August 31, 1997 – Britain Wakes To The News: Diana, Princess Of Wales
August 31, 1997 – Twenty years ago, Britain woke to the news that Princess Diana, along with her companion Dodi Fayad as well as the driver of their Mercedes, had been killed in an accident in Paris. As had been an almost routine situation, Diana was being dogged by Paparazzi; photographers who chased after her, hoping for that million dollar photo to splash over every Supermarket tabloid in the world. Only this time it got out of hand. In the ensuing chase, the Mercedes spun out of control, crashing into a wall at the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel in Paris. The crash killed the driver and Dodi Fayad, Diana was rushed to the hospital where she later died from her injuries. The only survivor was bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones who had sustained a concussion and serious facial injuries.
News of her death quickly spread. A few people in London heard about it. But it wasn’t until the morning that the full extent of the tragedy was known. At the time of this newscast (7:00 am GMT), people began a pilgrimage to Kensington Palace, Diana’s home in London, where flowers, cards and notes of sympathy began to fill the entrance.
As the day progressed, all regular programs from the BBC were cancelled as reports, tributes and details of the crash poured in and reactions from across the world were delivered. It was a shocking event, as Diana was regarded as the most popular among the Royal family, and the Queen as well as former husband Prince Charles struggled to appropriately address the tragedy.
There was a lot of other news that day, including the latest in the saga of Bosnia, but it was all put on hold, at least for a while, as news of Diana, popularly known as The Queen Of Hearts, sank in.