Date posted: 9-24-11
Diana and the Paparazzi: A Morality Tale
By Roger Cohen
Published: September 6, 1997
PARIS, FRANCE Sept. 5th --Throughout the summer, Diana, Princess of Wales, and the photographers who pursued
her were bound in a dance of attraction and repulsion that reached the deadly limit of its contradictions on the last
day of her life.
From St.-Tropez to Sardinia to the last fatal visit to Paris -- the predictable summer haunts of the rich and famous --
the dance had gone on, ever more tense and confused. By the time Diana reached a Paris apartment of her
companion Dodi Fayed last Saturday, and found the paparazzi awaiting her there, the couple had clearly had enough.
Yet just a few weeks earlier -- after the lavish 50th birthday party offered by her former husband, Prince Charles, for
his girlfriend Camilla Parker Bowles on July 18 -- Diana had not been averse to using photographers to carry the
message that she, too, had put a loveless marriage behind her.
''It was clear enough to all of us that she wanted to show the British establishment she was free,'' said Frederic Garcia,
a photographer for the Angeli agency who spent the summer Diana-watching in St.-Tropez. ''She knew we were there,
and she did not avoid us. We were the means she chose to make her union with Dodi official.''
The resulting photographs -- of Diana swimming, of the couple strolling in St.-Tropez, of Mr. Fayed's hand on Diana's
backside as they embrace aboard a boat -- amounted, for Paris Match, to ''the image of the summer of 1997.'' The
magazine declared in mid-August, ''The most photographed woman in the world is in love, and Dodi may soon slip a
diamond as big as the Ritz on her finger.''
Mr. Fayed did indeed give Diana a $205,400 diamond solitaire ring, and he did so at the Ritz Hotel just hours before
they were killed in a car crash early Sunday. But by then, with Mr. Fayed's anger mounting, the relationship between
the photographers and the couple that had seemed at times to exist in July had degenerated.
''What that ring meant, we shall probably never know,'' Michael Cole, a Fayed family spokesman, said today. Nor,
perhaps, will the exact circumstances of Diana's death ever be known, so clouded is it in contradictory accounts and
What is clear is that the Princess's death is a modern morality tale. For countless magazines, she was the
consummate image of a highly saleable fantasy of romance and royalty and rebellion. Some believe that it was the
paparazzi recklessly pursuing that image who drove Diana to her death.
Others have a more banal conviction: that she and Mr. Fayed, flying too close to the sun, belatedly flailing against the
photographers who had announced their romance to the world just weeks earlier, were taken to their deaths in a Paris
tunnel by a hopelessly drunken driver.
The Last Day
Growing Annoyance With Photographers
It was far from Paris, on a yacht anchored off the coast of Sardinia, that the couple's last day began. From beginning
to end, their exasperation -- particularly that of Mr. Fayed -- with the photographers was clearly mounting.
Swimming beside the boat that morning, at the end of a weeklong vacation, the couple were photographed. There
was, according to the Fayed family, an altercation with Italian photographers who approached on a speedboat and
asked them to pose.
Then, on arriving later at Le Bourget airport near Paris at 3:20 P.M. aboard a private jet from Olbia, Sardinia, they
found more photographers waiting for them. On motorbikes, the photographers pursued them into town. A spokesman
for the Fayed family said today that Diana had expressed concern that one of the bikers might get killed, so recklessly
were they driving.
''It's remarkable that in Paris, they were photographed all day,'' said Bernard Dartevelle, a lawyer for the Fayed family.
''From pictures confiscated by the police, you can see that they were followed constantly, that security guards had to
intervene, that Diana was trying to avoid the camera, and that Dodi was annoyed.''
One of the first Paris photographs shows the couple disembarking from the plane and Henri Paul, the assistant chief
of security at the Ritz, awaiting them. He drove them to Mr. Fayed's apartment in the Rue Arsene Houssaye, less than
a block from the Arc de Triomphe. Outside the apartment, shortly after 4 P.M., were several paparazzi.
