On this day in auto history - August 31st

Tue 31st Aug 2021

It was on this day in 1997 that the world was waking up to the shocking news that Diana, Princess of Wales had died following the result of her injuries sustained in an early-morning car crash in a Paris.

The English icon - only recently divorced from Prince Charles - was killed along with her partner Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul after their Mercedes S280 collided with a pillar in the Pont de L’Amal tunnel at high speed in an attempt to flee hounding paparazzi. A fourth passenger, Diana’s bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, was seriously injured but survived.

Diana’s death caused a substantial outpouring of worldwide grief, including numerous floral tributes on an unprecedented scale, and her funeral was watched by an estimated 2 billion people.

Though many conspiracy theories have continued to rage since the accident - including, most notably from Dodi Fayed’s father, Mohammed Al-Fayed, who claimed the crash was orchestrated by MI6 and the Royal Family itself - a 2008 British inquest returned a verdict of 'unlawful killing’ by the driver Paul who was found to be three times over the drink-drive limit.