Princess Diana car crash: What happened in Paris in August 1997? – The Sun | The Sun

HEARTS were left broken across the UK and around the world when Princess Diana died, aged just 36.

Here we take a look at what happened to the beloved royal, and those she was travelling with.

Where did Princess Diana's car crash in Paris?

Princess Diana was travelling in a black Mercedes Benz when she was involved in a crash in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris on the evening of August 31, 1997.

The tunnel is located in the heart of the French capital next to the River Seine.

The Sandringham-born Princess was being chauffeured after staying at the Hotel Ritz Paris, and according to reports, she was travelling to an apartment in Rue Arsène Houssaye.

She was making the journey with companion, Dodi Al Fayed.

Her driver, Henri Paul, and bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones were also in the car at the time of the tragedy.

Paul and Dodi Al Fayed were pronounced dead at the scene, but Diana – who was still alive – was rushed to Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital.

Early reports said she was suffering from concussion, a broken arm, and a cut thigh but she had also suffered severe chest injuries.

Despite doctors operating on Diana for two hours, she never regained consciousness and died from internal bleeding at 4.53pm on August 31, 1997.

Princess Diana was 36 years old when she died.

What caused the car crash?

In 2008, a lengthy inquest officially concluded those involved in the crash were unlawfully killed by the grossly negligent driving of chauffeur Henri Paul, who had high levels of alcohol in his system, and paparazzi photographers pursuing their limousine.

The forewoman read: "The crash was caused or contributed to by the speed and manner of the driving of the Mercedes, the speed and manner of driving of the following vehicles, the impairment of the judgment of the driver of the Mercedes through alcohol, and there are nine of us who agree on those conclusions.

"In addition, the death of the deceased was caused or contributed to by the fact that the deceased [were] not wearing seatbelt(s), the fact that the Mercedes struck the pillar in the Alma Tunnel rather than colliding with something else, and we are unanimous on that, sir."

Forensic Collision Investigator Tony Read was one of the experts drafted in to the Met’s Operation Paget team to investigate conspiracy theories surrounding the crash.

Speaking for the first time about the high-profile case to The Sun, the former traffic cop said: ''I’m firmly convinced that if both of the occupants had been wearing seatbelts they almost certainly would have survived – I have almost no doubt in my mind.

"The collision was survivable because [bodyguard] Trevor Rees-Jones survived.''

What happened to Dodi Al Fayed, Princess Diana's lover?

Princess Diana's companion, Dodi Al-Fayed died almost instantly at the scene of the crash.

Dodi and the Princess of Wales had been dating for only a few months – and had spent only a handful of days together before their tragic deaths.

The pair spent time in the South of France and Sardinia before flying to Paris where they later died.

Following his death, Al Fayed's body was flown to Britain, for a funeral service in line with Muslim customs – where a small Islamic funeral was held at a mosque in central London.

His coffin was escorted by police and a number of well-wishers lined the streets to pay their respects.

He was then buried in a London cemetery – but was later transported to his father, Mohamed Al-Fayed's property in Surrey, for his final resting place.

Once Dodi's death was confirmed, the 11,000 electric bulbs which usually light up the facade of the Harrods store were switched off  – which at the time was owned by his father.

The department store also honoured the late couple with miniature shrines – and in 2005 a bronze statue of the couple dancing was erected.

However, in 2018 it was announced that the statue would be removed and returned to Dodi's father. Mohammed reportedly spends 300 days a year sitting beside his son’s body for hours at his mausoleum in the grounds of his mansion in Surrey.

What happened to Princess Diana's bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones?

Trevor Rees-Jones was the only survivor of the tragic car crash, but suffered life-changing injuries.

He spent 10 days in a coma,  sustained severe brain and chest injuries and every bone in his face was broken.

Surgeons used 150 pieces of titanium to rebuild his face, using family photos as a guide.

He still bears the scars from the 1997 accident.

Due to him suffering from a serious head injury – Trevor Rees-Jones does not recall any details from the night of the fatal crash.

Trevor reportedly travelled back to Britain and quit his job as Mohammed Al-Fayed's bodyguard the following year.

The grief-stricken bodyguard later published a book called The Bodyguard's Story: Diana, The Crash, And The Sole Survivor, which earned him a rumoured £1million in 2000.

What happened to Henri Paul, Princess Diana's driver?

Driver and French bodyguard Henri Paul was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

The 41-year-old had a reputation as a "macho action man" who loved being around celebrities.

Blood analysis results from Paul's post-mortem suggest he spent the early evening drinking – he was found to be three-times over the French drink-drive limit.

An inquest into Diana's death heard he had been privately treated for alcoholism but his family denied he had a drinking problem.

Evidence from a Ritz bar bill shows he had two Ricards – a French aniseed spirit – while waiting for Diana and Dodi to leave the hotel.

As mentioned above, after 22 hours of deliberations, an inquest jury ruled Diana had been unlawfully killed as a result of Paul's drinking driving, and chasing photographers.

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