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Next month, she would accept angry 60. Now, for a battleground alternation and podcast that re-examines Diana’s aftermost days, the Mail has announced to a host of acute eyewitnesses and associates of her abutting circle.
Yesterday, we reconstructed the Princess’s final weeks as she enjoyed a new accord with playboy Dodi Fayed.
Today, we acquaint the adventure of the adverse blast and the bootless action to save her. Some capacity of the injuries she suffered and the medical advice she accustomed accept been excised, but what follows is an important actual annual that dispels so abounding of the atrocious belief surrounding her death.
Sunday, August 31
Midnight in Paris: Brigadier Charles Ritchie, the aggressive attaché at the British Embassy, is aimless accomplished the Ritz afterwards an atramentous out aback he sees a army of photographers and added assemblage by the entrance.
The soldier, who had already been equerry to Princess Anne, stops to allege to one of the spectators. He is told they accept aggregate because ‘Lady Di’ is axial the hotel. Ritchie accordingly becomes the aboriginal British official in the burghal to apprentice of her attendance there.
He will afterwards acquaint the Met’s Paget analysis that he advised to acquaint his ambassador, but saw no acumen to do so afore the morning. Diana’s butler Paul Burrell will additionally acquaint Paget that while she was answerable to acquaint the Home Secretary aback she travelled abroad, in convenance she abandoned did so for official visits. This adventure with Dodi was carefully unofficial. And so Ritchie carries on home. He has apparent two Range Rovers and drivers alfresco the advanced of the auberge but assumes Diana will not leave the Ritz afresh at this backward hour. It is a amiss assumption.
A French medic alleged Dr Mailliez directs the accomplishment attack of Princess Diana afterwards the car blast in the Pont D’Alma adit in Paris on August 31, 1997
12.01am: Dodi ‘pops’ out of the Imperial Apartment and informs his two British bodyguards, Trevor Rees-Jones and Kez Wingfield, that there has been addition change of plan.
The brace will not be abrogation by the Ritz’s advanced access to biking to his accommodation in the cars acclimated beforehand this evening, nor in the aggregation of the two bodyguards and committed chauffeurs. Instead, Dodi tells them, he and Diana will leave by a rear avenue with the Ritz agent aegis administrator Henri Paul and be apprenticed by him in addition Mercedes.
The bodyguards will go out of the advanced and act as decoys while the brace and Paul accomplish acceptable their escapes. The two bodyguards are abashed at the ‘bad plan’. There is a ‘heated debate’ during which Dodi tells his men: ‘It’s been accustomed by MF [Mohamed Al Fayed], it’s been accustomed by my father.’ A accommodation is reached. Rees-Jones will go with the brace and Paul. Neither babysitter is blessed at this, but Dodi’s chat is final.
12.06am: The brace leave the Imperial Apartment and, with Paul and Rees-Jones, alight to arena akin in a account elevator. Parked alfresco is the abandoned acceptable agent from the Ritz car basin accessible — a atramentous three-year-old Mercedes S280. Rees-Jones gets into the advanced commuter seat. Diana sits abaft him with Dodi abaft Paul. None of them is cutting a seatbelt. They are abandoned account from catastrophe.
12.18am: The subterfuge has bootless dismally. The Mercedes is amidst by paparazzi afore they can move off. One of the aftermost pictures of Diana animate is taken here. Rees-Jones looks stressed, the bespectacled Paul bemused. According to an eyewitness, as he gets into the car Paul says to the photographers: ‘Don’t try to chase us; in any case, you won’t bolt us.’
Dodi Al Fayed, and Diana, Princess of Wales, pictured abrogation the Ritz Auberge in Paris, France, the day afore their baleful crash
12.20am: They are pursued forth the Rue Cambon to the alliance with Rue de Rivoli, area Paul turns appropriate into the Abode de la Concorde. Afresh they access the Cours la Reine, which runs forth the Seine embankment, accelerating.
Now they are casual beneath the access to the Pont Alexandre III but the dispatch Mercedes fails to — conceivably cannot — booty an avenue blooper alley that offers the best absolute avenue to their destination. And so it continues forth the river bank, pursued by paparazzi, appear the abutting bridge, the Pont de l’Alma. At this point a cardinal of acknowledged factors that will barrage a countless theories and investigations appear together.
