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Electronic Telegraph International News

Princess Attacked Over Fayed Yacht Holiday

Sunday 13 July 1997
By Chris Boffey

DIANA, Princess of Wales, faces criticism after holidaying with Princes William and Harry on a yacht belonging to Harrods owner Mohammed Fayed in the south of France.

Yesterday, she and and her sons sailed off the Cote d'Azure after boarding Mr Fayed's schooner in St Tropez. Before accepting his offer the Princess was made aware that the the trip might arouse concern. Mr Fayed, who owns a £10 million villa in St Tropez, is at the centre of the House of Commons cash for questions controversy, and has admitted paying MPs for their help.

A factor in the Princess of Wales's decision to holiday with Mr Fayed was the recent picture of the Queen, accompanied by Mr Fayed, presenting the prizes at a Windsor horse show organised by the millionaire entrepreneur.

The Princess and the boys, who recently started their school holidays, flew to Cannes on Friday in one of Mr Fayed's private planes and joined the yacht Sakara, named after an Egyptian god, yesterday. The boat, said to be worth £20 million, sailed around the Cap d'Antibes. The Princess appeared happy to be photographed with Mr Fayed and his wife, Fin.

Last year the Princess declined Mr Fayed's offer to become a consultant director of Harrods International, a position accepted by her stepmother, Raine, Countess de Chambrun.

The holiday invitation was made earlier this year. Prince Charles would have been made aware of the holiday because of the involvement of the Princes and the security implications. Detectives from the Royal and Diplomatic Protection Branch have accompanied the group.

It is understood that the Royal party will stay with the Fayeds until after Bastille Day on Tuesday.

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Princess Diana in Intensive Care After Crash

Saturday August 30 10:42 PM EDT
PARIS (Reuter) - Britain's Princess Diana, seriously injured in a car crash that killed her companion, Harrods heir Dodi Al Fayed, is in intensive care at Paris' Salpetriere hospital, police and hospital officials said Sunday.

The crash occurred as press photographers on motorcycles pursued their car through a tunnel under the Place de l'Alma in the capital's posh eighth district, Paris police said. The accident involved at least one other car.

Also killed in the accident was the driver of the car, a security officer at Paris' Hotel Ritz, police said.

Paris police officials, who earlier said that Diana had been seriously injured in the crash, said her precise condition was unknown.

The officials said Diana was in the intensive care unit of the eastern Paris hospital, which specializes in emergency cases.

They said that British Ambassador Sir Michael Jay and his wife, French Interior Minister Jean-Pierre Chevenement, the British consul-general and Paris police chief Philippe Massoni were at the hospital with the princess.

A fourth passenger in the car, one of the princess' bodyguards was injured in the accident and freed from the wreckage, police said.

British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who is on an Asian tour, told reporters in Manila that the accident would be "doubly tragic" if partly caused by the press photographers pursuing their car.

"We understand the princess is in hospital," Cook said. "We are deeply shocked by the news and our first thoughts at the present time are with the princess and her family.

"Our ambassador is at the hospital and will provide every possible assistance we can.

"I think it will be doubly tragic if it does emerge that this accident was in part caused by the persistent hounding of the princess and her privacy by photographers," Cook said.

Diana was due back in Britain on Sunday after her latest holiday with Al Fayed in the Mediterranean and had been expected to see her two sons, William and Harry, at her London home at Kensington Palace.

On Friday, British newspapers had splashed photographs of Diana and Al Fayed frolicking in the sea.

Since the breakdown of Diana's marriage to heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, culminating in a divorce a year ago, she has been careful to keep any men friends out of the public eye.

But she threw caution to the winds with Al Fayed. She took her sons on holiday in July on the yacht of Dodi's father, Mohammed Al Fayed, and hinted she would have a shock announcement within weeks.

But it still came as a huge shock to most Britons when it was revealed that Diana and Dodi were close.

"We relaxed ... we had a good time," Al Fayed said after returning from one break with Diana. "We are very good friends."

Al Fayed was the heir to a business empire that included Harrods, London's "top people's" store.

His Egyptian-born father is one of the most controversial men in British public life. He is credited with helping bring down the former Conservative government with his allegations that senior Conservatives took money from him to ask questions in parliament.

The royal family was reported to be displeased that Diana had chosen Al Fayed as her beau.

Shortly after their liaison became public, model Kelly Fisher claimed that Al Fayed had shuttled between her and Diana on one of the holidays. Fisher alleged Al Fayed had said he wanted her to have his baby.

President Clinton and his wife Hillary had been informed of the accident and were very concerned, the White House said.

Spokesman Joe Lockhart said the Clintons were told by a military aide while they were attending a party at a private residence on Martha's Vineyard where they are on vacation.

"Both the president and the first lady are very concerned and asked to be kept up to date on the situation," Lockhart said.

Diana last paid an official visit to Washington in June when she lobbied for a Red Cross campaign for a global ban on anti-personnel land mines.

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Princess Diana dead after Paris car crash

Companion Dodi Fayed, chauffeur also killed

August 31, 1997

PARIS (CNN) -- Britain's Princess Diana died early Sunday at a Paris hospital after suffering massive internal injuries in a high-speed car crash. She was 36. Her companion, Harrod's heir Dodi Fayed, and their chauffeur died at the crash scene.

Diana, Princess of Wales, died at 4 a.m. after going into cardiac arrest, doctors told a news conference at Paris' Hospital de la Pitie Salpetriere.

The death was announced at 6 a.m. by Dr. Alain Pavie, head of the cardiology department.

Prince Charles will fly from Scotland to Paris Sunday to accompany the body of his former wife on its return to Britain.

Diana and Charles' two sons, Princes William, 15, and Harry, 12, were vacationing with Charles at the royal family's Scottish home at Balmoral. Buckingham Palace said Charles had been notified of the accident and had told the children.

"The death of the Princess of Wales fills us all with shock and deep grief," said British ambassador Michael Jay, who was at the hospital.

The princess' death came after she suffered massive internal injuries, including lung damage, Christopher Dickey, Newsweek's Paris bureau chief, told CNN.

Diana also suffered severe head injuries, hospital officials told CNN.