The photographers' lenses amounted to a reminder of what, for Diana, had been a particularly hectic summer. She
had posed for the cover of the July issue of Vanity Fair. The accompanying article drew an elaborate parallel between
her decision to sell much of her royal wardrobe at Christie's on June 25 and the decision to embark on a new and far
less fettered life.
Then, on July 22, there she was in the Cathedral in Milan, comforting arm thrown around a tearful Elton John, at the
memorial service for the slain Italian fashion designer, her friend Gianni Versace.
A month later, on Aug. 27, the image was again of Diana-as-comforter, but this time it was a child in her arms, a
cancer-ridden Pakistani child, used by the French daily Le Monde to illustrate what turned out to be the last interview
The interview was essentially about images -- the use of them in the modern world -- and Diana had chosen this
photograph from February 1996 as a favorite. In the photograph, the child's blind upward gaze, the Princess's hand
clasping his hand and Diana's expression of intense compassion are fused in a fresco of charity and comfort.
''Being permanently in the public eye gives me a special responsibility,'' Diana said. ''Notably that of using the impact
of photographs to get a message across, a message about an important cause or certain values. If I had to define my
role, I would say that I was a messenger.''
A Strained Bond
Finally Avoiding The Paparazzi
So, it seems, the Diana who found herself in Dodi Fayed's apartment off the Champs-Elysees on the last day of her
life was a woman linked by her own design and desire to the photographers able to get her message across. The
bond was often strained, occasionally violent, but it seems it was essential to Diana's role as she conceived it.
As relayed through photographs in recent months, Diana's role had been a seductive mixture of charitable envoy to
the world's underprivileged and sick, member of the world's fashion elite, estranged but reborn escapee from an
insufferably formal British monarchy, and, finally, woman-in-love on the Cote d'Azur.
In the delivery of this last ''message,'' however, the relationship between Diana, Mr. Fayed and the paparazzi had
gradually grown more frayed. Mr. Garcia, the photographer who was sent to the Fayed villa near St.-Tropez in mid-
July, said Diana had initially been quite happy to oblige photographers.
Three times, on separate occasions, she went out to the sea front and jumped off a small pier into the water, with
photographers around her. Then, after leaving for 10 days with Mr. Fayed on the boat trip during which the
photographs of the embracing couple were taken, she returned. Again, Mr. Garcia said, she seemed to have no
objection to being photographed. ''Look,'' he said, ''she chose St.-Tropez, hardly a place to hide in the summer. She
even came back there after the boat trip. She wanted us to take those photographs. And everyone wanted them
because the fact is that magazines knew a photo of Diana sold better than one of Algerian massacres.''
But once the photographs of the romance appeared in the British press on Aug. 10, the situation appears to have
changed. Initially, Mr. Fayed's father, Mohamed al-Fayed, an Egyptian-born businessman who owns Harrods and has
been angered by Britain's refusal to grant him British nationality, seemed pleased enough, flashing a victory sign to
photographers as he approached his property by boat.
On Aug. 13 Mr. Dartevelle, the Paris lawyer for the Fayed family, said he sent formal warning to several magazines
about the publications of intrusive photographs.
French privacy laws are among the strictest in Europe, prohibiting newspapers from ''intruding on the private life of
any person,'' publishing unauthorized photographs or ''publicizing the real or imaginary liaisons of anybody.''
On Aug. 23, after two helicopters had flown over the Fayed villa and yacht in St.-Tropez, Dodi al-Fayed complained to
the local authorities through his lawyer. He was, Mr. Dartevelle said, worried by the flights skimming just above the
villa. The police said the flights were illegal, and on Aug. 26, four days before the couple's visit to Paris, Mr. Dartevelle
filed a formal complaint.
''Dodi was getting very worried because he found that the photographers were becoming very aggressive,'' Mr.
The Last Evening
Going Back To the Ritz
It was in this mood, it seems, that the couple arrived in Paris: Diana, about to return to her children and determined to
avoid the paparazzi, and an increasingly irascible Mr. Fayed perhaps ready to confront them.
