to the eleventh hour, when she had to be persuaded to go ahead by her sisters, with their only half-joking warning that the souvenir teatowels were already on sale. Duty did not play its part only on the Prince's side.

Even less has been made of how significant it was that an interviewer should have dared in the first place to ask the question of whether they were in love. It is hard, for example, to imagine it being asked of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten. It was also a question that prepared the way for the even more intrusive questioning of the couple years later by Jonathan Dimbleby and Martin Bashir.

But the nation, buoyed up by the earlier celebration of the royal jubilee, remained in the mood for pageantry, and the wedding, on July 29, 1981, was carried off with style amid genuine public interest and happiness. Their long kiss on the balcony at Buckingham Palace was judged a great success, although observant lip readers had seen the Prince asking for permission.

The differences between the couple in ages and interests did not excite much comment. Royal marriages had never dwelt overmuch on compatability. Duty remained the watchword.

But so absolute a concept was becoming increasingly isolated in a Court that had taken a conscious and determined decision to modernise itself. Only by revealing more of itself, argued the modernisers, led by the Duke of Edinburgh, could the monarchy be made more easily understood, its use more easily recognised.

The Victorian constitutional theorist, Walter Bagehot had warned that letting light on to the monarchy would destroy its mystique. The modernisers were more confident. But they reckoned without a society which, influenced by an ever more irreverent media, was rapidly discarding deference. More particularly, and, to the point, they neglected to note how attractive newspapers and their readers were finding royalty as soap opera. The threat was both within and without.

Diana , with her beauty, her youth, her genuinely winning manner, her seeming unstuffiness, her artlessness, her clear and unforced compassion, was prime fascination. Any amount of pop psychology has been devoted to the effect of this on a young woman from an unhappy and insecure background, but, in truth, she was facing new pressures that no amount of royal training could have prepared anyone for.

But, clearly, too, Diana enjoyed the attention, whether or not, as the pop psychologists argue, this was to compensate for the lack of attention she sufffered as a child. Clearly, too, what she saw as a lack of private attention from her husband contrasted cruelly with the unending public attention.

Outwardly, at first, all seemed well with the royal marriage. Prince William was born in 1982 Prince Harry in 1984. A spare and heir achieved popularity across the world, a leader of fashion, a patron of charities, another week, another magazine cover, another month, another triumphant foreign tour.

Later, though, the Princess was to declare that her marriage was dead in three years, effectively ending after the birth of Prince Harry.

The Prince, unhappy in his marriage, took refuge in his old round of holidays and country pursuits, and in his old mistress.

The Princess, as with any princess, took refuge in her children and her charities. But, this being modern times, there was also her Walkman and an extensive range of advisers and consultants, including a psychotherapist, an aromatherapist, a reflexologist and an astrologer.

Rumours about the state of the marriage continued to emerge, usually in the Sunday newspapers, and usually dismissed as 'downstairs gossip'.

They were further fuelled by a number of public incidents, endlessly speculated on, first starting with the Prince's early return on his own from a summer holiday in Majorca in 1986, through various foreign tours where she asked for separate rooms, turned her head away just as he was about to kiss her, and posed alone and forlorn in front of the Taj Mahal.

Then, in 1992, came publication of Andrew Morton's Diana : Her True Story, much of which seemed, even given the previous years of whisper and rumour, incredible. Morton alleged that the Princess suffered from bulimia nervosa that she had thrown herself down the stairs at Sandringham while pregnant with Prince William that she had slashed at her wrists with a razor blade, a penknife and a lemon slicer, and that she had once thrown herself against a glass cabinet.

It also disclosed that the Prince kept in touch with Camilla Parker Bowles even while on honeymoon on the royal yacht Britannia, a disclosure allied to the one that Diana had found an inscribed gold bracelet intended as a gift from the Prince to Parker Bowles only days before the marriage. A fairy tale romance, indeed.

