Unsolved: Princess Diana


Born to nobility in the United Kingdom in 1961, Diana Spencer received the title of Lady Diana after her father inherited a new role in the nobility in 1975. After moving to London four years later, Diana became an elementary school teacher. In February 1981, it was announced to the world that she would be engaged to Prince Charles of Wales. Prince Charles was born to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in 1948 and served in the British armed forces before his engagement to Diana. A little fun fact: the pair met formally in 1977, when Charles was dating Diana’s sister. Having met only 13 times before the proposal, the Royals surely have some questionable history! The Royal Wedding was deemed “the wedding of the century” and watched by a total of 750 million people worldwide. 

After becoming Princess of Wales, Diana and Charles’ relationship seemed borderline perfect. Their children William, born in 1982, and Henry (Harry), born in 1984, often describe their mother as “very informal” and always finding joy in mundane things. Diana was a beloved public figure and a key part of the Royal Family’s influence. During her time as Princess of Wales, she became involved in philanthropy, becoming involved in more than 100 charities, focusing mainly on breaking the stigma around HIV and AIDS.

 However, the marriage between Diana and Charles was not as it seemed. In 1992, the world became aware of their marital discrepancies. It was exposed that Charles had been cheating on Diana with his ex, Camilla Parker Bowles, but Charles and Diana tried to stay professional in the public eye. By December of that year, Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch in history, gave the pair permission to divorce, per Charles’s request. In 1995, Diana gave a famous televised interview conducted by BBC, explaining, “there were 3 of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” Diana also stated, when asked if she would ever become Queen, saying, “I’d like to be a queen of people’s hearts…but I don’t see myself being Queen of this country.”

Diana continued to reign as a queen of people’s hearts up until 1997. Continuing to support charities and raise her children, Diana was as well-respected and loved by the world as ever. Unfortunately, on August 31, 1997, tragedy struck, with many conspiracies to follow.

On a trip to Paris with her new boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, the son of a billionaire and a renowned film producer, the two had dinner together at the Ritz-Carlton in the city center of Paris. Shortly after the clock struck midnight, in order to avoid the aggressive paparazzi (which was a daily occurrence for Diana) the two went out the back door of the hotel, into a different car – a bulletproof Mercedes. However, this attempt to get the paparazzi off their tails was unsuccessful. On their motorcycles, the paparazzi photographers were in a desperate attempt to catch a snap of Diana. 


After leaving, Diana’s driver, Henri Paul, took a route through the tunnel that ran next to the Seine River. In the tunnel, the vehicle spun out of control and crashed head-on into one of the many pillars, crumbling the car and killing both Paul and Fayed upon impact. Immediately following the crash, media reported the vehicle reaching a speed of 120 mph, according to the frozen-in-time speedometer but it was later said that the speed at impact was around 59-68 mph. Swarming the car, the previously in pursuit paparazzi capitalized on this opportunity, taking hundreds of photos and leaving the scene in even more chaos, some even being arrested. 

Diana was still alive an hour after the Mercedes came to a screeching halt. After being cut from the roof of the car, Diana went into cardiac arrest and was bleeding heavily. She was treated at the scene and later transferred to a hospital at 2 in the morning. By 4 in the morning, she was declared dead, and shock went around the world. Her funeral was viewed by 2.5 billion people, solidifying her place as the “people’s princess.” 25 years later, conspiracies still lurk around the mysterious aftermath of her death and her involvement in the Royal Family.

Just 10 months before her death, Diana writes a letter to her former butler, Paul Burrell, saying, “[X] is planning an accident in my car, brake failure and serious head injury in order to make the path clear for Charles to marry.” This led to the suspicion surrounding the Royals, specifically Diana’s ex-husband and his mistress, Camilla. In her famous BBC interview, Diana claims, “I don’t think people want me to be Queen… by many people, I mean the establishment I married into.” One conspiracy is that Charles tampered with the car in order to kill off Diana and allow himself to be with Camilla, due to the fact he wouldn’t have been allowed to marry her if Diana were still alive. While nothing has been proven surrounding a discrepancy with the vehicle, one suspicion in particular is that the tunnel’s cameras were not working the night of the crash, and were turned back on the day after. Along with the camera conspiracy, witnesses claim there was a bright flash right before the car collided with the tunnel, but British police claimed this never occurred. Another conflict with the cause of the crash is that Henri Paul had been drunk driving, possibly causing his high speeds. According to Parisian prosecutors, his blood-alcohol level was upwards of three times the legal limit. However, witnesses and those who knew him, claim he was often sober and this level of drunkenness was completely out of character. Another conspiracy theory surrounding Paul was that he had been paid off to crash and kill Diana and Dodi, thereby killing himself. However it has been proven that his funds at the time of his death had not been sanctioned by any security service in Britain, France, or the United States. Finally, the transport time to the hospital created suspicions, but it was ultimately concluded that the nearest hospital was unable to treat Diana’s extensive injuries.

While people often blame the Royal Family for her premature death, certain suspicious factors of the crash have been disproven over time, deeming Prince Charles as not at fault. In light of Queen Elizabeth’s death this month, widespread mourning of Princess Diana has also ensued, because if she and Charles had never divorced, she would now have a chance to be Queen. As Princess Diana said, “someone’s got to go out there and love people”, which is a legacy she has left with her two sons and the rest of the world.