Death of Diana, Princess of Wales

Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

On this date in 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales was killed in a car crash in Paris.

Here are some things you may not have known about the events of that night.

Diana had spent the previous nine days with her companion Dodi Fayed on Fayed’s father’s yacht in the Mediterranean. His Father,  Mohamed Al-Fayed, was the owner of Harrod’s department store in London and still owns the Hotel Ritz in Paris.

Diana and the younger Fayed had stopped in Paris for the night on their way back to London. They began the evening at the Ritz, and planned to head to an apartment three miles away near the Arc d’ Triomphe. A decoy car was sent off to distract the paparazzi who had gathered waiting for Diana and Fayed. The couple, along with the Ritz’s deputy head of security and a family security guard left in the opposite direction in a 1994 Mercedes S280.

The driver, Henri Paul, was driving westbound along the bank of the River Seine, when at the entrance to a tunnel, he lost control of the car and smashed into a central pillar. The car spun and hit the wall of the tunnel backward and came to a stop. Fayed and Paul likely died immediately. Diana, according to eyewitnesses, appeared relatively uninjured but was in shock. The security guard, Trevor Rees-Jones, suffered severe facial wounds in the crash.

About a half-hour after the first police cars arrived on the scene, Diana was removed from the vehicle, and she went into cardiac arrest. Her heart started beating again following CPR and arrived at a hospital about and hour and half after the accident. However, her injuries were too severed she died at about 4 a.m.

None of the occupants of the vehicle were wearing seatbelts when the crash occurred.

French and British investigations determined that the accident was caused by Paul, who was found to have been drunk and under the influence of anti-depressant and anti-psychotic drugs at the time of the crash.

Diana’s death drew a massive public display of grief. Her funeral drew about 3 million people to the area around London’s Westminster Abbey. 2 and a half billion people reportedly watched the service on television around the world. More than 1 million bouquets of flowers were left at Kensington Palace, piling up more than 5 feet deep in some places.

The London tabloids expressed outrage that the Royal Standard wasn’t flown at half-mast over Buckingham Palace following Diana’s death. However, this is because the Royal Standard isn’t raised if the sovereign isn’t in residence. At the time Queen Elizabeth II was in Scotland. Because of this, the Queen ordered the Union Flag to be flown at half-mast over the palace. Since then, the Union Flag flies when the Queen is not in residence.

After the crash, the BBC set up a website featuring news coverage of Diana’s death. That led the broadcaster to launch a full online news service on November 4 of that year.

Our question: Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind,” which had its lyrics rewritten in 1997 to honor Diana, originally appeared on what album?


Today is Independence Day in Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

It’s unofficially Eat Outside Day and National Trail Mix Day.

It’s the birthday of educator Maria Montessori, who was born in 1870; baseball legend Frank Robinson, who is 81; and musician Van Morrison, who is 71.

Today we take a look back at 1997.

The top song in the U.S. was “Mo Money, Mo Problems” by Notorious B.I.G.

The No. 1 movie was “G.I. Jane,” while the novel “Cold Mountain” by Charles Frazier topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

Weekly question

What tire company is now the exclusive provider for Formula One?


Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or our website.

Also, if you’re enjoying the show, please consider supporting it through

Please rate the show on iTunes by clicking here.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.