Near the access to the bridge the dispatch Mercedes is in a casual blow with a white Fiat Uno. We shall acknowledgment to that car afterwards in this series. For now, though, answer it to say that Paul loses ascendancy and the adipose car smashes into the 13th colonnade of the tunnel’s axial reservation, at an estimated dispatch of 65mph.
It spins about and comes to blow adverse in the adverse direction. The appulse kills Dodi and Paul. Rees-Jones and Diana are alarmingly injured. Seconds later, off-duty doctor Frederic Mailliez’s Peugeot enters the Alma adit from the added direction.
Diana’s bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones and the aback of Diana’s arch and disciplinarian Henri Paul
He and his admirer Mark are on their way home from a altogether party. They larboard aboriginal because the doctor is on assignment in the morning. ‘I noticed some smoke in the adit and I collection slower and slower and afresh I saw [the Mercedes],’ Mailliez recalls to the Mail. ‘The smoke is advancing from its engine, which was about cut in two, and the horn is blowing, on and on. There was cipher about the wreckage.’
He stops his car and hurries beyond the carriageway. ‘Inside the Mercedes two [victims] were already allegedly comatose and two were acutely afflicted but still alive. So I did a actual quick assessment. Afresh I went aback to my car to get what little medical accessories was there.
‘I had a bag valve mask, which I took. Afresh I went aback axial the Mercedes and approved to accord abetment to the adolescent woman.
‘She was sitting on the attic in the aback and I apparent afresh she was a best admirable woman and she didn’t accept any [serious] injuries to her face. She was not bleeding [then] but she was about benumbed and was accepting adversity breathing. So my ambition was to advice her breathe added easily. It was a appealing difficult bearings for me. I was on my own, I had little equipment. She looked accomplished for the aboriginal account but the blow was actual aerial activity and you consistently doubtable astringent [internal] injuries in that affectionate of situation.’
Yves-Marie Clochard-Bossuet at the abbey of Notre-Dame-des-Foyers in the 19th arrondissement of Paris. The Catholic priest was the abbey at the hospital area Princess Diana died
Dr Mailliez calls the emergency casework on his adaptable phone. Afresh he goes aback to assignment axial the car. He has no abstraction that the afflicted woman he is aggravating to advice is Diana, Princess of Wales.
All that affairs is that her assault is anemic and rapid. But anon he becomes acquainted of added abstracts alpha to accumulate about the bones as he works on her, aggravating to fix the respiratory bag on to her face. The flashguns of cameras go off abaft him. ‘Often bodies booty pictures at an blow because they are curious,’ he says. ‘But in that time there were a lot of bodies demography pictures, which afraid me but did not stop me accomplishing my work. He tries to abundance Diana in French. He does not apperceive she is a foreigner. Afresh addition abaft him says that the adolescent woman speaks English.
‘So I began to allege English to her, adage that I was a doctor and that the ambulance was on its way and aggregate is activity to be alright. That’s the affectionate of affair you say to accomplish a accommodating feel comfortable.’ He still doesn’t apperceive who she is.
12.30am: The aboriginal uniformed badge administrator arrives on the scene. Sebastian Dorzee anon recognises the Princess.
12.32am: Blaze Baker Xavier Gourmelon arrives with two cartage from the Marlar blaze and ambulance station. He already knows it will be austere because a abounding medical aggregation has been despatched to the scene. He sees the man who is Trevor Rees-Jones. ‘He was actual agitated, aggravating to about-face round, blubbering in English. I couldn’t accept him but I put a aggregation on him beeline away,’ he recalls to the Mail.
The baker additionally sees a amount below in the bones with addition victim. It is Dr Mailliez and Diana who is ‘moving and talking’.
Gourmelon’s aggregation removes Dodi from the car to try to alleviate him. ‘Once he was out, I backward with the changeable passenger,’ he says. ‘She batten in English and said, “Oh my God, what’s happened?” I could accept that, so I approved to calm her. I captivated her hand. Afresh others took over. This all happens aural two or three minutes.’ Physically, he can see little amiss with Diana, ‘apart from her accept . . . but you can’t aloof await on what you see’.
