25th Anniversary of the Death of Diana, Princess of Wales

It’s been 25 years since Diana, Princess of Wales, died of injuries sustained in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997, at age 36. Princess Diana had just left a Paris hotel with her boyfriend Dodi Fayed when a swarm of paparazzi photographers pursued her speeding car. The driver, Henri Paul, lost control and crashed into a wall at the entrance to the Pont de l’Alma tunnel. Diana, Fayed, and Paul were all killed, while Diana’s bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, was the only survivor. News of Princess Diana’s death sent shock waves around the world. Many still recall the moment they first heard the news.

One of the most popular members of the royal family, Princess Diana was admired by millions. She also had a tumultuous relationship with the media. News coverage helped her wage a war of public opinion against the palace as her marriage to Charles, Prince of Wales, deteriorated, but photographers pursued her relentlessly. Her image sold newspapers and magazines and brought viewers to television screens. Some 750 million people worldwide watched her 1981 wedding, and an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide watched her televised funeral making it one of the most-watched broadcasts of all time.

We’ve combed our archives to bring back some of the shocking headlines and news coverage from around the world from the week Princess Diana died a quarter of a century ago.

August 31, 1997: The crash that claimed Princess Diana’s life occurred at 12:23 a.m. Her death was announced at 4:42 a.m. While many in Europe slept, the British media scrambled through the night to bring news of the tragedy.

Sunday Mirror: London, England – August 31, 1997

September 1, 1997: Amid a worldwide outpouring of grief, Princess Diana’s body was returned to Britain in a Royal Air Force plane. Prince Charles and her two sisters accompanied the body. Her coffin was draped with a Royal standard and met by Prime Minister Tony Blair and other dignitaries.

Calgary Herald: Calgary, Canada – September 1, 1997

September 2, 1997: Reports began to surface that the man who drove Princess Diana’s car was legally drunk and may have been going as fast as 120 mph when they crashed. When investigators pried open the totaled Mercedes after the crash, the speedometer frozen in the crumpled dashboard read 196 kilometers per hour – or 121 mph. The driver also allegedly taunted photographers, saying, “you won’t catch us.”

Daily News: New York, NY – September 2, 1997

September 3, 1997: The Sydney Morning Herald reported on a growing tribute outside Kensington Palace. Collective mourning shifted to anger towards the royal family. Some blamed the Queen for her failure to pay tribute to Princess Diana. The public demanded to know why Buckingham Palace had not lowered its flag to half-staff.

The Sydney Morning Herald: Sydney, Australia – September 3, 1997

September 4, 1997: Newspapers worldwide reported on the heartbreak of two young sons losing their mother.

Chicago Tribune: Chicago, Illinois – September 4, 1997

September 5, 1997: Tributes to Princess Diana continued to pour in as officials made plans for a public funeral. Charities supported by Princess Diana sent representatives to march in her funeral procession. The Queen also ordered the Union Jack to be flown at half-staff over the Palace.

Grimsby Evening Telegraph: Grimsby, England: September 5, 1997

September 6, 1997: In a rare instance of protocol cast aside, Princess Diana’s sons William, 15, and Harry, 12, accompanied by their father, Prince Charles, emerged from Kensington Palace to greet mourners. The notes and sea of flowers visibly moved them.

Daily Record: Glasgow, Scotland – September 6, 1997

Queen Elizabeth addressed her people with a tribute to Princess Diana. The three-minute speech televised live from Buckingham Palace aimed to assure Britons that the royal family, accused of being aloof and remote, were mourning too and concerned first and foremost with Princess Diana’s sons. The Queen went outside to greet mourners.

The Los Angeles Times: Los Angeles, California – September 6, 1997

September 7, 1997: On September 6, 1997, Princess Diana was eulogized at a funeral in Westminster Abbey. Thousands lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the funeral cortège as it made its way through the streets of London. Some 2,000 attended her funeral, including family members, celebrities, and dignitaries. Following the funeral, Diana was interred in a private ceremony at her family’s estate in Northamptonshire, England.

Chicago Tribune: Chicago, Illinois – September 7, 1997

If you would like to read more about the life and death of Princess Diana, search Newspapers.com™ today. To see more curated clippings on her death, visit our Topic Pages.

