Diana, Princess of Wales (1961–1997), died in the early morning hours of August 31, 1997, in Paris, France, following a car accident that also killed two others in the vehicle. She was 36 years old.
Diana Frances Spencer was born on July 1, 1961. She became Lady Diana Spencer in 1975, after her father inherited his earldom. In 1981, she married Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, and they had two sons together, princes William and Harry. The couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996.
After the divorce, Diana retained the title of Princess of Wales and was still seen as part of the royal family. Often called the “People’s Princess,” Diana was known for her many charitable and humanitarian causes, as well as for being a popular celebrity and global icon.
Just after midnight on August 31, 1997, Princess Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed left the restaurant of the Hotel Ritz in Paris. Also in the car were driver Henri Paul and bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones.
Chased by the paparazzi and exceeding the speed limit, the car entered the Pont de l’Alma tunnel. There, Paul lost control of the car, and it hit the tunnel wall before also colliding with a pillar. Paul and Fayed died at the scene, while Rees-Jones sustained serious injuries. Diana initially survived the crash and was rushed to the hospital, but she passed away from her injuries several hours later.
Aftermath & Funeral
Princess Diana had been an incredibly popular public figure, and her sudden death shocked the British nation and the world.
On September 5, Queen Elizabeth II gave a televised speech in response to Princess Diana’s death. The funeral was held at Westminster Abbey on September 6, and the broadcasted event had an estimated audience of 2.5 billion people worldwide. Following the funeral, Diana was interred in a private ceremony at her family’s estate in Northamptonshire, England.
Investigations & Inquests
A French investigation into the crash determined in 1999 that it was the fault of driver Henri Paul, who had been driving at high speed while intoxicated. An inquiry by British police concluded in 2006 with much the same result. In 2008, a British inquest jury ruled the death an accident (contradicting conspiracy theories) but placed responsibility on both Paul and the paparazzi for what it deemed an “unlawful killing” by negligent driving.
Learn more about the Death of Princess Diana through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.
Articles and Clippings about the Death of Princess Diana
Sunday Mirror front page from August 31, 1997, covering Princess Diana's death 31 Aug 1997, Sun Sunday Mirror (London, London, England) Newspapers.comTimes Colonist newspaper headlines from day of Princess Diana's death, August 31, 1997 31 Aug 1997, Sun Times Colonist (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) Newspapers.comHonolulu Advertiser newspaper reports on death of Princess Diana on August 31, 1997 31 Aug 1997, Sun The Honolulu Advertiser (Honolulu, Hawaii) Newspapers.comSydney Morning Herald front-page coverage of the death of Princess Diana 01 Sep 1997, Mon The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) Newspapers.comNewspaper headlines from the day after her death report that the "World mourns Diana" 01 Sep 1997, Mon The Record (Hackensack, New Jersey) Newspapers.comThe body of Diana, the "people's princess," is returned to England following her death 01 Sep 1997, Mon The Independent (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.comSummary of "What the world's Press had to say" about Princess Diana's death in a car crash 01 Sep 1997, Mon Evening Standard (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.comPrincess Diana's driver found to have been intoxicated & speeding; Funeral to be held on Saturday 02 Sep 1997, Tue The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina) Newspapers.comTimeline and diagram of the car crash that killed Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed, and Henri Paul 02 Sep 1997, Tue The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) Newspapers.com"Judge orders probe into role of photographers in Diana's crash" 03 Sep 1997, Wed The Vancouver Sun (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) Newspapers.comPrincess Diana's funeral will be shown on "giant screens" in London's Hyde Park 03 Sep 1997, Wed Evening Standard (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.comBritish prime minister Tony Blair "defends stoical royals" following death of Princess Diana 04 Sep 1997, Thu The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.com"Diana's funeral route tripled as 6 million expected to line streets" 04 Sep 1997, Thu The Vancouver Sun (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) Newspapers.comText of Queen Elizabeth II’s speech from Buckingham Palace honoring Princess Diana 06 Sep 1997, Sat Statesman Journal (Salem, Oregon) Newspapers.comTimeline and map of plans for the funeral of Princess Diana on September 6, 1997 06 Sep 1997, Sat The Age (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) Newspapers.comBritish newspaper coverage of Princess Diana's funeral on September 6, 1997 06 Sep 1997, Sat Evening Standard (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.comFull-page front-page photo from Canadian newspaper coverage of Princess Diana's funeral 07 Sep 1997, Sun The Province (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) Newspapers.comAustralian front-page newspaper coverage of Princess Diana's funeral 07 Sep 1997, Sun The Age (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) Newspapers.comExample of American newspaper coverage of Princess Diana's funeral 07 Sep 1997, Sun The Modesto Bee (Modesto, California) Newspapers.comText of eulogy given by the Earl of Spencer, Princess Diana's brother, at her funeral 07 Sep 1997, Sun Times Colonist (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) Newspapers.comElton John performs revised "Candle in the Wind" at funeral for Princess Diana 07 Sep 1997, Sun Sunday Mirror (London, London, England) Newspapers.comPhoto of Earl of Spencer, princes William and Harry, and Prince Charles at Princess Diana's funeral 07 Sep 1997, Sun Times Colonist (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) Newspapers.comNewspaper article with results of French investigation into car crash that killed Princess Diana 03 Sep 1999, Fri Evening Standard (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.comNewspaper in 2006 reports on the results of the British police inquiry into death of Princess Diana 15 Dec 2006, Fri The Independent (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.comInquest jury rules in 2008 that driver & paparazzi are responsible for "unlawful killing" of Diana 07 Apr 2008, Mon Evening Standard (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.com
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