His blaze account aide Philippe Boyer fits her with a cervical collar and a alpha breath mask. Afresh Boyer covers Diana in a brownish isothermal blanket. Her breath is normal, her assault ‘fine and actually strong’. It’s attractive hopeful.
12.40am: The aboriginal ambulance arrives. It is in the allegation of Doctor Jean-Marc Martino, a specialist in anaesthetics and accelerated affliction treatment. All Parisian ambulances backpack a doctor as allotment of their crew. ‘I alien myself [to him] gave my appraisal and went aback to my car to go,’ Dr Mailliez recalls. ‘And so I larboard the arena afterwards animate who I had been treating.’
He and Mark drive home, area he will activate the assignment of aggravating to ablution his decrepit white suit. Afterwards thinking, he has retained the respiratory affectation that he had adapted on the woman. Philippe Massoni, Préfet de Badge for Paris, is abreast of the crash.
12.50-1am: George Younes, assignment aegis administrator at the British Embassy in Paris, receives a call, possibly from Nicola Basselier, abettor clandestine secretary to Massoni, allegorical him of the accident. Younes annal it in the Chancery Daily Occurrence Log. Anon afterwards, Younes receives another, from the assignment administrator at the Élysée Palace, casual on the aforementioned message. Younes is the aboriginal British official to apprentice that Diana has been in a blast in his city. He annal the advice as access No 3 in that night’s assignment log.
It reads: ‘T/C [telephone call] from Mr [unreadable] Permance de Palais Elysee to acquaint the Embassy that Lady Diana had a austere car blow at adit Pont de l’Alma Paris. There is afterlife in her car, she is actuality taken abroad to a hospital [unreadable] Paris that still kept abstruse for burning booty all capacity from here.’ The truncated words and aberrant syntax conceivably reflect the abashing and abomination of the news.
1am: Martino tells Gourmelon that they allegation abolish Diana from the car. ‘So that’s what we did,’ he says. ‘We took her out and aboriginal put her on a lath lath and afresh . . . on to a mattress abounding with air. It stops the actuality from affective around, to abstain aback trauma. But aback we confused her from the lath to the mattress her affection chock-full beating.
‘So we started giving her affection massage, two of us, and her affection started afresh about immediately. From afterwards in [her treatment] was all bottomward to the doctors.’
1.10am: Younes telephones Keith Shannon, additional secretary (technology) and the Embassy’s on-call assignment administrator and leaves an answerphone message. Shannon additionally receives a alarm anon afterwards from Philippe Massoni who is already at the arena of the crash.
1.15am: Shannon telephones Keith Moss, the British Consul General in Paris.
1.18am: Gourmelon helps to put Diana in the ambulance. Like Mailliez, the advocate doesn’t yet apperceive who he has been allowance — until he is asked if he does by a captain at the scene. ‘He tells me who she is and then, yes, I recognise her, but in the moment I didn’t,’ he says. His aggregation bright up and acknowledgment to the station. He will accord a account to the police. But he doesn’t allocution about his allotment in the tragedy until he speaks a bearing afterwards to the Mail.
Most urgently, Diana’s claret burden is alpha to fall. Martino administers addition band of dopamine but fears the affection announce centralized damage. They accept done all they can at the arena and now allegation get her to hospital. Which hospital is the accountable of altercation in the ascendancy room.
1.30am: The accommodation that the Princess should be taken to the Pitié-Salpêtrière in the 13th arrondissement is relayed to Martino. At the aforementioned time the hospital’s emergency allowance aggregation is put on standby to accept her. Keith Moss is notified and sets off for the hospital.
1.41am: The Princess’s claret burden has stabilised abundant for the adventure to begin; a apathetic and abiding adventure as any jolting, dispatch or deceleration ability be fatal. In the tunnel, the roof of the Mercedes is cut abroad so that Rees-Jones can be removed.
1.45am: Moss telephones the Auberge de Charost, the arresting abode of HM Agent on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. His Excellency Sir Michael Jay is woken and abreast of the crash.
Buckingham Palace is abandoned of royals. But it is still attentive and houses the 24-hour-a-day ascendancy allowance for the badge aegis of all the UK’s aristocratic residences.
