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It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since the death of Diana, Princes of Wales. While much time has passed since Princess Diana’s death in 1997, the fascination with her life and tragic death have never waned. Over the years, there have been many conspiracy theories surrounding Princess Diana’s death, many of which have been quite intriguing. In addition, persistent plots and incessant rumors, books, tapes, letters, diaries, unpublished videos continue to pop up, particularly when another anniversary approaches. While it hasn’t been proven that her death was anything other than a tragic accident, there are certain aspects of the incident that can’t be ignored. Many of these aspects will leave you with more questions than answers. Here are six truly strange facts surrounding Princess Diana’s death.

The Letters That Predicted Her Own Death

A few months prior to her death, Princess Diana sent out letters to two close friends, her butler Paul Burrell and her solicitor, Lord Mitchum. In them, she stated quite clearly that the royal family and her husband were “planning her death” and that it would be “a car accident.” Burrell went public with his letter, making it known to the press. Lord Mitchum on the other hand passed the letter over to the serving police chief at the time, Lord Condon. Condon withheld this letter from public knowledge as did his successor, Lord Stevens, for several years, even though it is illegal to withhold evidence in investigations. Despite this, no action was taken against either former police chief. Many people found this suspicious and for good reason.

Car Swap at the Last Moment

When Princess Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed left the Ritz Hotel shortly after midnight on the morning of August 31, 1997, a different Mercedes was sent to pick them up than the one they had used throughout the day. Not only was the car changed at the very last minute, there was also no backup car present as was customary.

In addition, there was much controversy regarding the seat belts and who was and wasn’t wearing them on that last journey. Princess Diana was always known to wear her seat belt so it’s hard for many to believe that she was found to have not been wearing one the day of the crash. During that time, the security officer in the vehicle, Trevor Rees-Jones was found with his seat belt on, which is unusual for a security officer on such a high profile job, given the standard practice was for them to not wear seat belts so their movements aren’t restricted.

No Footage Captured of Their Fateful Journey

Henri Paul opted to take a different route the day that the crash occurred. The longer route took them along the River Seine and through the Pont d’ Alma tunnel where the tragic crash occurred. The reason they were said to take this route as opposed to the quickest one was to avoid paparazzi, who had followed the pair all day long. While this might sound rational, given the route was selected on the spur of the moment, many people found it suspicious that all 17 CCTV cameras along the route were either turned off or not working at all. Consequently, no footage was captured of their fatal journey – footage that would have been invaluable in determining what happened that evening.

Henri Paul’s Alcohol Level

Henri Paul was said to have been drunk behind the wheel and lost control of the car the day of the crash. However, there are a number of interesting points about this account. While Paul probably did drink that night and was on antidepressents, he is on camera acting coherent and not visibly intoxicated shortly before the accident. There are some disagreements among experts over exactly how much he had to drink that night.

There are some theories about Paul being an employee of French and/or British security services, as he had over $1000 on him at the time of death, though as a high ranking employee at an upscale hotel in Paris who occasionally needed to buy things for wealthy clients, having over a grand in his pockets is not the oddest thing.

She Remained in the Tunnel for 81 Minutes

Princess Diana wasn’t removed from the crashed vehicle for almost 37 minutes – despite there being little to no damage to her side of the car. It was a total of 81 minutes before the ambulance she had been placed into made its way out of the tunnel and to the hospital. Medical experts who testified in court stated that had Princess Diana been removed from the scene quicker, she very well may have survived. While serious questions were made about his conduct at the accident scene, Dr. Jean-Marc Martino was not made to appear at the official inquiry into Princess Diana and Dodi’s death. Dr. Martino also didn’t address any of the accusations of gross negligence from those who felt his actions that night were far from adequate, which was met with much suspicion.

Speed of the Ambulance Questioned

When the ambulance finally arrived at the scene, it was traveling at a pedestrian pace of 19 kilometers per hour (12 mph). This was questioned by investigators, researchers, medical and emergency service experts alike. The excuse was made that they were traveling with high-tech medical equipment. Given it was essentially a mobile theater room, it allowed the emergency team to begin treatment as soon as a person is inside the ambulance. They said that traveling at that speed would have put their work in danger.

We can only speculate how different our world would be if Princess Diana had not died in a car accident that tragic day. She taught us that there is more out in the world besides ourselves. Princess Diana tried to help as many people as she could in the time she was with us and she will always be remembered as a beacon of light and hope. The late Princess of Wales will be forever missed.

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