Ambulance workers managed to revive her at the crash scene, but her heart stopped beating on arrival at the hospital, said Dr. Bruno Riou, head of the hospital's intensive care unit.

Surgeons opened Diana's injured chest, closed a wound in her heart and massaged the heart for two hours in a vain battle to save her life, he said.

"We could not revive her," Riou said.

A fourth person in the car, one of the princess' bodyguards, was seriously injured in the wreck, police said.

The high-speed crash occurred shortly after midnight in a tunnel along the Seine River at the Pont de l'Alma bridge less than half a mile from the Eiffel Tower, while paparazzi -- the commercial photographers who constantly tailed Diana -- were following her car on motorcycles, police said.

Diana's car was traveling at 80 mph through the narrow tunnel, a French official said. The driver apparently lost control of the car, according to French radio, which quoted witnesses as saying the car slammed into a concrete support post, then bounced into a wall.

Several motorcyclists were detained for questioning after the crash, police said. A badly damaged motorcycle was taken from the scene of the accident by police.

Seven photographers were in custody, police said.

At least some of the photographers took pictures before help arrived, French radio said, adding that one of the photographers was beaten at the scene by outraged witnesses.

Dickey said police were expected to press the investigation.

"This kind of pursuit of celebrities here in Paris is something I think the French government has never been terribly happy about," Dickey said. "I think they'll pursue this very, very actively indeed."

Witnesses heard crash

An American witness, Mike Walker, told CNN the car in which Diana was traveling "looked like it hit the wall."

Two other Americans visiting Paris heard the crash and ran to the scene. Joanna Luz and Tom Richardson, both of San Diego, told CNN they were walking along the Seine when they heard a bang and squealing tires under the bridge.

They described the car as a dark blue Mercedes, with the passenger side airbag deployed, facing oncoming traffic.

They also said they believed at least one cameraman was following the car, saying that what appeared to be a professional photographer was on the scene less than 15 seconds after the crash.

"His equipment was very professional -- his camera was a foot and a half tall," Luz said. "It definitely was not a tourist camera."

Early calls to British newspapers found none with reporters assigned to follow Diana in Paris. However, CNN Paris Bureau Chief Jim Bittermann said that would not be unusual; the British papers often rely on freelancers who are willing to go to great lengths to get an exclusive photograph of the princess.

Car destroyed

Dickey was at the scene when the Mercedes was removed from the tunnel. Its windshield was cracked, its roof collapsed, and the front of the car crunched back to the windshield.

A wrecking crew had great difficulty recovering the car, Dickey said, because even the wheels wouldn't move. "Only the trunk of the car appears to be intact at this point," Dickey said. In the end, the car was lifted out with a crane.

Bittermann said the highway, one of several high-speed arteries into the center of Paris, typically has very little traffic around midnight Saturday.

There is no barrier between incoming and outgoing traffic, Bittermann said; if a car went out of control it would be nearly certain to swerve into oncoming traffic.

The crash trapped several people in a pileup, Radio France Info reported. Police cars and vans with flashing lights filled the site outside the tunnel and officers blocked off the area.

The car was apparently traveling without an escort.

Diana, Fayed dined earlier in evening

Reports said that Diana and Fayed, 42, dined at the Ritz Hotel in Paris before the accident. Fayed's family owns the Ritz Hotel chain; the car's chauffeur was also reported to be a Ritz employee.

Diana, whose divorce from Britain's Prince Charles became official last year, had been on vacation in the south of France with Fayed last week. It was believed to be her third romantic vacation with Fayed.

Speculation surrounding Diana and the Egyptian millionaire had been rampant ever since she was spotted embracing Fayed on a Mediterranean cruise earlier this month.

Fayed and the princess are said to have met about 10 years ago, when he played polo against Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne.

Fayed lived lavish lifestyle

Films that Fayed produced or co-produced include the 1981 Oscar-winning "Chariots of Fire," "The World According to Garp," "F/X" and "Hook."

Reportedly a multi-millionaire, Fayed had homes in London, New York, Los Angeles and Switzerland as well as a garage full of luxury cars. His 1994 marriage lasted just eight months.

Fayed's father, self-made billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed, owns London's fabled Harrod's department store, the Hotel Ritz in Paris and has 11 homes around the world.

Mohamed Al-Fayed had been friendly with Diana's father, the late Earl Spencer.

Diana had been due back in Britain on Sunday to see her sons at her London home at Kensington Palace.

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Princess Diana's Injuries Severe, Impossible to Survive

August 31, 1997 - 9:09 p.m. EDT

LONDON (CNN) -- Princess Diana's injuries from the Paris car crash were so severe and her blood loss so massive it would have been impossible for her to survive, British doctors said Sunday.

As details emerged about the accident that killed the princess and her millionaire Egyptian companion Dodi Fayed in Paris, medical experts in London heaped praise on their French counterparts and said they had done everything possible to save her life.

"I think one would say they were unsurvivable injuries," said Alaistair Wilson, the director of emergency services at the Royal London Hospital.

"The French ambulance service, the people doing the extrication (from the mangled wreck) and the hospital certainly appear to me to have done extremely well. On the evidence I've got, they get top marks for doing all and a bit more," he added.

Diana, 36, died of cardiac arrest after doctors at Paris' Hospital La Pitie Salpetriere repaired a tear in a ruptured pulmonary vein and massaged her heart for two hours in an effort to get it pumping again.

Last-ditch attempts not rare

Doctors' last-ditch attempts to save Diana, including the lengthy heart massage, are considered extreme but hardly rare, especially for healthy young victims of auto accidents.

When Diana arrived at the hospital, she was bleeding heavily from the chest.

Dr. Bruno Riou, head of the hospital's intensive care unit, said doctors opened her chest and found "an important wound of the left pulmonary vein," which carries blood from the lungs to the heart.

The wound, the apparent source of the bleeding, was closed.

The doctors tried to revive her with the chest massage -- first externally and then directly to the heart -- but it failed and she was declared dead about four hours after the crash.

'Not just celebrities'

"It's not just celebrities who get that kind of treatment," said Dr. Thomas Martin, an emergency medicine specialist at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. "It's probably not much different than would be done for any other young healthy person."