Constable Garry Smith (not his absolute name attributable to his accepted acute work) is on assignment tonight. Abandoned a anniversary ago, Diana had airish for a photograph with him at her Kensington Palace apartment.
‘I’d told her I was organising a above accommodating blow and she offered to accord me accessible support,’ he recalls to the Mail. I told her that as a affiliate of the Aristocratic Family she couldn’t do that. She said: “Well, I’m not a affiliate of the Aristocratic Family any more, am I? I can do what I want.” ’
Now, over his claimed radio, he starts to apprehend that ‘something major’ has happened in Paris involving his acquaintance and benefactor the Princess. He leaves his changeless column for the ascendancy allowance to adviser events.
Chief Superintendent Dai Davies is arch of Scotland Yard’s Royalty Aegis Squad. He is comatose at his home on the outskirts of London aback the buzz rings.
‘It was my assignment administrator at Buckingham Palace, a little strained, to acquaint me that Dodi was comatose and Diana dying,’ he recalls to the Mail. ‘My actual acknowledgment was to say “Dodi who?” because I was not actually animate and had been on leave.’
Davies goes bench and phones aback his man at the Palace. He asks if his arch aegis administrator at Balmoral has been informed. ‘Has anybody told Prince Charles? The Queen? All these questions were activity through my head,’ Davies recalls. He dresses and drives to his HQ at Buckingham Gate.
2am: The ambulance is advancing the hospital aback Diana’s claret burden drops again. Martino orders the disciplinarian to stop while he administers added treatment. He increases the akin of dopamine. The cast is not good. Others are advancing for the worst.
In his accommodation abutting to the hospital Ancestor Yves-Marie Clochard-Bossuet, who has volunteered to be assignment abbey this weekend, is woken by the telephone. It is the arch babysitter at the hospital.
‘He said to me, “Can you accord me the abode of one of your Anglican colleagues?,” ’ the priest recalls. ‘So I said I didn’t accept an Anglican name on duke and added, “You allegation accept the cardinal of an Anglican priest?” But they said to me, “He’s not answering.” And I said, “I’m sorry, I don’t know,” and afraid up.’
The hospital hasn’t explained why an Anglican abbey is appropriate at this hour and the priest doesn’t anticipate to ask. His acquittal is brief.
2.02-2.03am: The priest’s buzz rings again. ‘He alleged me aback and asked, “Can you appear in abode of the Anglican priest?” ’ he recalls. ‘I said, “Yes, but why?” He said, “Look, I can’t acquaint you.”
‘So I said, “Funny you can’t tell, because if I’m activity to see a actuality at two in the morning, I would adulation to apperceive who it is.” ’
The priest begins to anticipate the addition ability be drunk. He tells him: ‘If you can’t accord me the name or acumen at 2am you are arena a joke.’ ‘So he said to me, “Well, I will acquaint you then. It’s the Princess of Wales.” ’
Now, Ancestor Clochard-Bossuet actually believes the babysitter is beneath the access and hangs up ‘right away’. Even so, he is ‘slightly worried’. He doesn’t try to go to aback sleep.
2.05am: Diana’s claret burden has stabilised. Her ambulance adventure resumes.
2.06am: The ambulance alcove the hospital at last. The Princess is in a accompaniment of alarming shock. The on-call cardio-thoracic surgeon, Dr Bruno Riou, is present and two X-rays are taken. They appearance she is bleeding internally. Diana begins to accept analysis but Dr Riou is pessimistic.
2.07am: The priest’s buzz rings again. ‘Father, I’m absolutely sorry, but it’s accurate what I told you,’ says the agitated concierge. ‘You are accepted by the British Agent who is [already] there. This is a actual austere medical situation.’ The priest gets out of bed and dresses.
2.15am (approx.): Michael Cole, a above BBC aristocratic contributor and now arch agent for Mohamed Al Fayed, is comatose at his home in Woodbridge, Suffolk, aback the buzz rings. It is Clive Goodman , the aristocratic editor of Account Of The World.
‘He told me that there’d been a blast in Paris and Diana was afflicted and Dodi had been killed,’ Cole recalls to the Mail. ‘He asked me for a comment. His bi-weekly had been one of the best adamant in following of Diana and Dodi that summer, so all I said was “you accomplish me sick” and afraid up.’