Once again, Buckingham Palace threw doubt on the allegations. But Morton claimed that the information had all come from close friends. And three days after the first extract from the book had been published in the Sunday Times, Diana made a public and tipped-off visit to one of them, her former flatmate and bridesmaid, Carolyn Bartholomew.

In its way, this use of the media to put her case was as startling as the more sensational allegations. It followed earlier private briefings by the Prince and Princess to newspapers and marked a significant step beyond any previous contact between the press and royalty but also a determination by Diana not to be crushed by the Court. The modernisers suddenly discovered that they were being rather outplayed at their own game by someone for whose intellect they had not previously shown an immense amount of respect.

But the gift for public relations displayed by the incident, and particularly its timing, is one of the more compelling aspects of a much misunderstood and complex personality. Certainly, the Prince and the Palace were perpetually on the back foot thereafter, which is where, after yesterday, they will perpetually remain.

In December of that year, the Prince and Princess announced their formal separation. This brought no respite from the line of allegation and disclosure, growing ever more public and ever more tawdry as the opposing sides, authorised or not, attempted to create two hard, clear, and opposing images. The Prince was portrayed as a weak, heartless, hidebound figure, bullied by his father, overwhelmed by his responsibility, dominated by his selfishness.

For her part, the Princess was to be seen as neurotic, unbalanced, frivolous, flighty, in sway to fame and frocks.

There was something in both characterisations. But there was rather more to the Princess. A surprisingly steely resolve, a gift for friendship, certainly but also something more elusive. That early artlessness, openness, and friendliness, that which in more formal days had been usually described as the 'common touch' had become translated into a quality of compassion, a gift of ease, and had been put to apt work, with children, with Aids victims, and in areas where, like with her recent land mines campaign, a high-profile example or a large amount of publicity could be more use than any amount of earnest cajoling and lecturing.

Thus, despite the sneers, Saint Diana . But, also, uncomfortably for times where the simplicity of the message is the most prized, it went hand-in-hand, and fed off all those sessions with consultants, all those meetings with celebrities, all those frocks and smiles.

It was also, sadly, inextricable from the accompanying and tawdriness of the commonplaces of a broken marriage made extraordinary by the married.

In 1994, the Prince told Jonathan Dimbleby in a television interview that he had been unfaithful. In DimbL leby's biography, published the same year, the Prince conceded he had been bullied into the marriage by his father he had, he said, never loved his wife.

The Princess responded by arriving for a dinner in Hyde Park on the night of the Prince's adultery confession in an outfit so black and daring as to capture a good proportion of the front pages and raise more doubts in the public mind about the tastes and good sense of its future monarch.

In the same year, Diana was linked with the England rugby captain, Will Carling. They had met at one of the public gyms used by Diana , whither and whence she was to be seen most days when she was in London, and whither and whence she was, most days, photographed.

It was a curious relationship, that between Diana and her photographers. She could be at turns friendly or distant. That distance was frequently misjudged, vividly this year in the case of a long-time freelance pursuer of her who found himself being attacked by a member of the public at her behest.

The sneerers claimed it was all part of a need for publicity which had become unbalancing, and claimed to see much piquant irony in the affair in 1993 when the Daily Mirror published photographs of her exercising taken clandestinely by a gym owner.

Similar doubts were raised in 1993, when the Princess announced that she intended to reduce her official engagements and become more of a private figure. Four months later, she was back. But, once again uncomfortably for the stereotype of a fame junkie, it was to a role, as Red Cross roving ambassador, where she would be able to point out real achievement in the face of a sceptical and lukewarm government.

Her supporters claimed that the very public gym trips and the lunches were vital to maintaining some sort of normal life, and that the relationship she cultivated with the press and the paparazzi was also vital to maintaining that normality, even if it did have its explosions and inconsistencies. Whatever the faults on whichever side, it was a relationship that was eventually to kill her.

