wenty years ago today we woke up to the news that Princess Diana had been involved in a car crash in Paris, France and while efforts were made to save the people's princess, sadly, Diana died on the 31st August 1997.
Dodi Al-Fayed and the driver Henri Paul were also killed. In this article we're going to take a look at the shocking events of Lady Diana's death and the incredible legacy she has left behind.
Diana was born on the 1st July 1961 and became Lady Diana in 1975. She studied ballet and tap dance but went on to marry Prince Charles on July 29th 1981, but the thing about Diana was that she had so many likable attributes and she was like no other Royal anyone had seen before and was an inspiration for mothers and so many women around the country. In 1997. She brought a commoner's informality and friendliness to the Royal family; she was a great beauty, and she made her kindness a public benefit, publicly showing friendship and intimacy to victims of the Aids crisis at a time when gay victims were being terribly discriminated against. Her support for causes such as the banning of landmines world-wide, actually made a difference and showed that the Royal Family could have a purpose. There was nothing or no one bigger than Lady Diana.
In the weeks leading up to her death she seemed very sad, according to her biographer, Ingrid Seward. Seward. She also said in an interview with Sky News that Diana was divorced from Charles and was a woman in her own right and that people were fascinated by her. Not only because she was Diana, but because of what she was doing with her life.
Every where she went, people would turn out in thieir thousands to see her but 8 weeks before Diana died, she asked Ingrid for a girly chat. Diana was upset because Charles was the love of her life and said that the two could have been great together and although the two had been married and had kids together, Diana was upset by the fact that no one thought that Charles loved her, despite the evidence that they had been married and had children together, and Diana even said that if people had seen letters from Charles, they would beleive he did. Even after the divorce Charles would often drop by Kensington Palace after attending Prince Harry's sports day together.
Around the time of her death, it was believed that Diana was going to move abroad and start a new life. However, this was just speculation and there was probably no truth to it. Her children William and Harry meant more to her than a new life abroad, and according to her butler Paul Burrell, Diana never wanted a divorce, she wanted a separation. But she wanted to keep her family together for the boys’ sake and suggested to Charles that even though they were separated they should have an equal influence on the young Princes lives.
Anyone that knows about Diana's death and how it happened would also know that there is a conspiracy theory that comes with it, but let's be honest, what historic event doesn't have its own conspiracy theories? However, the conspiracy theory behind Diana's death is that the Royal Family orchestrated it. While this is highly unlikely and very little, if no evidence to support it other than speculation, the reason people think this is because of a man named Dodi Al-Fayed. Dodi was a friend of Diana's from America and, according to some, a very charming man, but was seen as "Euro-Trash” by the Royal Family. Diana spent a lot of time with him, including holidays on the family yacht, which the Royal Family hated.
Burrell stated that Diana had only known Dodi for one month and that as far as he knows, there was no engagement. She was not about to get married, or become engaged. He spoke to her the day before she died and if she were going to marry Al-Fayed, she would have told him.
On the 30th of August 1997, Diana and Dodi were staying at the Ritz in Paris, France. On the night of the crash, before leaving, Dodi was on the phone to his father who begged him to stay in the hotel if there were paparazzi outside. But according to Ingrid, Dodi loved the game and the chase and desperately wanted to get out of the hotel, but no one is quite sure why.
Two eyewitnesses who entered the Alma tunnel, moments after the crash said that all they could see was a group of people and lots of flashing lights. There were no ambulances or any other emergency services at the scene, only the Paparazzi and the eyewitnesses described the lights at the scene as "blinding". They also said the way the paparazzi were moving around the wreck, taking pictures of the interior of the car and the exterior, seemed choreographed and was almost like a "dance". One of the eyewitnesses said that as she passed the car all she could see was a woman facing down, with blonde hair and said she couldn't understand why they were just taking pictures and not helping. Diana's children have also criticised the paparazzi, commenting that they should have spent more time helping than snapping photos, and if they had, their mother might still be alive.
The public blamed the crash on the relentless pursuit of Diana by the press and as a consequence the Sun and The Mirror recorded their lowest sales figures since 1962 in the days after head death (Time, 27th August 2017), The inquest, in April 2008, blamed the paparazzi and the driver, Henri Paul, who had been drinking, both for negligence in causing Diana’s death (Telegraph, 8th May 2008).
On the Sunday after her death The Royal Family went to the hospital at Pitié Salpêtrière, where Diana's body was being held. Brigadier Charles Ritchie of the Military Attaché, British Embassy, said she was lying in a coffin in a smart black cocktail dress - she had no marks on her face and looked as if she were asleep.
People came out in their thousands to pay their last respects to the Princess of Wales, including at that time the President of France, Jacques Chirac. When they had to move the coffin to the hearse, Brigadier Charles Ritchie was asked what flag should be placed on the coffin. He asked which ones they had, to which they replied with the Union Jack or the Royal Standard. Ritchie chose the Royal Standard, but was then informed that the Royal Family had said they did not want the Royal Standard on the coffin. Ritchie stood by his choice and said he would face the consequences. When he returned to England he was asked why he put the Royal Standard on the coffin and was told he was wrong to do it. But after seeing the reaction to the Royal Standard being put on the coffin, Ritchie was thanked by the Embassy and millions around the country for his decision. Tony Blair, who was Prime Minister at the time said that she was the people's princess and that's is how she would remain and be remembered.
After Diana died, the country looked for some lead from the Queen, she was in Balmoral at the time but everyone expected her to return to London and when none of that happened, people became furious and most turned anti-royal. When the Queen arrived back at Buckingham Palace, inspected the rows of flowers and looked confused and couldn't understand why people were upset and Paul Burrell said that when they got back inside the Palace, the Queen said "I don't understand this, but I have to do something" it was at this time where the Queen made history and addressed the nation. It was the first time a monarch had addressed the nation on a death.
On the day of the funeral, emotions ran high, but everything was very silent. The coffin was dressed in the Royal standard and was escorted by the royal guard. It was so silent, the only thing you could hear was the sound of the horses walking. When the coffin passed Buckingham Palace, the Queen bowed her head and in that bow, any differences between her and Diana were forgotten. But William and Harry had done everything expected of them, they went to the funeral, they walked behind the coffin, but most of all, they were strong and when they arrived at Westminster Abbey, the only sound you could hear was the sound of Big Ben. Celebrities attended the funeral included Elton John, George Michael and Pavarotti. Elton John even sang his song "Candle in the Wind" but changed the words to fit Diana, naming it "England's Rose". The hearse then took her to her final resting place and as the hearse went through the gates, it was said it was the last time we would see the hearse and as the gates closed, that was it,
Today, Diana's legacy, apart from her public and charitable causes, are her boys, William and Harry and what she taught them, which was to get out there, speak their minds and care for the uncared for and according to her biographer, Ingrid Seward it's through her boys, she was the saviour of the Royal Family and that Diana's engagement ring, which now belongs to the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton will one day sit on the Throne of England.