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Sunday, September 1, 2019

(TIME warp) The Day when the People Lost its Princess!

On August 31st was the 22st anniversary when Diana, Princess of Wales died as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris, France. Her companion, Dodi Fayed, and the driver of the Mercedes-Benz W140, Henri Paul, were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The bodyguard of Diana and Dodi, Trevor Rees-Jones, was the only survivor. Although at first the media pinned the blame on the paparazzi, the crash was ultimately found to be caused by the reckless actions of the chauffeur, who was the head of security at the Ritz and had earlier goaded the paparazzi waiting outside the hotel. An 18-month French judicial investigation concluded in 1999 that the crash was caused by Paul, who lost control of the car at high speed while drunk. His inebriation may have been made worse by the simultaneous presence of an anti-depressant and traces of a tranqulizing anti-psychotic in his body.




Since February 1998, Dodi's father, Mohamed Al-Fayed (the owner of the Hôtel Ritz, for which Paul worked) claimed that the crash was a result of a conspiracy, and later contended that the crash was orchestrated by MI6 on the instructions of the Royal Family. His claims that the crash was a result of a conspiracy were dismissed by a French judicial investigation and by Operation Paget, a Metropolitan police inquiry that concluded in 2006. An inquest headed by Lord Justice Scott Baker into the deaths of Diana and Dodi began at the Royal Courts of Justice, London, on October 2, 2007 and was a continuation of the original inquest that began in 2004. 

On  April  7, 2008, the jury released an official statement that Diana and Dodi were unlawfully killed by the "grossly negligent driving of the following vehicles and of the Mercedes" adding that additional factors were "the impairment of the judgment of the driver of the Mercedes through alcohol" and "the death of the deceased was caused or contributed to by the fact that the deceased was not wearing a seat-belt, the fact that the Mercedes struck the pillar in the Alma Tunnel, rather than colliding with something else".

Diana's death was met with extraordinary public expressions of grief, and her public funeral at Westminster Abbey on 6 September drew an estimated 3 million mourners and onlookers in London, as well as worldwide television coverage watched by 2.5 billion people, overshadowing the news of the death the previous day of Mother Teresa.

Diana's death occurred at a time when internet use in the developed world was booming, and several national newspapers and at least one British regional newspaper had already launched online news services. BBC News had set up online coverage of the general election earlier in 1997 and as a result of the widespread public and media attention that Diana's death resulted in, BBC News swiftly created a website featuring news coverage of Diana's death and the events that followed it. Diana's death helped BBC News officials realize how important online news services were becoming, and a full online news service was launched on November 4 that year.

SOURCE: Wiki

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