When the heart stops beating, doctors have about four minutes to restore blood flow before permanent brain damage sets in. Even if the heart fails to begin pumping again on its own, however, doctors can often prevent brain injury by pushing on the heart to restore circulation.

In cases of cardiac arrest following multiple severe injuries, such as bad car crashes, doctors may open up the chest both to look for sources of bleeding and to give them direct access to the heart.

Standard cardiopulmonary resuscitation -- CPR -- performed externally on the chest, typically pumps about 10 percent of the usual amount of blood. But massaging the naked heart directly can achieve almost normal circulation.

"Opening up the chest is only done as a last-resort measure to try to salvage somebody. But if you don't open up the chest, you might as well pronounce them dead," said Dr. David Frankle of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Victim's age a factor

"Typically, depending on the case, after 30 or 40 minutes, you would stop," said Dr. Kathleen Raftery of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

One exception is if the heart resumes beating on its own for a few minutes and then stops again. In such cases, doctors might keep massaging the heart for several hours, hoping to revive the victim.

Doctors say they will go to great extremes in such cases, especially if the victims are young.

In older victims, resuscitation attempts are often complicated by clogged arteries, which impair the flow of the manually pumped blood to the brain.

But the young sometimes are able to come through such extreme trauma reasonably well. This can be especially true in situations where damage to a major blood vessel is causing bleeding near the heart.

"Sometimes if you get in quickly and clamp it off, you can dramatically resuscitate these people," said Martin. "That's probably why they went to the unusual step of opening the chest."

Pulmonary vein crucial

Riou, from the Paris hospital, told reporters the surgeons stopped trying to restart her heart after massive internal bleeding in the chest, despite repairs to the ruptured left pulmonary vein.

The pulmonary vein is one of the most important because of its close proximity to the heart. Blood flows away from the heart in arteries and back to it in veins.

The left pulmonary vein, Wilson said, "bleeds a lot if it gets torn and it can let air into the left side of the heart, which means air can be pumped into the body, so it is an extremely dangerous injury indeed."

Doctors first tried to revive the princess at the scene of the accident in a road tunnel in the French capital and surgeons later opened up her chest to perform a thorocotomy -- surgery to repair the pulmonary vein to stop the bleeding.

'Right hospital at the right time'

"Clearly they found that there was something they could do which they felt could save her life and they were absolutely right in that. I believe they must have had the right surgeons in the right hospital at the right time," Wilson said.

But he said that due to a number of factors -- other injuries, blood loss, air that got into her system -- they were unable to save her.

"After a cardiac arrest it is really difficult to resuscitate people," he added.

John Pepper, a consultant cardiac surgeon at London's Brompton Hospital, said the French doctors had tried to control the bleeding, but Diana's heart was already functioning badly and was too severely damaged.

"When the pulmonary vein ruptures you can lose a huge amount of blood in a very short time," he said.

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The Crash

By Mike Bracken

In the early hours of August 31, 1997 a dark blue Mercedes S-280 travelling at more than 100mph crashed shortly after entering a tunnel at the Pont de l'Alma bridge in the centre of Paris. The driver, Henri Paul, aged 41, and one passenger, Dodi Fayed, also 41 and son of the Harrods owner Mohammed al-Fayed, were killed instantly. Princess Diana, sitting alongside Dodi in the rear passenger seat, was seriously injured, and died at 4.00am in the Pitie-Salpetrière hospital. The car's other occupant, Dodi's bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, aged 29, suffered severe injuries but survived.

The circumstances surrounding what at first appeared to be a straightforward accident became increasingly confusing. The car, it emerged, had been trying to shake off a group of photographers on motorbikes. By the time it struck the side of the tunnel it was reportedly travelling at 121mph.

The Fayed family was quick to blame the photographers, seven of whom were arrested the next day. All were later cleared and the tide of public opinion turned against the Fayed family when it emerged that the car's driver had substantial amounts of alcohol in his bloodstream.

Speculation multiplied, especially after French police stated that the Mercedes had slowed down before clipping a white Fiat Uno seconds before the crash. This car has never been traced and many of the photographers trailing Princess Diana's car have no recollection of seeing it. All of which fostered wild conspiracy theories, particularly in the Arab world, and led to criticism of the French investigation.

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Electronic Telegraph UK News

Diana and Dodi Killed in Paris Car Crash

Sunday 31 August 1997
By Greg Neale, Helen Johnstone, Tom Baldwin, Catherine Elsworth and Robert Shrimsley

DIANA, Princess of Wales, was killed with her companion Dodi Fayed early today, after their car crashed in Paris while being chased by paparazzi photographers. The couple's driver was also killed and a bodyguard injured in the crash, which happened in a road tunnel beside the river Seine.

The 36-year-old Princess was taken to the intensive care ward of the nearby Pitie-Salpetriere hospital, where she died of a lung haemorrhage following surgery soon after 4am. Initial reports said she had been in a "distressed state", but able to walk from the mangled wreckage of the Mercedes 600 limousine, which was said to have hit a wall and turned over.

First reports had indicated that she suffered head injuries, a broken arm and serious leg injuries. Surgeons discovered that the Princess's coronary artery was ruptured when they went to carry out a tracheotomy. Her condition was first described as serious, then grave. Then, shortly after 4.30am, the Foreign Office and French officials announced that the Princess had died.

Shock at the accident was coupled with revulsion at the apparent circumstances of the crash. Paris police arrested seven photographers, and one was reportedly beaten up by angry passers-by amid the confusion. News of the the Princess's death was passed to the Royal Family by the French Ambassador, who telephoned the Queen's Private Secretary at Balmoral in Scotland, where the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and Princes William and Harry are spending their summer holidays.

Prince Charles and the Queen were "deeply shocked and distressed by this terrible news", Buckingham Palace said. The Prince told his sons of their mother's death soon after he was informed. Prince Charles and Princess Diana were divorced a year ago last Thursday.

The crash happened near the Pont de l'Alma, a bridge over the river Seine to the west of the city soon after midnight. The high-speed pursuit ended in a crash in the tunnel trapping several people in the pile-up.