Her part, in the public eye, as the innocent party in the marriage break-up was felt to be a crucial part of the Princess's popularity. When, before the separation, the 'Squidgygate' tape recording had surfaced, allegedly detailing a telephone conversation between Diana and a lover, the story was widely disbelieved as a malicious invention, much more so than the so-called 'Camillagate' tape, in which the Prince of Wales, inter alia, appeared to be favouring re-incarnation as a tampon. The most clear response to Squidgygate was that the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment began proudly, if unofficially, to refer to itself as 'Squidgy's Own'.

In 1994, too, the publication of Anna Pasternak's book, Princess in Love, supposedly detailing her five-year affair with a former army officer, James Hewitt, was similarly derided.

But, in another extremely shrewd piece of PR timed for its influence on the couple's possible divorce and its custody implications, Diana gave an interview the next year, 1995, to the BBC Panorama programme that held the nation gripped with its combination of intensity and artlessness assisted by an artifice that by now seemed second nature.

It had a candour clearly influenced by the pyschotherapeutic treatment the Princess had been receiving.

Asked by Martin Bashir 'were you unfaithful' with Hewitt, the Princess replied 'Yes'. She agreed that the Squidgygate tape was genuine, and that she had made a series of phone calls to a married friend, Oliver Hoare.

The interview, which attracted 15 million viewers, was as clear an example as exists of the contrasts in the Princess's personality. For as well as these concessions, there were references to her husband's staff as 'the enemy', the questioning of his suitability to become king, and the clear declaration that she had no intention of seeking a divorce.

There was the winning, telling soundbite: 'We had three of us in this marriage, it was a bit crowded. And there was the typically overblown soundbite, that she would never be Queen of the country, but she would like 'to be a Queen of people's hearts, in people's hearts'.

She continued, tellingly: 'I don't think many people will want me to be Queen. Actually, when I say many people I mean the Establishment that I married into because they have decided that I'm a non-starter . . . because I do things differently, because I don't go by a rule book, because I lead from the heart, not the head. That's got me into trouble in my work, I understand that. But someone's got to go out there and love people and show it.' Any member of the Prince's party listening to it all would have concluded, as did Nicholas Soames, that Diana was in the 'advance stages of paranoia'.

This, though, was a complete misjudgement of the public's mood. For it was perhaps the greatest mark of the Princess's many and curious gifts that she continued to remain personally immune from the republican mood in the country that she had done almost as much as anyone to foster. This again, in contrast, to all the other troublesome young members of the royal family, in particular the exuberant and ultimately very silly Sarah Ferguson.

After the Panorama appearance, the divorce could not be long delayed and was, indeed, urged by the Queen, at last, but far too late, disturbed by all this media manipulation.

In February, 1996, three years after the separation, the princess, after a a private meeting with her husband at St James's Palace, once again wrongfooted the Court by releasing a statement to PA News (the Press Association) that she had agreed to a divorce shortly after breaking the news to the Queen by telephone.

Negotiations began between respective solicitors, with the Princess's lawyer, Anthony Julius, of Mishcon de Reya, himself being touched by media celebrity as discussions continued until July on the size of the settlement, access and custody, the Princess's role and future title, much royal magic being considered invested in the dignity of Her Royal Highness, the title withheld from the Duchess of Windsor at the behest of the Queen Mother.

On July 12, 1996, the terms were announced: a settlement believed to be around pounds 15m ( the Princess had been reported to be asking for nearer pounds 50m), equal responsibility for the upbringing of their children, and the demotion in title to Diana , Princess of Wales.

It is almost impossible to resist the temptation to see the period since then as one of acceleration towards the horror of yesterday.

The Princess's behaviour, in the way it was highlighted, at least, seemed to be at once a little more erratic, and its reception a little less respectful.

