The tragic events of Princess Diana’s death on August 31, 1997, continue to be a point of interest, especially as depicted in the recent episodes of The Crown. The circumstances surrounding the car crash in Paris, which resulted in the deaths of Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed, and driver Henri Paul, are well-documented.
While leaving the Hôtel Ritz Paris, the group was pursued by paparazzi photographers. At a high speed in the Pont de l’Alma underpass, the driver lost control of the vehicle, colliding with a concrete pillar. Henri Paul and Dodi Fayed were pronounced dead at the scene, while Princess Diana was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to her injuries later that morning.
The paparazzi’s behavior during and after the crash was disturbing. They took photos of the passengers while driving and continued to snap pictures even in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, surrounding the wrecked vehicle and its victims. Several photographers were arrested at the scene, and their films were seized by the French police.
Some of the paparazzi faced legal action, with nine initially charged with manslaughter. However, the charges were later dropped, and only three were convicted of invasion of privacy for taking photos of the victims. These images, showing the immediate aftermath of the crash, were previously unseen until released by the coroner in 2007. The publication of such sensitive photos has sparked controversy, prompting a plea from Princes William and Harry to respect their mother’s memory and spare the family further pain.
While some photos were published, others, particularly those depicting the victims inside the car, remain unreleased. Former paparazzo Darryn Lyons’ company Big Pictures purchased these images with the intention of preventing their publication. Lyons described Diana as looking serene, while Dodi’s images were deemed too graphic for printing.
Despite ongoing interest from some media outlets, Lyons has refused to sell the photos, ensuring that they remain hidden from public view. The potential release of such distressing images continues to raise ethical concerns and is a sensitive topic for those impacted by the tragedy. Many argue that these images should remain inaccessible to respect the dignity and memory of those involved.