Cole phones Mohamed Al Fayed at his Surrey estate. ‘He answered but at the aforementioned time he was talking on addition band to his helicopter captain, authoritative arrange to be best up and aureate to Paris. I told him what I had aloof been told and he said, actual calmly, “Michael, let us achievement it is not true. Let us adjure it is not true.” ’
2.16-2.21am: Diana goes into added cardiac arrest. She is accustomed alien cardiac beating and adrenaline. But the action is actuality lost. General surgeon Dr Monsef Dahman is alleged in to accomplish a surgical action to locate and stop the centralized bleeding.
2.25am: The grievously afflicted Rees-Jones is delivered, at last, to the aforementioned hospital.
2.30am: Professor Alain Pavie, one of France’s best eminent cardio-surgeons, arrives. He has the Princess transferred from her stretcher to the surgical theatre. He locates the antecedent of the bleed. The breach is sutured and the haemorrhage brought beneath control, but Diana’s affection does not restart. The surgical aggregation apperceive now there is no hope. Nevertheless, they abide with attempts to save her.
The on-duty abbey is walking to the hospital. ‘I activate to see a lot of vans [with TV accessory dishes],’ he recalls. ‘And I was like, “So that actuality is true.” Why abroad would this be blow in the comatose of night in August?’
3am (9am Manila time): Foreign Secretary Robin Cook is in the Philippines and due to leave for Singapore in a brace of hours. But account has appear through of the blast in Paris. Because of the time aberration he is the abandoned arch British baby-kisser animate and animate and with a media entourage.
He is interviewed in his auberge antechamber by book and TV crews. He states that Diana is afflicted but animate and predicts it will be ‘doubly tragic’ if it emerges that the blow that has claimed her boyfriend’s activity was acquired in allotment by the assiduous coursing of the Princess and her aloofness by photographers.
The British reporters are bussed to the Villamor air base. The RAF VC10 is cat-and-mouse accessible to go. Foreign Appointment accounting agents are aboard in a concealed accommodation at the aback of the fuselage.
But Cook is still delayed. A huge adventure is developing and there is no template. Uninformed, the reporters abide corralled in the ashore VC10.
3-3.30am: Colin Tebbutt, Diana’s loyal ‘driver-minder’, arrives at Diana’s clandestine appointment in Kensington Palace, from his home in the apple of Botany Bay, on the outskirts of North London. He finds that her clandestine secretary Michael Gibbins, her butler Paul Burrell and three changeable secretaries are already there. They are all watching the rolling TV coverage, which letters that Diana has been afflicted but is alive.
3.30am: Ancestor Clochard-Bossuet has accomplished the hospital’s surgical department. He has been greeted by the hospital director, who introduces him to the British ambassador, Sir Michael Jay. ‘The agent says to me ‘Please adjournment here. I’m activity to ask you something.’ The priest does as requested, cat-and-mouse alfresco the operating theatre in which France’s best surgeons are aggressive to accumulate Diana alive.
4am: To no avail. Diana’s medical aggregation booty the accommodation to cease their resuscitation efforts, which for at atomic an hour, perhaps, accept been afterwards any absolute achievement of success. They accept beat the accumulation of adrenaline. They accept done all they can and more, but her injuries accept defeated them.
The best famous, best photographed woman in the apple is clearly declared dead. Alfresco the operating theatre the priest is approached by a affiliate of the medical aggregation who tells him: ‘It’s over.’ Aback will the apple be told? For the moment there is an official account blackout.
But some alfresco the emergency allowance and the official bend activate to apprentice the affliction has happened.
Michael Cole had met Diana’s stepmother Raine, Countess Spencer, at his appointment that Friday. ‘She told me she was activity to Venice for the weekend and gave me the cardinal of the accompany with whom she was staying.
‘So I alleged the cardinal in Venice and afterwards some adjournment because of the lateness of the hour, I got through to Raine. I told her what I knew, that Diana had been injured, and gave her the cardinal for the hospital in Paris.
‘I waited and in a actual quick time Raine came aback to me and said she had announced to the hospital and that they had told her Princess Diana had not survived. And that, about abhorrent it was that Dodi had been killed, it was much, abundant worse that Diana was dead.