The couple initially spent about an hour at the apartment near the Arc de Triomphe. Here, Mr. Fayed's father,
Mohamed, later found a pair of cuff links that belonged to Diana's late father and a gold cigar clipper with a tag
inscribed ''With love from Diana,'' the Fayed family said today.
Michael Cole, a spokesman for the elder Mr. Fayed, said the cuff links were ''the last gift Diana received from her late
father.'' He added that Diana had given them to Mr. Fayed because she knew it would give her father special joy to
know they were ''in such safe and special hands.'' It was not clear how Mr. Cole was aware of this sentiment.
In the late afternoon, the couple went shopping on the Champs-Elysees, where they were followed by photographers
and chaperoned by Mr. Paul. ''They were being harassed all the time,'' Mr. Cole said.
Then, at about 6:30 P.M., they went to the Ritz Hotel, where the Imperial Suite was made available to them.
An hour later, at 7:30 P.M., they left the Ritz, apparently with no intention of returning there that evening. It was at this
time that Mr. Paul was allowed to leave and told that his day was over, officials close to the hotel said.
The couple's intention, Mr. Dartevelle said, had been to go to the fashionable Paris bistro Chez Benoit. But such was
the crowd surrounding them when they left the Ritz that this quickly appeared impractical.
After returning to the apartment, they decided instead to go back to the Ritz for dinner. According to film from security
cameras at the hotel, released today by the Fayed family, they entered the hotel at 9:52 P.M.
It is clear that the couple spent all or part of their time at the Ritz in privacy, though it is not clear whether they did so
in the Imperial Suite or a salon. It is at this time that Mr. Fayed offered the predicted ''diamond as big as the Ritz'' to
Diana. It had been bought at the Respossi Jewelers, on the Place Vendome, opposite the Ritz.
The Car Crash
Was Drunkenness Or a Chase to Blame?
With photographers gathered outside the hotel, and the couple inside, the hotel management decided to call back Mr.
Paul, who had worked at the hotel for 11 years. A former captain in the French Army, he appears to have been
viewed by some in the hotel as a pillar of reliability and by others as a swaggering tough guy with a weakness for
alcohol and a Rambo-like machismo.
''If Mr. Paul had ever betrayed a taste for drink, he would have been summarily fired,'' Mr. Cole said. ''He was
It is not clear whether Mr. Paul was at his apartment -- a fifth-floor walk-up on the Rue des Petits Champs -- or was
reached on a cellular phone. He was not, according to a waitress, at the Bar de Bourgogne next to his home, where
he often ate but only rarely took a drink. What is clear is that he would have spent more than two hours of a Saturday
evening convinced that his work was over, before returning to the Ritz shortly after 10.
If he was indeed extremely drunk at the time of the crash that killed Diana and Mr. Fayed -- and the French police
have put the alcohol in his blood at a level that equates roughly to the consumption of a bottle-and-a-half of wine --
then it appears that he must have begun drinking during those two hours.
The Fayed family insists that Mr. Paul showed no signs of drunkenness on his return and spent the next two hours
without drinking in the company of British and French security agents. Today the film released by the family showed
him talking to other security agents.
Mr. Fayed himself made the decision to leave from the back of the Ritz with Mr. Paul so as to avoid the dozens of
photographers gathered in front, Mr. Cole said. Film released today shows the couple waiting at the back entrance for
a car to arrive. Mr. Fayed has an arm around Diana.
The film -- jumpy and hazy -- then shows the couple leaving from the back door of the Ritz in the Rue Cambon,
making their way toward a waiting Mercedes S-280 sedan, and driving off. Mr. Paul, the driver, accompanies them, as
does a security agent, Trevor Rees-Jones, who take the seat beside Mr. Paul in the front. The time was 12.20 A.M.
In the film, there do not appear to be any paparazzi at the back entrance. But a commentator said a Ritz guard had
seen somebody nearby with a portable telephone who may have tipped off the photographers.
