Little Bits of History

Fairy Tale’s End

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 31, 2011

The car in which Diana was riding

August 31, 1997: Diana, Princess of Wales, dies from injuries sustained in a car crash in Paris. Photographers were in pursuit of a photo op as well as Diana and Dodi Fayed. The car was speeding through a tunnel when Henri Paul, the driver, lost control and crashed head on into a pillar. Fayed’s bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, was the only survivor of the crash.

Diana and Dodi left the Hôtel Ritz (owned by Dodi’s father) and were trying to escape the paparazzi. The drunken driver lost control of the Mercedes-Benz S280 while they were traveling through a tunnel. After striking the pillar, the car spun to a stop. Dodi and Henri were dead at the scene. The bodyguard was conscious but with severe injuries. None of the people in the car were wearing seat belts at the time of impact.

Diana was finally freed of the wreckage when the top of the car was cut away. She was still alive and taken to the nearby Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital. She arrived there about 2 AM and was rushed into surgery. The impact of the crash was so implosive that her heart had shifted from a normal left chest position to the right side, tearing major blood vessels. Although an attempt was made to save the princess, she was pronounced dead at 4 AM. Prince Charles and her two sisters came to claim the body and whisked her back to England.

Like many high profile deaths, there are conspiracy theories. Who was Henri Paul? Drunk chauffer? His job was actually as head of security for the Hôtel Ritz. Were his blood samples altered? After repeated testing along with more rigorous tests from other body fluids, it was deemed that Henri was drunk and also taking antidepressants. After claims that the samples did not belong to the Paul, DNA testing proved that the samples were his. Why was he drinking? It was his night off and he was kicking back with a few drinks. Fayed called him back to duty and he responded. Then he was forced to not only drive, but drive like a maniac to keep the ever circling vultures from snapping a few pictures. The case has been called an accident.

“Being a princess isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

“They say it is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable, but how about a compromise like moderately rich and just moody?”

“Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back.”

“When you are happy you can forgive a great deal.” – all from Princess Diana

Also on this day:
Who Was He? – In 1888, Mary Ann Nichols was brutally murdered.
Try This – In 1900, Coke was first sold in England.

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