Tony Blair, who was woken in Downing Street, said: "I am utterly devastated. The whole of our country, all of us, will be in a state of shock and mourning. Diana was a wonderful, warm and compassionate person who people, not just in Britain, but throughout the world loved and will be mourned as a friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, particularly her two sons, and with all the families bereaved in this quite appalling tragedy."

A spokesman for Buckingham Palace, said the crash was "an accident waiting to happen". Michael Gibbons said he had had no official news on the crash. But he repeated the palace's anger at the actions of photographers who pursue the Royal Family around the world.

The role of photographers in today's crash is certain to re-open the debate surrounding new laws to protect privacy. The Princess was being driven by a security officer from the Ritz Hotel, according to early reports. The Ritz is owned by Dodi's father Mohamed Fayed, also the owner of Harrods.

Officials said the Princess's bodyguard was pulled from the wrecked car and was seriously injured. Other people were still trapped inside vehicles in the tunnel.

It is believed that the couple were heading for Dodi Fayed's luxury residence in the plush 16th arrondissement in the western part of the capital, when the accident happened. Mr Fayed, aged 41, was reportedly given heart massage by the roadside, to no avail. His father flew to Paris in his private helicopter soon after being informed.

Mohamed Fayed, said the deaths were "appalling and quite needless". He added: "The world has lost a princess who is simply irreplaceable".

The Foreign Office confirmed early this morning that the French authorities had told them that photographers on motorcycles were involved in the accident.

American tourists Tom Richardson and Joanna Luz were two of the first eyewitnesses on the scene. They told the cable television network CNN that they were walking nearby when they heard the crash and ran into the tunnel.

Mr Richardson, from San Diego, said: "There was smoke. I think the car hit a wall. A man started running towards us telling us to go."

Miss Luz said: "The horn was sounding for about two minutes. I think it was the driver against the steering wheel. There was a photographer on the scene within five seconds of the crash happening. As we were running out of the tunnel police and others were running in but it took around five or seven minutes for them to get there. People were running towards the crash site and steering traffic away not knowing who was in the car. We were 20 yards from the accident but we did not see anyone in the car. The car was in the right lane facing on-coming traffic. The air bag was on the passenger's side. We did not see anyone on the driver's side."

Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed were rounding off their holiday with a stay in Paris. The couple, who had been cruising aboard a yacht belonging to Dodi's father, were first spotted in the French capital yesterday.

The couple's close friendship has commanded world attention after it was first revealed barely two months ago. It blossomed during the past five weeks, as the couple took a series of holidays together in the Mediterranean. Less than two weeks ago the Princess and Mr Fayed flew to the French Mediterranean resort of St Tropez for their third holiday in each other's company in five weeks.

Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, said in the Philippines, shortly after hearing the news: "I am greatly shocked. Our first thoughts must be with her children and her family. It is a tragic loss at a young age of someone who had shown great courage and commitment in drawing attention to serious issues. For the next few days her family and the nation must have time to come to terms with their immense sadness and loss. In the longer term, serious questions will need to be asked as to whether the aggressive intrusions into her privacy have contributed to this tragedy. I think it will be doubly tragic if it does emerge that this accident was in part caused by persistent hounding of the Princess."

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Sunday Mirror

Midday Edition; Diana Dead

Millicent Brown and Doug Kempster

Princess Diana and her lover Dodi Fayed were killed early today in an horrific car crash in Paris. Shocked eyewitnesses told how the inside of their Mercedes was "full of blood" after the smash in a road tunnel, and how Dodi had been unsuccessfully given heart massage at the scene. The couple's car had been speeding at up to 120mph to get away from pursuing paparazzi photographers who were trying to get pictures of them. Their chauffeur - who was also killed - lost control on a bend in a tunnel along the Seine river at the Pont del-Alma bridge. The vehicle careered into the central reservation and somersaulted through the air. Several other vehicles then rammed into it.

Police later confirmed that seven photographers had been arrested at the scene and could be facing manslaughter charges in connection with the tragedy. Another photographer was beaten up by furious onlookers.

A fourth person in the car, a security guard from the Ritz Hotel - owned by Dodi's father Harrods boss Mohamed Al Fayed - was also badly hurt. His condition was this morning described as "critical" by hospital staff. Police said he would hold vital clues to exactly what happened.

The seven people arrested were being held at the headquarters of the Crime Squad in Paris. An investigation into the tragic accident was being led by Commissaire Martine Monteil. MI5 will also carry out their own inquiries. Dodi and Diana were in travelling in the back of the car and were apparently not wearing seatbelts, breaking French law. The impact of the crash was so massive that rescuers found the radiator grill on the front passenger's lap.

One witness said the windscreen had smashed down on the roof and the right-hand side of the vehicle had completely collapsed. It took rescue workers an incredible TWO hours to free the Princess from the wreckage.

Earlier today it was reported that Diana, 36, had survived the initial crash. She was taken to the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, in the east of the city, apparently suffering from concussion, a broken arm, and cuts to the thigh. It later emerged that she had been given emergency surgery on her lungs and heart. Doctors fought for another two hours to stem the internal bleeding.

But at 4.42am this morning a message flashed across the world saying Diana was dead. Bruno Riou, head of the hospital's intensive care unit, said the Princess's heart had stopped after the bleeding. Dodi and the driver, a Ritz Hotel worker, were killed instantly in the horrific crash.

France's chief of police was among the first at the scene, attempting to resuscitate the wounded. Britain's ambassador to France Sir Michael Jay had rushed to the hospital as soon as he received word from the French authorities.

Dodi's father, Mohamed, also flew in by helicopter. Prime Minister Tony Blair was woken in the early hours as soon as news of the accident broke. US President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, were also informed. Diana's press officer Michael Gibbins expressed anger at the action of photographers who pursue the Royal family around the world. And Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said: "This is a tragic loss of a young life. In the longer term serious questions will need to be asked as to whether aggressive intrusion into her privacy has contributed to this accident."

Home Office Minister Alun Michael even hinted at possible legislation to limit press intrusion on public figures. He said: "As Robin Cook suggested, questions need to be asked about the pursuit of Diana by the paparazzi. "There has been massive interest in Diana, but there must be a limit. "This does indicate the need for these issues to be addressed."