In any event, it is clear that by the time the car reached the nearby Place de la Concorde, several photographers had
caught up with the couple. Among them was Romuald Rat of the Gamma agency, who was on a motorbike driven by a
colleague, Stephane Darmon.
Mr. Rat said that before a traffic light at the southwest corner of the square turned green, Mr. Paul gunned the car
and it veered westward into the straight, four-lane Cours la Reine, running alongside the River Seine. ''We decided
not to try to catch up with them,'' Mr. Rat said. ''It was impossible.''
What was happening inside the speeding car is not known. The French police today declined to say if autopsies were
performed on Mr. Fayed and Diana. It is therefore impossible to know if either of them had been drinking.
In what some British coroners have described as an unusual procedure, Mr. Fayed's body was immediately taken
back to London for burial after the crash, without any post-mortem in Britain.
Mr. Rat's account is, in essence, that of all the photographers, seven of whom were arrested by the police in the
aftermath of the accident and three of whom later turned themselves in: The Mercedes roared away ahead of them
and was alone as it entered the tunnel under the intersection at the Alma bridge.
''Are we the guilty one, or is the Ritz?'' Nikola Arsov of the Sipa photographic agency asked today. ''How could they let
a driver who was drunk get behind the wheel of a car carrying the Princess, or anybody else?'' Like Mr. Rat, Mr. Arsov
was detained by the police.
Another, radically different account -- that of the Fayed family and some witnesses who have talked to the police --
holds that at least one photographer on a motorbike was next to the car as it entered the tunnel, and so forced Mr.
Paul into a maneuver that proved fatal. In this way, the family contends, the paparazzi almost literally killed the
Princess and her companion.
Mr. Dartevelle, the lawyer, said today that he had several witnesses for this version of events. One of the them,
Francois Levy, a unemployed maritime pilot from Rouen, said he had been driving through the tunnel ahead of the
Mercedes at a speed of about 140 kilometers per hour, or 84 miles per hour.
''I was halfway though when I saw a convoy enter and was on the way up out of the tunnel when I saw the motorcycle
to the left of the Mercedes accelerate,'' he said. ''It made a fishtail maneuver across the front of the Mercedes, and at
that point it looked as if a flashbulb went off. Then I saw the Mercedes veer to the left, to the right, and to the left
again, and I heard a big noise.''
Whatever the truth, it was in the tunnel, just after the road dips and veers left, that the car crashed into the 13th of a
line of columns dividing the two sides of the highway, spun around and hit the opposite wall.
Mr. Paul and Mr. Fayed were killed. Diana died later in a hospital. Mr. Rees-Jones, severely hurt, survived, but has
not yet been able to talk; he was, the police said, the only one wearing a seat belt.
Mr. Rat said he reached the scene about a minute after the accident. He heard what he thought was a siren -- Mr.
Paul's body slumped against the car horn. The impact had pushed the motor and the steering column back into the
The photographer ran to the car, took some pictures and tried to help, he said. He opened the right rear door, on
Diana's side, and tried to see if she was alive. ''I said in English to stay calm, that I was there, that help would arrive,''
Police officers, firemen, a doctor and other onlookers arrived very soon afterward. Diana was rushed to a hospital, but
it was too late to save her; she was suffering from heavy internal bleeding. At the crash site, photographers said, the
situation seemed ''normal'' for some time -- the police keeping order, firemen cutting the victims loose, ambulances
taking them away, and photographers, behind a makeshift barrier, taking pictures.
Several photographers left before the mood turned uglier and the police detained seven photographers, later formally
placing them under investigation for being criminally responsible for provoking the crash and failing to provide
assistance at the scene of an accident.
Photographers and their lawyers have vehemently rejected those charges. Today, the Fayed family suggested that
the police might have been wrong in finding that Mr. Paul had a blood alcohol level between 1.75 and 1.87 grams per
liter -- more than three times the French legal limit -- at the time of the accident.
The blood samples might have been tainted if Mr. Paul's stomach had ruptured and the samples were taken from the
wrong place, doctors close to the Fayed family said. Mr. Paul's scheduled burial Saturday has been delayed,
apparently to allow for more blood tests.