The narrowness of the public role she had agreed and chosen was another danger. The number of the charities she actively supported was drastically cut at the time of her divorce settlement. The controversy that had first greeted her entry into the land mine debate earlier in the year had only last week been resurrected in an interview with a French journalist in Le Monde where she was alleged to have described the Tory Government's policy on landmines as 'hopeless'. There had also been more sideswipes at the press. A feeling that Diana 's PR, formerly so successful, if famously erratic, needed more control was fuelled by the row that followed when her office denied that she had so described the Tories, thus extending and exaggerating a row which would have quietly deflated on its own.

But there could be no doubt about the sincerity and the worth of her work for charity in areas normally carefully skirted by royalty and the establishment. Turning Point, the national drink, drugs, mental health and learning disabilities agency, an unfashionable charity with which she was involved for ten years, is a good example of this.

But her habit of doing good by stealth, the clandestine hospital visits, the charity auction of her wardrobe: such things were treated increasingly as eccentric rather than saintly, while such events as the charity auction of her old outfits was seen, unfairly, as having more to do with her fascination with the world of Hello! magazine celebrity, a feeling strongly reinforced by one of the year's strongest images, her red-eyed appearance earlier in the summer at the funeral of Gianni Versace, con soling a weeping Elton John. And strongly reinforced, too, by the long summer of Dodi Fayed, the posing and the confrontations, the promises of a 'big surprise', retracted but soon fulfilled in the shape of the Egyptian.

We will know never know whether this decline in the immunity of her public popularity was temporarary, and, indeed, whether it would have survived a lengthy liaison with Dodi Fayed, and more particularly, his controversial father, certain to become only more controversial. As Jackie Kennedy discovered, immense private wealth and privilege has a way of corroding the affection and admiration gained in the attractive exercise of public wealth and privilege. But the consolation of such a horrible, twentieth century, twisted metal, senseless kind of death, if there is any consolation, is that the reputation of Diana , Princess of Wales, as a beautiful, winning, intriguing woman unfairly treated by fate but touched with a rare compassion and influence for good will remain forever frozen in time, inviolate.

Diana , Princess of Wales, Lady Diana Frances Spencer,

born July 1, 1961 died August 31, 1997

Haunted by the image of fame,
G, 1.9.1997,






The death of Diana


How a game of cat and mouse
ended with carnage

They had cut short their holiday by a day
to try and shake off the relentless attentions
of the pack.


But as they made yet another hurried getaway,
disaster struck


Monday September 1, 1997
Luke Harding, Owen Bowcott, John Hooper,
Paul Webster, Alex Bellos, Stephen Bates,
Chris Mihill in London, Paris and Rome

Even before Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed had strolled through the baroque central corridor of the Ritz Hotel in Paris, for what would prove to be their last dinner together, the paparazzi were lurking in wait.

At 5.30pm on Saturday the first photographer pulled up outside the Ritz, casually dismounted from his BMW motorbike, and reached for his mobile phone. Diana and her companion, meanwhile, were stretching their legs after a short flight to Paris from Sardinia on Saturday afternoon.

The couple's one-week holiday was at an end and Diana , after spending most of August on the French Riviera, was heading back to Britain. There at least, safely ensconced back in Kensington Palace, she could enjoy a bit of privacy away from the media feeding frenzy which had enveloped her all summer.

But Diana and Dodi 's departure from Sardinia had not gone unnoticed. By the time the couple touched down at Paris's Le Bourget airport in the Fayed private jet, their presence was common knowledge among the small, ruthless, multilingual band of photographers who pursue her, very lucratively, for a living.

Around 7pm on Saturday Diana left the Ritz in a chauffeur-driven car to do some shopping in the Champs Elysee. The press pack were, reportedly, in close pursuit. Returning to the hotel for dinner, the most photographed woman in the world and her millionaire boyfriend tried to dodge the waiting cameramen.