However, Mr Michael suggested that French laws on the activities of photographers might have contributed to the tragedy. He said: "There is a difference between the accepted rules and standards between Britain and other countries." Several people were said to have been trapped in the ensuing pile-up after the crash, which happened just after midnight. Police cars and vans - with lights flashing - crowded the mouth the tunnel on the bank of the Seine, as officers sealed off the area.

Officers said that rescue efforts were hampered because of the location of the accident. One stunned eyewitness, Stuart Dienn, from Teddington, Middlesex, said: "I heard an almighty smash." I have heard car accidents before, but never anything like this. This was just an almighty bang.

"By the time I got there there were police swarming everywhere. I saw a zipped up body bag being carried into an ambulance. I had no idea it was them." Tourist Michael Solomon was visibly shaken by what he had seen and heard. "The noise of the crash was so loud I thought it was a terrorist bomb at first," he said."I peered into the wreckage and saw Dodi in a pretty bad state lying on the back seat. "Diana was also in the back, but I really couldn't tell how badly injured she was."

American Mike Walker saw two traffic policemen struggling to reach the four passengers inside the car. Other motorists stood bewildered by the side of the road - unable to comprehend what had happened. Mike said: "We could see the airbag blown up and could see people in the car. "People were standing around the car bewildered - it was a rough accident."

The stretch of tunnel, no more than 500 metres long, normally has a speed restriction of around 30mph. But witnesses say the limo was moving at considerably greater speed in a bid to loose the photographers. Joanna Luz said: "The car must have been travelling at very high speed. "In France you are supposed to help a person in the event of an accident so everybody rushed towards the car. "Some people were trying to keep everybody away from the car and we just ran back out of the tunnel. "The car was facing the opposite way."

The Foreign Office informed Buckingham Palace of the tragic accident. The Prince of Wales was on his way to France to comfort his ex-wife - as news of her death was released. The crumpled remains of the Mercedes were eventually removed from the tunnel, several hours after the crash. The wreckage will be vital to the enquiry into the accident.

Officials today said it was very likely that an inquest into Diana's death would be held in Britain. Her body is expected to be flown to London where a Home Office pathologist will conduct a post mortem. Questions over who was protecting Diana at the time of the crash will need to be answered and who took the decision to try to flee the pursuing paparazzi at reported speeds of 120mph.

Incredibly, Dodi's step-father and an aunt were also killed in a car crash in the mid-Seventies. Diana and Dodi had been rounding off their latest break in the sun with a brief stay in Paris. They thought it would be the ideal way to finish their week-long cruise around the South of France and Sardinia.

It is thought the city held a special attraction for the couple and Dodi's father Mohamed Al Fayed said it would make the perfect home for them. Earlier yesterday they were seen wandering around the French capital window shopping. It was in Paris that the 42-year-old Harrods heir wooed Diana in a glitzy room in the Paris Ritz. Who could have known it would end like this?

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Diana, Princess of Wales, Killed in Car Crash

Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car crash in central Paris along with her close friend Dodi Fayed.

Early on Sunday morning the 36-year-old Princess and Mr Fayed were in a Mercedes car which went out of control at high speed as it entered an underground tunnel in the French capital. The 41-year-old Mr Fayed, son of Harrods owner Mohammed Al Fayed, and the car's driver died instantly.

The Princess was taken from the wreckage and rushed to the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in south-east Paris. First medical reports indicated that she was suffering from concussion, a broken arm and cuts to her thighs. It later emerged that the Princess had suffered massive chest injuries.

At 4.53am it was announced that the Princess had died.

The official news that Diana had died was announced outside the hospital by French Interior Minister Jean-Pierre Chevenement.

Foreign Secretary Robin Cook confirmed her death in a statement on the tarmac at Manila military airport in the Philippines.

French police at the scene of the accident "I am greatly shocked by this news. Our first thoughts must be with her children and family at this time of immense loss to them," he said. The 36-year-old princess died at 4 a.m. local time (0200 GMT) after going into cardiac arrest, doctors told a hospital news conference.

On Monday afternoon the French authorities announced that the driver of the Mercedes had well over the legal level of alcohol in his blood.

Diana's last day

Diana had hoped to spend a romantic Saturday evening in Paris with her new friend, Dodi Fayed. The two had supper at the Michelin two-star restaurant in the Ritz Hotel, which is owned by Mr Fayed's father, and is known for its seafood.

The evening was to have ended in a private villa - also owned by Dodi's father - across the Seine river in the exclusive 16th arrondissement.

But the couple never got there. They left the Ritz around midnight local time in a car chauffeured by a hotel employee. Their black Mercedes was pursued by paparazzi on motorcycles, the commercial photographers who constantly tail Diana to snatch pictures of her. Seven photographers have been arrested and are helping police with their enquiries.

A few minutes later the car crashed in a tunnel at the Pont de l'Alma bridge along the Seine River, less than a half-mile from the Eiffel Tower. The car apparently hit a concrete post in the center divider, then bounced into the right wall. The impact crushed the car and all the passengers, including the princess.

Bleeding profusely in the chest area, Diana was transported to the La Pitie-Salpetriere in southwestern Paris, where doctors operated and then applied heart massage for two hours.

But they failed to get her heart going and Diana died from internal bleeding stemming from major chest and lung injuries, said Dr. Bruno Riou, head of intensive care at the hospital.

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Friends: Diana Happy, Was to End Public Life

Monday, September 1 4:04 PM EDT
By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuter) - Princess Diana declared just hours before she died that she had found true happiness with Dodi Al Fayed and planned to withdraw completely from public life.

Close confidants said on Monday they had never known her so content and fulfilled now that she had a new man in her life. Wedding bells were being forecast.

"They were, to use an old but priceless cliche, blissfully happy," said Daily Mail journalist Richard Kay who talked to Diana on the phone just six hours before she died.

Kay, a close confidant of the princess for the past five years, said: "She told me she had decided radically to change her life.

"She was going to complete her obligations to her charities and to the anti-personnel landmines cause and then around November would completly withdraw from her formal public life."

Bubblingly enthusiastic in their last phone conversation, she told Kay how she was looking forward to seeing her sons again -- future king William, 15, and Harry, 12.

"I'm coming home tomorrow and the boys will be back from Scotland in the evening," Diana said. "I will have a few days with them before they're back at school," she added.

