Anniversary of the death of Princess Diana
She never wanted to be in Paris on August 31, 1997
24 years ago today, Princess Diana died in a car accident in Paris. Her longtime butler Paul Burrell revealed a tragic detail in his book “In the service of the queen”: The princess had never planned to be in Paris that day.
She is looking forward to “a peaceful vacation, good company and easy reading,” said Princess Diana (then 36) at the last meeting on August 15, 1997, recalls Paul Burrell in his book.
This is how Princess Diana spent the last days of her life
First Diana wanted to sail the Aegean Sea on a yacht for six days with her friend Rosa Monckton and then travel through Italy for five days with another friend, Lana Marks. On August 30th, the princess planned to be back home in London because her sons Prince William (then 15) and Prince Harry (then 11) would return from their vacation at Balmoral Castle the following Sunday. So Paris was not on Diana’s itinerary in those weeks of August.
But suddenly the plan changed, writes Burrell. Lana Marks’ father died, which is why the two women’s vacation in Italy fell into water. That is why Diana accepted the offer of her boyfriend at the time, Dodi Al Fayed, 42, to visit him on a yacht off Sardinia. After a short stopover in London on August 21, 1997, she flew to Nice.
Diana spoke to Burrell on the phone regularly while she was with Al Fayed. In one of the phone calls she confessed that the businessman had made her a declaration of love. He asked what Diana replied, writes Burrell. “I said: ‘Thanks for the compliment'”. According to her closest colleague, it was still too early for her to express her feelings in depth.
In time, Diana got bored on the yacht, claims Burrell in his book. “I just want to go home. It’s time I got into a gym again,” she told him. She even considered rebooking her flight and returning to London earlier. But things turned out differently: Al Fayed, claims Burrell, persuaded Diana to stay.
Fateful decision by Diana
On August 29, there was another phone call between Burrell and Diana, in which the princess said she was in Monaco and wanted to spontaneously travel to Paris with Al Fayed the next day. He has business there. “Apparently she didn’t want to go with us, but Dodi was able to persuade her this time too,” Paul Burrell describes the tragic detail in his book.
Diana was full of energy and zest for action and gave him all sorts of instructions on how to return to London, the butler recalls. “I’m looking forward to seeing friends again, and I can’t wait to take the boys in my arms,” Diana said. What neither could know: It was to be the last phone call between Princess Diana and Paul Burrell.
On August 31, 1997, around 12:23 a.m., Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed had an accident while driving in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris. The businessman died at the scene of the accident. Diana was brought to the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital for life. There, doctors pronounced the Queen of Hearts dead at 4:00 a.m. after several resuscitation measures.
Sources used: Paul Burrell “In the service of my queen”, published in 2004 as a paperback by Knaur Taschenbuch Verlag