The Ritz, bought by Mohamed Al Fayed in 1979 and refurbished in rich belle epoque style, has a reputation for discretion. At the very beginning of their romance Diana and Dodi stayed in the Imperial Suite. Le Patron, as the mercurial Mohamed Al Fayed is known affectionately by staff, picked up the bill. Downstairs, silver blue carpeting silences the footsteps of guests arriving and departing. The atmosphere is one of ordered calm. Gilt candelabras light the way into the lobby. An ornate staircase leads up past a classical mural depicting cherubs.

The cashier's desk, attended by uniformed staff in tail coats, bustles with subdued efficiency. At the revolving front door, another diligent employee, in a green uniform with a matching bellboy cap, nods discreetly to those leaving and points out directions.

But for Diana and Dodi , there was little prospect of anonymity as they made their way to the hotel's Michelin two-starred restaurant, the Espadon, for dinner. They ate scrambled eggs, a rather British choice, followed by filets of sole tempura, it is understood. Diana 's mood at the end of a holiday in which her every gesture had been captured on camera can only be guessed at. But there is evidence to suggest the princess had already been angered by a violent dispute involving Italian paparazzi earlier in the day.

The princess had spent the week holidaying aboard the Jonikal, the Fayeds' luxury yacht. (Three weeks earlier the paparazzo Mario Brenna had made a cool pounds 3 million by capturing the first pictures of Diana kissing Dodi on board the yacht. These were sold on to three British tabloids: the Sunday Mirror, followed by the Daily Mail and the Sun).

On Friday lunchtime a tender from the boat tied up by the five-star Hotel Cala di Volpe near Arzachena, along the Costa Smeralda. Two photographers approached the vessel and shouted abuse at the crew. The skipper came ashore to tell them to control themselves and another paparazzo joined in the argument on the side of the crew. He was pushed by one of the other cameramen, and responded by punching his fellow-photographer twice.

The row had blown up after the crew stopped the 'paps' from snapping Diana as she swam with Dodi in a nearby inlet. There was nothing remarkable about this, just another ugly incident yet another photo of Diana in a swimsuit. But after a month of relentless intrusion, perhaps Diana felt she could take no more and decided to cut her holiday short.

On Saturday night the perennial problem presented itself for Diana and her friend: how to leave the Ritz without being tailed by photographers? The couple had arrived separately - Dodi swirling into the hotel 10 minutes later after being dropped off by his personal chaffeur. How should they depart? On the other side of the Ritz's revolving door, the small crowd of hard-bitten paparazzi lolling round in their leathers were asking themselves a different question - how to ensure Diana did not cheat them of their picture by slipping out of the Ritz's tradesman's entrance? She had done so in the past. The game plan was that Diana and Dodi would spend the night in the Duke of Windsor's former mansion in the Bois de Boulogne. The journey back would usually take no longer than 25 minutes, a scenic glide through the illuminated late-night centre of Paris.

Outside the Ritz, a queue of black Mercedes S600s waited at the pavement in the Place Vendome. But there was a last minute change of plan which was to go disastrously wrong. Towards the end of the meal Dodi told his regular chauffeur to drive the car back to his mansion in the hope of luring away the photographers. He then asked the security chief at the Ritz to find a driver to take him and Diana back to the 16th arrondissement, in a bullet-proof hotel car used to ferry VIPs.

According to hotel sources, the driver usually worked as a security guard. He was not a professional driver. He may also have been overly nervous at his celebrity passengers. 'He was a very quiet man, called Paul. He did not socialise very much with us, smoked small cigars,' said a fellow chaffeur called Jacques. 'You need practice in driving like that. You need to be a professional driver for the job.'

Several other decoy cars are understood to have been driven away to lure the photographers off. But the ruse failed. The 'paps' were smarter than that. After half an hour, the couple left the rear entrance of the Ritz around midnight.

They were snapped as they got into their car, an armour-proofed Mercedes. The French Ritz driver had had little practice with the car, which handled in a peculiarly heavy way.

The broad square of the Place Vendome is normally deserted by that time of night, the jewellery boutiques and antique shop for the super-rich long since closed for the evening. But as Diana and Dodi sped away, the photographers leapt onto their motorcycles and the buildings echoed to the screech of tyres.