Andrew Morton, whose best-selling book on Diana first revealed the heartbreak behind her failed marriage to Prince Charles, said the princess was "just a fingertip away from the happiness she craved."

"She was just a breath away from the new life she was attempting to build for herself," he said.

Morton said Diana had a new sense of purpose and inner resolve: "New love, new life, new hope."

Diana's body was flown home on Sunday to lie in a royal chapel. Her millionaire companion was buried just hours after the Paris car crash that killed them both.

Dodi Al Fayed, son of Harrods department store tycoon Mohamed Al Fayed, had been seen over the years with a succession of beautiful women draped over his arm in high society playgrounds.

But Al Fayed's spokesman Michael Cole said Dodi planned to spend the rest of his life with Diana.

Cole had warned Dodi about being seen with too many other beautiful women in case they could be rumored to be new girlfriends.

"Dodi turned to me and said 'Michael, I will never have another girlfriend'."

And that is why Diana's closest friends found it even harder to come to terms with her sudden death at 36.

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Jilted Model Regrets Breakup With Dodi

Tuesday September 2 10:08 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuter) - Kelly Fisher, the model who claims she was dumped by Dodi Al Fayed in favor of Princess Diana, said Tuesday he might still be alive if he had not broken up with her.

"Dodi was my best friend for over a year and we were engaged since November," Fisher told NBC's "Today" show. "He was my best friend. I never got to talk to him."

When asked by NBC what was the one unanswered question she had for Fayed, who died Sunday in a car crash in Paris with the princess, Fisher, after a long pause, said: "Why didn't we just stay together? None of this would have happened. None of it."

She told the network she felt "devastated" over Fayed's death, and that she was happy for him in the last months of his life.

"I just feel devastated that Dodi is dead. I can't even believe it. At least he was happy in the last months of his life with Diana."

Fisher announced Monday that she had dropped a breach-of-contract suit she filed against Fayed on Aug. 14 alleging he had not lived up to financial promises.

Two weeks earlier, a tearful Fisher broke down at a news conference in Los Angeles at which her attorney, Gloria Allred, announced the suit.

The lawyer said the 31-year-old model had been emotionally "left at the altar" after pictures of Al Fayed and the princess were published around the world.

In addition, she said, a $200,000 check he gave her had bounced.

The princess and Al Fayed died Sunday after a car crash in Paris as the black Mercedes Benz vehicle they were riding in was being followed by photographers.

The driver of the car apparently lost control and hit a concrete post by the River Seine.

Diana and Al Fayed had been the focus of frenzied media attention for the past month after photographs showed the pair embracing on a Mediterranean holiday.

Fisher, in the NBC interview, said the media were "terrible" and called them "an invasion," but said Fayed did not ever express his distaste for or felt threatened by them.

"The paparazzi is terrible. I mean they're standing outside of my door right now with TV cameras and they are an invasion."

In London, a spokesman said Harrods department store owner Mohamed Al Fayed is "utterly desolate" at the death of his son Dodi alongside Princess Diana and wants a full investigation.

"Mr. Al Fayed is utterly, utterly desolate...It's a very difficult time," spokesman Michael Cole said.

Dodi died after he left his father's Ritz hotel in Paris with Diana, who he had wooed and seemingly won in a love affair which shocked and fascinated the world.

Attention is now being focused on who was to blame for the fatal crash -- with the finger of suspicion first pointed at photographers before news that the couple's driver had drunk the equivalent of at least a bottle of wine.

"We condemn in the strongest terms" drunken driving in any circumstances, said Cole.

"I haven't come here to excuse the inexcusable. What we want to see is the fullest possible examination and investigation into all the circumstances and that is in everybody's interest," he told Sky television.

But he said Fayed was still taking legal advice to see if he had any case to press against the press photographers who dogged his son's last days.

"What went on there was quite unconscionable.

"You've got to remember that Mr Al Fayed had already asked his lawyers to see if there was anything to do in France to limit or stop if possible the press intrusion that had been going on for so long...

"He has asked his lawyers to redouble their efforts in order that there is a proper legal forum to find out the truth," Cole said.

"The French legal system doesn't try cases, it allegedly pursues the truth and it's the truth we want to find."

French prosecutors Tuesday opened a criminal inquiry against seven paparazzi on suspicion that they failed to assist victims of the car crash which killed Dodi, Diana and their driver.

A bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones -- a key witness -- was seriously injured but is expected to recover.

The inquiry specifically targets photographers and will seek to establish whether they took pictures rather than inform the police of the accident and help the victims, or hampered rescuers.

The seven, in custody since the crash, face investigating magistrate Herve Stephan, who must decide whether they should be formally put under investigation -- the French equivalent of bringing charges.

But Cole said Fayed also wanted to ensure Diana's death was properly marked and had ordered that a window in the Harrods store used to mark the death of King George VI, the Queen's father, should commemorate her.

Mohamed Fayed has repeatedly clashed with British authorities, who have refused his requests for a British passport and publicly attacked his business methods.

He contributed to the election defeat of the Conservative government in the May 1 election with allegations he had paid senior Conservatives to ask questions for him in parliament.

Dodi's family life had been touched repeatedly by tragedy. The family's eldest son, Dodi grew up in Egypt and was educated in Switzerland. His mother, Samira, was the sister of billionaire Adnan Kashoggi.

Both Samira, who separated from his father just months after Dodi's birth, and his grandmother died young. Samira's second husband died in a car crash as did his stepfather and an aunt.

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Car in Front, and Motorcycle Behind Diana Car, Were Working in Tandem

By Jocelyn Noveck, Sept. 9

PARIS (AP) -- Bernard Dartevelle, a lawyer for the Fayed family, said yesterday in Paris that two photos taken moments before the fatal crash shows the driver of Princess Diana's car, Henri Paul, dazzled by a camera flash.

The photos confirm other accounts that either a car or a motorcycle was in front of the Mercedes in which Diana and two others were killed. "One sees very distinctly the driver dazzled by a flash," Dartevelle said.

