The Night We Lost Princess Diana

History

| LAST UPDATE 09/02/2022

By Elena White
Princess Diana Anniversary Death
Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images

This week marked twenty-five years since we lost Princess Diana, the lady the world lovingly referred to as "the People's Princess. On August 31, 1997, the English Princess tragically passed away in a car crash in Paris. At just thirty-six years old, she left the world before her time, having already made more of an impact on the world than most people do in a full lifetime. One of the world's most well-known and well-loved public figures, this memory is etched into everyone's brains, with many remembering where they were or what they were doing when the tragic news broke. A quarter of a century later, we're looking back at that fateful night...

Diana and her Egyptian-born boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, were vacationing in Paris when the horrifying incident occurred. Having arrived just the day before, the lovebirds toured the French Riveria and visited the Ritz Paris. At around midnight, they left the hotel, jumping in the car to travel to Dodi's apartment. As soon as the Ritz doors opened, paparazzi passionately and over excitedly gathered around the couple, desperate to capture their outing on camera. Even inside the vehicle, the cameramen jumped onto their motorbikes and continued to follow them aggressively. Just before the car entered the Pont de l'Alma tunnel, the driver lost control and crashed the car into a pillar. 

Princess Diana Car Crash
Patrick Durand/Sygma via Getty Images
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While Dodi and the driver immediately died at the scene, Diana managed to hold on a little longer. After being transported to the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital for emergency treatment, she succumbed to her injuries and passed away at 6 a.m. the following day. Her ex-husband Princes Charles flew to Paris alongside his former sisters-in-law and accompanied the body back to London. Although formal investigations determined that the paparazzi did not cause the crash, it serves as a cautionary tale of the dangers of intense paparazzi behavior. On September 6, her two young sons, and over two billion people worldwide, watched her be put to rest at her funeral. 

As the shocking news spread around the globe, the world went into a collective period of mourning. Many visited Kensington Palace to share their grief and lay flowers in her memory. The bouquets went as far back as thirty feet away from the gates. Lady Di's kindhearted spirit will be remembered forever, with her legacy channeled through the actions of her children and grandchildren. 

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