Their route would have taken them along the perimeter walls of the Jardin des Tuilleries before they entered the expanse of the Place de la Concorde, where the traffic flows four or five cars abreast over the cobblestones. Here, the French chaffeur made his first attempt to dodge the pursuing paparazzi riding BMWs. But his attempts to outmanouevre the photographers failed. They, after all, were old hands at the deadly game of car chasing, and he was not.

The Mercedes then sped on towards the Seine and Dodi 's home. The dual carriageway exit to the west, along the Cours de la Reine, funnels the vehicles into a narrower raceway with a low, central dividing wall. The natural temptation here is to accelerate. Because of this the speed limit is set between 35 and 50 mph. The Ritz driver did accelerate - according to some reports, as fast as 95mph.

Across the river, the bulking profile of the Eiffel Tower shot into vision as the Mercedes raced along. Through, first one shallow underpass, illuminated by yellow strip lighting from frosted glass panels one one side.

'You should never drive along there too fast,' a woman taxi driver said yesterday. 'Take care when you approach the second tunnel. It swings to the left just as you go down. There have been accidents there before.'

With the paparazzi still in close pursuit, the Mercedes, carrying Diana , Dodi and their bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, made another attempt to accelerate away. Diana and Dodi were sitting in the back seat, without seatbelts. At least seven paparazzi on motorcycles were in hot pursuit.

As the car swung left and raced into the second underpass, below the Pont de l'Alma, the driver appears to have lost control of the vehicle. Skid marks, streaked with black paint were visible yesterday on the central dividing wall marking the point where the vehicle veered to one side.

The huge Mercedes ricocheted off an opposite wall before slamming into the 13th pillar supporting the tunnel roof, and rolling over two or three times.

The pursuing motorcycles appear to have braked before they reached the wreckage. But even in the awful aftermath of the crash, there was money to be made and, it seems, the prospect of a final ghoulish exclusive.

According to French radio, several of the photographers took pictures before help arrived. One of them was beaten at the scene by a horrified witness. An eyewitness, speaking on BBC Radio yesterday, said: 'Initially when I approached one (photographer) was even taking pictures. Even before I could run the 50 yards into the tunnel, he was there. His camera equipment was far more sophisticated than that normally used by tourists.' The fire brigade received their first call at 12.27am from some American tourists who had heard an enormous bang. The Mercedes had partially fallen on its roof, crushing it and forcing the engine back into the driver's and passenger's compartment. The car's heavy radiator had been thrown into the front.

It was a catastrophic accident. Dodi , aged 42, died instantly in the crash. The French Ritz chaffeur was also killed on impact. Diana was still alive - just. But she was gravely injured and trapped in the tangle of crumpled metal and broken glass.

Two American tourists were the first on the scene. Tom Richardson, from San Diego, said he saw smoke, adding: 'I think the car hit a wall. A man started running towards us telling us to go.' His friend Joanna Luz added: 'The horn was sounding for about two minutes. I think it was the driver against the steering wheel.

'There was a photographer on the scene within five seconds of the crash. As we were running out of the tunnel police and others were running in but it took around five or seven minutes for them to get there.

'People were running towards the crash site and steering traffic away not knowing who was in the car. We were 20 yards from the accident but we did not see anyone in the car. The car was in the right lane facing on-coming traffic. The air bag was on the passenger's side. We did not see one on the driver's side.'

Other witnesses suggest the Mercedes had not been under close pursuit from press photographers, though several arrived very soon afterwards.

One taxi driver, Michel Lemonnier, said: 'It must have been the chauffeur's fault. He was mad to be driving like that in that tunnel.'

French emergency services took between five and seven minutes to arrive. Early reports suggested the princess was suffering from concussion, a broken arm and cuts to her thigh. In fact, those reports were wildly optimistic. The grim reality was that she had suffered massive chest injuries and internal bleeding.