"One sees very distinctly the bodyguard Trevor Rees Jones, at his side, who with a brisk gesture lowers the visor to protect himself from the flash, and one sees very distinctly Princess Diana, turning to look behind the vehicle, and ones sees very distinctly the yellow headlight of a motorcycle." Dartevelle said the photos were taken from in front of the Mercedes.

"The photo taken before the first photo of the accident shows the Mercedes taken from very close." He added that witness accounts he has seen, indicate that a car was working in tamdem with a motorcycle -- trying to slow the Mercedes down, so the motorcycle could get even with it and snap photos. "A driver, who is maybe a photographer, and a motorcyclist, also perhaps a photographer, are very directly implicated in this accident," he said.

The film was seized by police at the crash site from one of the photographers named as suspects in the case. Darteville has access to it, because the Fayed family has joined a civil suit in the case.

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Mother of Diana's Driver Says Son Vilified

Thursday September 11 10:32 AM EDT
By Alister Doyle

PARIS (Reuter) - The mother of Princess Diana's driver complained on Thursday he was being unfairly vilified for the fatal accident in Paris and denied he was alcoholic or depressive.

The investigation focused on driver Henri Paul after tests showed he had taken an anti-depressant, another drug used to calm aggression and was three times over the legal drunken-drive limit -- a dangerous combination according to doctors.

"My son was not an alcoholic, he's now paying for the personalities that he was driving," Paul's mother Giselle told Le Figaro daily. Henri Paul died with Diana and her companion Dodi Al Fayed in the Aug. 31 crash by the Seine River.

"Can one imagine the Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed would have agreed to get into a car driven by a drunk?" she asked, adding: "Henri had the full confidence of his employer."

Paul's family had been avoiding the media since the crash.

She said the 41-year-old Paul was "not depressive and was getting along perfectly."

"I don't need to defend him. I wish any mother could have a son like him." She said that she had not even received an official death certificate. "Is this the way the people should be treated?"

In Washington, a spokesman for the Al Fayed family said on Wednesday that an independent autopsy was needed to confirm once and for all Paul's condition at the time. Three tests so far have shown he was three times over the drink drive limit.

Claude Garrec, who played tennis with Paul on Saturday morning hours before the fatal crash, said that they went for a drink after the game at midday in a Paris bar. "He drank only a cola light," he told Reuters.

"He didn't have the profile of an alcoholic or a depressive," Garrec said. "He always walked straight. I can't deny that he drank, but not so much that it was a problem."

Garrec said he and Paul played tennis every Saturday. "We were both average players," he said, adding he had no knowledge that Paul was taking anti-depressants or other medication.

On Wednesday night, a lawyer for the Al Fayed family admitted for the first time that driver Paul should not have been driving.

"Obviously Mr Paul should not have been at the wheel," lawyer Bernard Dartevelle told France 3 television. "But he was probably the only one to be aware of his real condition."

Al Fayed's lawyers have argued that a posse of photographers pursuing Diana's car on motorcycles share responsibility for the crash even if Paul was unfit to drive. Without them, they argue the high-speed chase would never have happened.

Nine photographers and a motorcyclist for a photo agency have been placed under investigation on suspicion of manslaughter and failing to help accident victims.

Their lawyers argue that the case against them collapses because Paul had drunk the equivalent of a bottle and a half of wine and had been taking a Prozac-like anti-depressant and a drug to calm aggressiveness and agitation.

The daily France-Soir said on Thursday that a driver on the same expressway by the Seine River said his car had been flashed by a speed camera 20 minutes before the accident, contradicting police insistence that there were no speed traps there.

Al Fayed's lawyers have suggested a camera flash might have temporarily blinded Paul. The tunnel comes after a long straight stretch, with the road bending left and dipping.

"I was flashed 20 minutes before Diana by a radar control at the entrance of the tunnel," the witness told France-Soir.

One witness, Francois Levi, has spoken of seeing a motorcycle swerve in front of Diana's Mercedes and seeing a flash go off just before the accident. Photographers have insisted they were far behind the speeding car.

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Diana Death Driver Was MI6 Spy

Henri Paul, the driver of the car in which Princess Diana died, has been exposed as a spy for MI6.

The sensational allegations were made by former British agent Richard Tomlinson. He told the French magistrate investigating the Princess's death a year ago this weekend that Paul, who also died when the Mercedes crashed in the Alma tunnel in Paris, was a regular on the payroll of British intelligence.

Since the crash there have been claims that MI6 was plotting to kill Diana. The link between Henri Paul and the British secret service was declared by renegade MI6 staff man Tomlinson in evidence to the French magistrate investigating Diana's death.

He also stated that Diana's crash mirrored an existing spy plot to assassinate a foreign leader.

The shock development came as news broke of a sick British photographer trying to peddle gruesome pictures of the dying Princess Diana for hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The greedy snapper, known only as Danny and based in London, has been trying to hawk 34 pictures of the Princess trapped and covered in blood, with others showing the bodies of Dodi and Henri Paul slumped alongside her.

Earlier, in a two-hour interview with French authorities, Tomlinson claimed that the British secret service had already drawn up a blueprint to murder Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic in Geneva in a "hit" disguised as a car crash.

He also produced evidence which he said proved that Henri Paul was a regular on the payroll of British intelligence.

As the deputy head of security at the Ritz hotel, Paul would have been able to provide information on VIPs at Mohammed Al Fayed's showpiece hotel.

Paul, who was three times over the drink-drive limit when he crashed, was probably paid a retainer for his secret reports.

After his death, police discovered that he had secret accounts containing more than £100,000 in 14 banks across France.

The opulent Ritz hotel is a magnet for international dignitaries, including power-brokers in the Arab world, and their movements are of intense interest to British intelligence.

Cambridge-educated Tomlinson, 35, a former SAS officer who was sacked from MI6 in 1995, also disclosed that one of Diana's two bodyguards was a secret service contact.

But he stressed that neither bodyguard was involved in any conspiracy over the death crash.

Tomlinson, now in hiding abroad, was jailed last year under the Official Secrets Act for trying to sell his memoirs.

He was released in April but a month ago was interrogated by the French secret service at the request of the British Government.

The Foreign Office has dismissed Tomlinson's claims as pure fantasy.

One security source said: "He feels aggrieved at the way he has been treated by MI6 - and this is his way of getting his own back."