‘When she told me it acquainted like I had been hit in the solar plexus. I sank to my knees and wept. And that was the aftermost time in my activity that I’ve cried hot tears.’
Colin Tebbutt recalls: ‘We were watching the television and they were broadcasting the footage of Robin Cook adage that Diana was afflicted but animate aback the buzz rings. Michael Gibbins answered it and batten briefly. Afresh he replaced the receiver, angry the television bottomward and said to us, actually calmly, “Ladies and gentlemen, the Princess is dead.” And that was a shock, let me acquaint you. That wasn’t accessible to take.’ Diana’s secretaries and Burrell access into tears.
At Buckingham Gate, Dai Davies, the arch of Aristocratic Aegis at the Met, is abashed by the news. Now he and his bang-up Commander Peter Clarke accept to acknowledge professionally. There is a accident plan for the afterlife of every arch royal. But for Diana, no such arrange are in place.
He calls in Inspector Ken Wharfe, a above adept aegis administrator for Diana. He additionally orders a French-speaking aristocratic aegis administrator to go from Balmoral to Paris.
4.20-4.25am: Ancestor Clochard-Bossuet is escorted by a assistant to a allowance on the aboriginal attic area he finds a cardinal of dignitaries, including the French Interior Minister Jean-Pierre Chevènement and Agent Jay. He recalls: ‘The agent says to me, “We will now booty you to the allowance area Diana has been laid. We ask that you say prayers and watch over her until an Anglican priest is found.” ’
The priest agrees. It is too backward to accomplish Extreme Unction, the angelic ritual for the dying, and in any case Diana was not Catholic. But he will say prayers for the deceased.
4.25am: On the aerodrome alfresco Manila, the RAF VC10 has not moved. It cannot booty off for Singapore until the Foreign Secretary boards. Why is he demography so long?
Steve Doughty, the Mail’s adept correspondent, is one of the journalists on the plane. He recalls: ‘Buckingham Palace had no night assignment administrator animate and able to accord with brief business, and so was out of the loop.
‘The Foreign Appointment was in allegation of accepting Diana information, and it was breach all bulletin cartage from Paris to their boss, Robin Cook, in Manila. My compassionate at the time was that Cook was actuality told afore Downing Street.’
This cartage is actuality fielded by Foreign Appointment agents in the communications apartment at the aback of the VC10. They are afar from the Press in the capital commuter alcove by a attenuate curtain.
‘Some secrets are too big to keep,’ says Doughty. ‘A changeable aide twitched aback the blind at the rear of the even to acknowledge a row of changeable Foreign Appointment secretaries all in floods of tears. And that’s aback we knew that Diana was not afflicted but dead.’
The admiral on the even do not attack to abjure the news. Those journalists with adaptable phones that assignment in Manila activate to alarm their editors in London.
4.41am: The Press Association in London break the account that Diana has died in Paris. It is as yet bottomless by official confirmation. Aback at the hospital Ancestor Clochard-Bossuet is taken by the agent and a assistant to the allowance in which Diana is lying, her anatomy covered by a sheet.
‘I saw her for the aboriginal time there,’ he recalls. ‘She was absolutely intact, no mark or stain, or make-up. Absolutely natural. And she was a absolutely admirable woman and it seemed as if . . . you could about allocution to her.’
The priest is now abandoned with Diana. He had been acquainted of the Princess’s anniversary activities that summer and had not approved: ‘All those photos, the lovers . . . For a woman who is the mother of a baron . . . that was not behaving well. I was not affectionate [to her].’
But afresh he had apprehend her account in Le Monde bi-weekly on Thursday and his assessment changed. ‘There was a folio on her answer what [else] she was accomplishing and actual absolute things. And I thought, “Well you were accessible to judge, but ultimately she is a acceptable woman.” It was advantageous that I saw it [given what happened].’
He thinks of the two adolescent Princes who accept yet to be told. ‘They are activity to accept to deathwatch them up and acquaint them, “It’s over” . . . It is the affliction thing.’
He begins to adjure for Diana’s soul. In the black alfresco the hospital Interior Minister Chevènement is acknowledging to the apple that the Princess is absolutely dead.