Where were you on this day in 1997? 415



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18 years ago today, we were some of the first people in the world to learn of the shocking car accident that claimed three lives in Paris.

No one could quite believe the news that Diana, Princess of Wales, had died in the crash, alongside her partner, Mohammed Al Fayed, and the driver of the car, Henri Paul.

I still remember driving to work that afternoon, and the nondescript street I pulled into as the news reader shared what little details they had: Lady Diana. High speed chase. Involved paparazzi.

The party had left the Ritz hotel, owned by the Al Fayed family, who also owned Harrod’s of course, just after midnight. Their Mercedes was pursued by photographers  and reporters on  motorbikes.

The car entered a tunnel, hit a barrier and then spun across the tunnel and into a wall.

We didn’t know it yet but the couple’s bodyguard, British ex-serviceman Trevor Rees-Jones, survived the incident despite serious injuries.

The journalists who had given chase reached the car, joined by emergency services minutes later. The Princess was cut from the car and taken to the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital where surgeons worked for an hour to save her. She was pronounced dead at 3pm British time.

As the news unravelled in Britain mourners gathered outside Kensington Palace, the Princess’s London residence, leaving floral tributes. Who can forget the ocean of flowers that grew there.

Over the next few weeks and months, the story unravelled. Allegations flew, conspiracy theories grew.

Today, we remember the shocking news of Diana’s death and the sheer loss of someone who could have done so much more, someone who, at just 37 years old, with two young boys at home, was taken far too soon.

Here are some moments from her last year with us.

Where were you when you heard about Diana’s death? What was your reaction? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Get over it

    6 REPLY
    • Can’t say something nice? DON’T say anything!!

      1 REPLY
      • Totally agree with you Lynette, if you don’t have something nice to say don’t say anything at all.
        Why do people have to be so nasty about someone they didn’t even know ? Just what they read about in magazines and papers, that means nothing. She was a mum, THAT meant something. 2 little boys lost their mother for no good reason. She tried to do some good in the world, she had a purpose in life.
        Before you open your mouth to say something nasty or snipey about anyone, think whether you are fit to say it. Unless you are a saint then you are probably not.

    • Steve. Did you get out of the wrong side of the bed? Let us mourn this lovely woman. She is dead now. It is a very sad story. Don’t be grumpy. You are still alive at least. Hope your day gets better.

    • Hahaha I look at the media and think if she wasn’t an extremely pleasant lady to look at the media wouldn’t bother.

    • Sorry, my day is fine and I agree with Steve. She played to the media when she wanted something, and she played around on Charlie as much as he played around on her, just look at Harry. He is James Hewitt all over. I never really liked the way she went about things. She always made out she was the victim, but of what I don’t lnow

  2. I was in Ferndale, Rhondda, Wales. A few days later I got to be one of those that signed the book of condolences at Cardiff City Hall.

  3. Your writers made an error by stating that Princess Diana’s partner was Mohammed al Fayed. In fact, her partner was Dodi al Fayed. Where was I? In A motel in Cairns, Australia. My daughter and I had just arrived , she was feeding her baby, I was in the kitchenette making us both a coffee. I was over from New Zealand on holiday.

  4. My friend and I were in Helenvale San Fransisco staying with her daughter, we went visiting some friend of hers and they told us about the accident we were amazed how some Americans lay flowers at one of the Malls there were hundreds of wreaths

  5. Taking our son to the hospital when he got melted plastic in his eye when we heard about the accident in NZ

  6. It was my son’s 10th birthday and we were all at Optus Oval in Melbourne watching Aussie Rules footy game. When Diana’s death was announced to the crowd….. You could ‘hear a pin drop’! Everyone in the football stadium was in shock….. It was a sad experience and one I’ll never forget! Diana lives on in her boys will & Harry <3 <3

    1 REPLY

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