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19 thoughts on “25th Anniversary of the Death of Diana, Princess of Wales

  1. Some of the books that came out later, including specific information by someone “in the know”, Peter Paget, indicate that this was an operation by the Intel Agencies to remove Diana. These books on the killing of Diana are worth reading. Why was she left unattended for almost an hour when there were multiple hospitals right there? Peter Paget really exposes the deceit. It was not an accident.

    1. Paris police and ambulance were only following their protocol at the time but it has been changed. People were treated at the scene until they could stabilise them. That tunnel I have driven through many times when I lived in Paris and the approach was very dangerous at speed, you easily became airborn is doing any type of fast speed. I heard they have changed the approach to make it less dangerous

    2. Did the papparzzi ever feel any remorse for their part in this tragedy? “Relentless” pursuit is definitely a huge part of this.

    3. She was not unattended. The Paramedics were trying to stabilize her. She was not wearing a Seatbelt. This could have saved her life. Why created theories such as this? It doesn’t do anyone any good.

  2. I don’t know if it was an accident or not, but I have often wondered. It is like the Kennedy assassination, will we ever know the entire truth?

    1. The driver was legally drunk, and the car was going 121 MPH on a normally dangerous stretch of road. It was an accident.

      1. I is not as simple as that. All those who knew him and his family were surprised by the reports of his irresponsibility. He was anything but…. The chances there was a slow response to the accident because it was being staged is not beyond the realms of possibility. The speedometer breaking at the 121MPH mark, looks like when in the movies a killer is trying to get an alibi by setting a watch or clock at a specific time of death that will absolve them. Here is an article on those who question Henry Paul’s chances of being drunk/drugged. He could have been made the fall guy to explain why the accident. Read the following article which expands on this. https://www.nytimes.com/1997/09/21/world/to-those-who-knew-diana-s-driver-his-actions-are-an-unsettling-puzzle.html

        1. True! The various books that came out in the last few years showed that the chain of custody of the blood samples was not followed. Also the “white car” that acted to squeeze the car they were in—that driver was later killed in a very suspicious manner. As I have said above, the books of Peter Paget are eye-opening. He believed that the Queen and Prince Philip knew this was underway. It was definitely an Intel Operation. Remember how the news media is mostly propaganda. I would put heavy value on the opinions of Peter Paget.

      2. Could this be like the naturopathic doctor who committed suicide–by shooting himself in the *back* of the head? IOW, more coverup by the PTB with willing complicity from the press.

      3. Having been through that tunnel several times, I can not see that car being able to even go that fast. It is highly unlikely that the newspapers were reporting the truth. And the alcohol level was not as high as it was media reported. Time for people to understand that media is in kahoots with government. They don’t have the b#*ls to report the truth.
        The queen didn’t even ride in the procession. Think about that. She refused to even acknowledge Diana’s significance or worth to the people. Diana did more for the people, than the “Queen”. She even raised her kids better than the queen, raised hers.
        Why there is a money sucking monarchy left in the world , is beyond me.

  3. it was just a tragic accident. The Drivers in Paris drive like Maniacs! I have felt for my life many times in Taxis, etc in Paris..

  4. I greatly admired Princess Diana. I cried watching her funeral, and heartbroken for her young sons. God enfolds her in his loving arms.

  5. I have long wondered if she would have lived if she had worn a seat belt. My understanding is that the only one who did was the body guard, who was the only survivor. The fact that she survived for a short time adds to the possibility.

  6. Some people at the accident scene said Trevor didn’t get his belt buckled all the way, and he was hanging by it out the passenger side door in the front seat after the crash. I wonder if Mr. al Fayed offered to pay his medical bills?

  7. I was very shocked and blown away with disbelief when I heard the news; along with my girl friends and especially my single parent friends as we could feel the pain as we adored and admired such a wonderful human being and that she was a loving Mom. We all felt torn apart for the boys she left behind, I am sure she is watching from above.
    I wrote a very heart felt poem .
    Maybe someday I will publish it.

  8. I will never forget where I was when the news broke. My husband, one year old daughter and I were getting up and leaving an outdoor Dotsero (jazz) concert, when people started talking about the news. What had been a happy outing turned somber and quiet as we all walked home or to our cars. The shock went on for days culminating in Diana’s funeral which I got up very early before work to watch. I don’t know whether her death was planned or not, but either way we lost someone very lovely who cared a great deal about the world.

  9. Everything a celebrity or famous person dies suddenly its a conspiracy or they were murdered or assinated. The Kennedys Marilyn Monroe and others.
    Diana was a breath of fresh air in the royal family may she rest in peace

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