As rescue crew started to attack the mangled Mercedes with cutting gear, paramedics revived the princess, still encased in the crush of wreckage. Intravenous drips would almost certainly have been used to replace blood loss, and she would have been given pain relief, probably morphine and nitrous oxide. Of her desperate plight, she knew nothing. At no time did she recover consciousness.

The race to cut her free was proving difficult. The problem was the car's dense armour plating. 'The car is extremely heavy and needs experience to drive it,' a police officer said. 'The specially reinforced steel made it extremely difficult to cut through and reach Princess Diana and the injured bodyguard in the front seat after the crash.

'The firemen needed a full hour. As far as we can tell, the bodyguard survived because he was the only person in the vehicle who was wearing his safety belt.'

The cutting continued, as police rounded up five photographers at the scene and impounded their motocycles. After more than an hour of cutting, at 2am Diana was finally lifted clear of the carnage of the Mercedes.

She was taken, still unconscious, to Paris's biggest hospital, the Pitie Salpetriere Hospital.

Diana was rushed straight into surgery. But shortly after her arrival she suffered a catastrophic cardiac arrest. On the operating table the French surgeons did their best. They opened the injured chest of the princess and repaired a ruptured vein. But the internal bleeding simply would not stop, however hard they tried.

Back in Britain, the Royal Family, on holiday at Balmoral, including the Prince of Wales, were woken and informed of the crash.

The British ambassador in Paris, Sir Michael Jay, rushed to the hospital immediately on being notified of the accident by the French authorities.

Mohamed Al Fayed flew by helicopter to Paris from his home in Surrey. He was told that his son was dead, and that Diana was gravely injured. The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, at home in his Sedgefield constituency, was woken and informed of the accident. He was deeply anxious about the princess. He got up, paced about, and waited for news.

In the United States, President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary were told by a military aide about the crash while they are attending a party at a private residence on Martha's Vineyard where they were on holiday. They slipped away.

The crash came just in time for the late editions of the Sunday newspapers, but the tragedy was hedged with confusion. Buckingham Palace confirmed the princess was undergoing treatment for injuries and said the crash was 'an accident waiting to happen'. But the impression in the immediate aftermath was that Diana was going to pull through. For two hours the surgeons continued to massage Diana 's heart.

At the scene, bodyguard Trevor Rees Jones, the only survivor of the crash, was eventually cut free from the wreckage and taken to hospital.

But the valiant efforts of the French surgeons to save Diana were in vain. The internal injuries which had caused huge blood loss and brought on the heart attack were too serious.

At around 3am - 4am local French time - Diana , Princess of Wales, was pronounced dead.

Bruno Riou, head of the Salpetriere Hospital's intensive care unit, said surgeons gave up their bid to restart her heart after massive internal bleeding in the chest. There was nothing more they could do.

Her death prompted a flurry of telephone calls to the Royal Family, senior politicians, and diplomats. The French ambassador telephoned Balmoral and informed the Queen's private secretary that Diana had died.

The Prince of Wales was then informed and broke the tragic news to his sons, princes William and Harry.

Over at the Observer, on the fifth-floor of Farringdon Road, London, the headline 'Di reported dead with Dodi in Paris car crash' was being laid on the final edition of the paper.

At 4.21 the Press Association put out a newsflash which said Foreign Secretary Robin Cook's plane has been delayed from taking off from Manila military airport in the Philippines as he prepares to make a statement. The grimmer subtext was clear.

Twenty minutes later, at 4.21am, there was another newsflash which swept away all further doubts. ' Diana , Princess of Wales, has died, according to British sources, the Press Association learned this morning.'

    The death of Diana, G, 1.9.1997,






Di reported dead with Dodi

in Paris car crash

Tragedy happens during chase


Sunday August 31, 1997

Guardian Unlimited

Hal Austin,

Peter Hooley and Daniel John

Diana, Princess of Wales, was reported to have died in a road crash in France early this morning in which her close companion, Dodi Fayed, was also killed.