Mr. Paul's parents have declared themselves plaintiffs in one of the several judicial cases now surrounding the
accident. So, too, have Diana's kin. The cases may drag on for years. The fog around the death of ''the people's
princess'' is thickening, image and reality ever more difficult to disentangle.
''Nobody can dictate my behavior,'' Diana said in her last interview with Le Monde. ''I work through instinct, and instinct
is my best counselor.''
Photos: 00:19:23 A.M. -- Dodi Fayed put his arm around Diana at the Ritz early Sunday as they talked with Henri Paul,
who was to drive their car. (Associated Press); 9:50:35 P.M. -- Diana, Princess of Wales, entered the Ritz in Paris
before dinner on Saturday, as seen in security video footage. (Reuters); 00:19:55 A.M. -- Seconds later, Diana, back
to camera, left the Ritz to enter Mr. Fayed's Mercedes. Shortly afterward, it crashed in a Paris tunnel. (Associated
Press)(pg. 1); Diana leaving Dodi Fayed's home to go to the Ritz on Saturday night. Man with back to camera is Mr.
Fayed's bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones. (Big Pictures); Diana rode a personal watercraft, with her son Prince Harry
steering, in July at St.-Tropez on the French Riviera. The Princess spent a particularly hectic summer, often under the
watch of photographers. (Associated Press)(pg. 7) Chart: ''The Final Hours, the Fatal Crash'' 3:20 P.M. -- Princess
Diana and Emad Mohamed al-Fayed arrive at Le Bourget airport (1) in Paris on a private jet from Sardinia. They are
met by Henri Paul, the assistant security director of the Ritz Hotel, owned by Mr. Fayed's father. 4 P.M. -- Arriving at
Mr. Fayed's apartment (2), just off the Place de l'Etoile, they find photographers waiting. Late afternoon -- They go
shopping on the Champs-Elysees (3), driven by Mr. Paul. 6:30 P.M. -- They arrive at the Ritz Hotel (4) on the Place
Vendome, where a suite is provided. 7:30 P.M. -- Mr. Paul is told he can go home and won't be needed again that
day. With a different driver, Diana and Mr. Fayed leave the Ritz to return to the apartment. 9:52 P.M. -- The couple
return to the Ritz for dinner in their suite. Mr. Paul is summoned back to the hotel. 11:40 P.M. -- They decide to leave
for a villa rented by the elder Fayed in the Bois de Boulogne and are told there are 30 photographers out front. A
decision is made to use the regular driver as a decoy and leave with Mr. Paul from the back of the hotel. 12:20 A.M. --
The car containing Diana, Mr. Fayed, Mr. Paul and a bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, leaves the back entrance of the
hotel. 12:35 A.M. -- The car crashes where Cours la Reine, an expressway, passes under Place de l'Alma (5), killing
Mr. Fayed and Mr. Paul instantly. 2 A.M. -- The ambulance carrying Diana arrives at Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital
4 A.M. -- Diana is pronounced dead.
5:45 A.M. -- Announcement of her death by the French Interior Minister .
Date posted: 9-25-11
William & Kate Opening a Children's Cancer Center
By Simon Perry
Monday September 19, 2011 09:55 AM EDT
William and Catherine
Prince William is introducing his wife to a charity close to his heart.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will open a children's cancer center at the Royal Marsden Hospital later this
month. William, 29, has followed in his mother, Princess Diana's footsteps by taking on the role of president of the
The royal couple's office announced on Monday that they will visit the center on Sept. 29, where they will be given a
tour of the unit, meet the staff and patients, and William will unveil a plaque to officially open the center.
The opening is part of Kate's ongoing immersion in royal charity work. "The Duchess is using the next few months to
get to get to know a number of charitable and other causes better, so she can make well informed decisions about her
future role," says a spokesman.