But his views give substance to Mohamed Al Fayed's insistence that British security services played a part in Dodi and Diana's death.

He remains convinced that the crash was the result of a plot to end the deepening relationship between the mother of the future king and a Moslem. He has repeatedly pledged to establish the truth by his own means if he believes the outcome of the French inquiry is a whitewash.

The new claims come as the inquiry team await examinations that will pinpoint the speed at which the car was travelling.

Evidence relating to Henri Paul is also under scrutiny after it was discovered that the amount of carbon monoxide in his blood was much higher than normal.

This could have resulted in the driver losing consciousness due to lack of oxygen.

The sneak snapper trying to peddle his ghoulish pictures of the death crash didn't offer them for sale last year for fear of prosecution - and because no publisher would touch them at the time. Even now he dare not try to market his wares in Britain or France, where their publication would spark outrage.

He has shamelessly chosen the anniversary of Diana's death to demand more than £200,000 from European newspapers and magazines.

Among those approached was Germany's biggest selling tabloid, Bild Zeitung, which caused fury by publishing pictures of the mangled car the day after the crash.

But bosses at the paper, which sells four million copies a day, are refusing to touch them.

Bild's picture editor Winifred Belased said: "We were offered the pictures this week by a mystery man in London.

"But we will not publish these pictures under any circumstances. We have to be very sensitive. We used pictures of the Mercedes but we would not show anything which gave a clear view of the Princess inside."

Mystery cameraman Danny is offering the pictures with the help of a London agency which passes on his mobile phone number after vetting callers.

Danny carries the 34 pictures on two films in a briefcase and is demanding cash up front before handing them over.

He was one of the first photographers on the scene after the crash and fled when he heard police sirens heading towards the tunnel.

Minutes later six other photographers were arrested and their films confiscated.

Now, with a callous disregard for the feelings of Diana's two sons, William and Harry, Danny is hoping the tide of emotion has died down.

One picture shows the Princess slumped inside the car, unconscious and bleeding.

Others show the mangled bodies of Dodi, who was killed instantly, and Henri Paul, with the car's steering wheel embedded in his chest.

Bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones lies slumped in his seat, his smashed jaw and disfigured face clearly visible.

A source at Bild revealed Danny's caution bordered on paranoia when he tried to sell the pictures.

His nervousness stems from the knowledge that if he is identified he will become a marked man. "Any client would have to arrive with cash in hand and serious intention to buy before meeting at a secret location," said the source. "Only then would the pictures be produced.

"The London agent does not wish to be publicly associated with Danny because he is concerned about his company's reputation.

"But he expects a 20 per cent cut of the £200,000 he is demanding.

"Danny wants so much money because he wants to disappear for four or five years. "He and other photographers who were in the tunnel that night are running scared."

Danny was not the only photographer to evade arrest after the crash.

Two French cameramen were also able to rush back to their offices, develop their films and offer them for sale within hours.

Their pictures were hawked around the world with demands of up to $1 million from US magazines like the National Enquirer and The Globe.

Two French photographers who have pictures of Diana being taken to hospital are also known to be inviting bids.

Last night royal watcher Margaret Holder described attempts to sell pictures of the dying Princess as "disgusting."

She said: "These people are profiteering on the back of the misery of William, Harry and everybody who loved Diana.

"They are ghouls beneath contempt."

Mystery Man Says His Car Was Involved

P A R I S, Feb. 20 - A man who says he is the owner of a mysterious car involved in the Paris crash that killed Princess Diana is claiming the hefty reward offered for information, lawyers said on Saturday.

The lawyers for Mohamed Al Fayed, whose son Dodi died in the crash, said the man claimed his white Citroen AX was the car detectives have vainly been looking for for months. Investigators have concluded that Diana’s Mercedes S-280 brushed against a white Fiat Uno car just before the August 31, 1997 crash, sending the limousine skidding into a pillar in the tunnel under Alma square beside the river Seine.

Al Fayed has offered 10 million francs ($1.7 million) for any new information on the crash or the mysterious car. The wealthy Egyptian businessman has accused the British secret services of plotting to prevent his Moslem son from marrying the mother of Britain’s future king, Prince William.

Al Fayed’s lawyer Alain Dartevelle said the man, whom he declined to name, appeared to be more serious than others who claimed the reward and turned out to be jokers or swindlers.

"We are checking," he said.

He said the man claimed to have been a passenger in his own car. He said he vanished after the accident and did not testify because his car was uninsured and he was afraid of being fined.

"We have to be very cautious. It’s not the first time that someone claims to have information," a spokesman for lawyer Georges Kiejman said.

Citroen AXs are roughly the size of a Fiat Uno. But investigators have said that pieces of rear light covers found at the scene were definitely from a Fiat Uno.

The reward was offered in a quarter-page ad in the tabloid France-Soir earlier this month.

Conspiracy Theory Rejected

Investigating magistrate Herve Stephan ended his 17-month- long probe into the crash last month, giving all parties involved until this week to request further lines of investigation.

He has placed nine photographers and a photo agency motorcyclist under examination for manslaughter on suspicion that they contributed to the crash by chasing Diana’s car and then failed to give assistance to the victims.

The 10 have denied any responsibility for the crash. Investigators say they have uncovered no evidence to support the theory that Diana was the victim of a conspiracy.

They say driver Henri Paul, who also died in the crash, appears primarily to blame as he was driving at two to three times the legal speed limit and had a criminal level of alcohol in his blood when he lost control of the car.

The state prosecutor’s office, in a possible hint at the probe’s eventual conclusion, referred to the crash as an "accident."

Diana assasination exposed

Diana first Doctor

Diana killed by specialists

Diana Press Reports

Three more photographers detained

The People report

Diana was truly happy with Dodi

The Blood Test

Diana Finished Off

Interview With Diana


Diana Was Unconcious

Diana Doctors

Diana Pregnant?

Diana Under Surveillance


New Light

The Fiat Uno

Diana was killed by MI5

Henri Paul's Biography

Dianas last words

Man Arrested over Murder Claims

Medical Expert Opinions

Outtakes from BBC Diana Interview

Papparazi Reports

Diana's Engagement Ring


What Happened When

Diana was warned

Why Diana had to Die