Death of Diana, Princess of Wales
On 31 August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, died as a result of injuries sustained in a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris, France. Her companion, Dodi Fayed, and the driver of the Mercedes S280, Henri Paul, were pronounced dead at the scene. A fourth passenger in the car, bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, was seriously injured but survived. Although the media blamed the behaviour of the paparazzi who followed the car, a French judicial investigation in 1999 found that the crash was caused by Henri Paul, who lost control of the Mercedes at high speed while he was intoxicated and under the effects of prescription drugs. Paul was the deputy head of security at the Hôtel Ritz at the time of the crash and had goaded the paparazzi waiting outside the hotel earlier. His inebriation may have been made worse by anti-depressants and traces of an anti-psychotic in his body. The investigation concluded that the photographers were not near the Mercedes when it crashed. After hearing evidence at the British inquest in 2008, a jury returned to a verdict of "unlawful killing" by Paul and the paparazzi pursuing the car. Diana's death caused a substantial outpouring of worldwide grief, including numerous floral tributes and her funeral was watched by an estimated 2.5 billion people. The Royal Family were criticised in the press for their reaction to Diana's death.
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