The accident happened as their limousine was allegedly chased through the west of Paris by papparazi - freelance photographers - on motorbikes.

Last night, the Princess was taken to the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in the south-east of the city. The British ambassador, Sir Michael Jay, was summoned to the hospital.

Within an hour of the accident, a French police spokesman confirmed: ' Dodi Fayed is dead.'

Police believe the tragedy occurred as the Princess's blue Merecedes drove at speed through a tunnel at Pont de l'Alma bridge near the mouth of the river Seine just after midnight. It appeared to have overturned and hit the wall of the tunnel.

The Harrods heir and the driver of the limousine were believed to have died instantly, according to police sources.

Prince Charles, staying with William, Harry and the Queen at Balmoral, was told of the accident, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said early today.

In London the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was woken to be told of the accident.

'He was shocked and saddened by what he sees as a devasting appalling tragedy,' said a Downing Street spokesman.

After the accident there was a news blackout regarding the princess's condition, but the situation worsened as the night wore on leading to reports of her death at 5am this morning.

British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who is on an Asian tour, told reporters in Manila: 'I think it will be doubly tragic if it does emerge that this accident was in part caused by the persistent hounding of the princess and her privacy by photographers.'

US President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, were also informed about Diana 's accident. White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said the Clintons were told by a military aide while they were attending a party on the island of Martha's Vineyard, where they are on holiday. 'Both the president and the first lady are very concerned and asked to be kept up to date on the situation,' Lockhart said.

American tourists Tom Richardson and Joanna Luz were among the first on the scene of the accident.

They told CNN that they were walking nearby when they heard the crash and ran into the tunnel.

Mr Richardson, from San Diego, said: 'There was smoke. I think the car hit a wall. A man started running towards us telling us to go.'

Miss Luz said: 'The horn was sounding for about two minutes. I think it was the driver against the steering wheel.

'There was a photographer on the scene within five seconds of the crash happening.

'As we were running out of the tunnel police and others were running in, but it took around five or seven minutes for them to get there.

'People were running towards the crash site and steering traffic away not knowing who was in the car.

'We were 20 yards from the accident but we did not see anyone in the car. The car was in the right lane facing on-coming traffic. The air bag was on the passenger's side. We did not see one on the driver's side.'

The fourth person, believed to be one of Princess Diana 's personal bodyguards, was only slightly injured.

Early reports said several injured people were trapped in the wreckage. Police cars and vans with flashing lights filled the site outside the tunnel and officers blocked off the area.

The Princess was due back in Britain later today and had been expected to see her two sons, William and Harry, at her London home at Kensington Palace. Arrangements were being made this morning to fly them to Paris.

Reacting to the news, a Foreign Office spokesman said: 'If the reports are true we are deeply shocked and all our sympathies go to the relatives of the deceased.'

Last night, senior media executives feared a widespread public outcry over the incident, which may lead to demands for a privacy law and a clampdown on the uncontrolled behaviour of freelance photographers who earn hundreds of thousands of pounds a year from hounding royals.

Dodi 's untimely death has brought to a tragic end the whirlwind summer romance of the divorced princess and the Muslim playboy.

Many of Diana 's closest friends have been telling their media contacts how happy she appeared to be since her relationship with Dodi , 41, became public knowledge.

Diana , 36, and the Harrods heir arrived in Paris on Saturday afternoon to round off their latest holiday together. The couple were spotted in the French capital yesterday looking relaxed and tanned after their latest Mediterranean holiday.

Earlier, they had been enjoying a cruise aboard a yacht belonging to Dodi 's father, Mohamed al-Fayed. They spent a week-long break together on the French Riviera and Sardinian coast.

Their close relationship had prompted speculation that they may even become engaged - if not marry - later this year.

Di reported dead with Dodi in Paris car crash,










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