Palace sources have also confirmed to PEOPLE that Kate, 29, is currently undergoing quiet, private visits to charities
to figure out what sorts of causes she will pursue. "The Duchess has a broad range of interests," adds the
spokesman. And the causes she chooses to work with, "will be different to but complement her husband’s existing
William and Kate have been spending most of their time in North Wales where he is hoping to reach the rank of
captain in his Royal Air Force Search and Rescue squadron. The newlyweds also visited the Balmoral estate,
spending time with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip over the weekend of September 11.
Thank you very much for sending this to me, as you see I have indeed requested that it appear on my site as
it is wonderful news and yes makes me extremely proud. Both Wills and, of course, Harry have continued in making
charity work a priority of theirs and naturally Catherine will support her husband in this but I do sense she being a
people person will soon be seen instrumentally being the Official Patron of charities of her own choice and I think
perhaps one might well be sports orientated and possibly involving handicapped sports people being publicly supported
With love from,
Date posted: 9-26-11
September 24th 2011
H.R.H. Prince William has given an extremely candid interview in which he states " I'm not ready to be a full time
royal ! " William tells how he was not allowed to choose what he wore for his marriage to Catherine Middleton. A
commissioned officer in all three military services and a serving member of the Royal Air Force it seemed he had
numerous choices of apparel but he didn't ! The Queen his grandmother decided what he wore and having just
appointed him to being Colonel of the Irish Guards and his most senior appointment to date and one of the Queen's
personal regiments, the order was that he marry on April 29th 2011 in his Irish Guards uniform. He could hardly have
refused to obey the ruling imposed upon him by his Commander - in - Chief !
He tells that for him first she is grandmother and then Queen and in this she has personally agreed which he is
extremely grateful for and considers himself very fortunate to have her and his father H.R.H. The Prince of Wales to
consult about matters of protocol and duty, such an invaluable wealth of experience for him to draw from which is
something he appreciates. In the exclusive interview William makes very clear the close rapport he has with the
Queen, his grandmother and how it is a relationship which has grown from strength to strength. The Queen a figure
so firmly established on the world stage, now aged 83 years old will soon be celebrating her Diamond Jubilee making
her the 2nd Monarch to sit on the throne for 60 years, the 1st being Queen Victoria.
William particularly enthusiastic about the Queen's recent state visit to the Republic of Ireland in May 2011, it was
a 1st time visit by the current Monarch and marked a genuinely historic exercise in reconciliation and friendship
forging closer diplomatic relations between the two countries. The Republic of Ireland having been somewhere strictly
off limits to the Queen all of her life, a trip which she personally had been looking very forward to taking and it was
noticed by everyone that the Queen who bows her head to nobody although she did so to the funeral cortege of
Diana, Princess of Wales as it passed in front of Buckingham Palace likewise did so in the Garden of Remembrance in
Dublin when laying a wreath at the "Nationalist Memorial " one remembering all those killed in Ireland's fight for
William has no desire to jump the queue to being King even if this option was available to him which it isn't, he is
quoted as saying in this regard " Without the senior members who've seen and done it all, the junior lot wouldn't be
relevant, you need to have the balance and the experience. It's like a rugby team. If you're picking for the World Cup
Final, you're picking experience with youth. Everything is better off having that balance and that mix. I think that
especially goes for the Monarchy as well! "
Certainly for now William and his wife .. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge seem determined to enjoy their
private life as much as possible and to protect it from alternative restraints, retaining a sense of personal freedom
invaluable to them both and William more than happy to forge his rather conventional career in the Armed forces
rather than consider being King.
" I try not to think about it to be honest. As I'm flying in my helicopter through the mountains of Wales, I try
desperately hard not to think about it. That can wait until I am a bit older ! "
" Hello Everyone,
As I have always said William has no desire to being King and who can blame him actually, it is
a mapped out destiny which determines that a private life being enjoyed is disrupted, instead of which being cocooned
in a web of "Yes Men"and advised to do this, that and the other so with very little if any personal say in anything as of
course the Government in power pretty much dictates and sets the rules which the reigning Monarch is seen to dutifully
abide by for the good of their Kingdom."
With love from,