This date in history: Death of a princess

This date in history: Death of a princess

I would venture so far as to say many of you know exactly where you were 18 years ago today.  That's the morning Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris, along with her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and their driver Henri Paul.

Granted, it was late at night when the news of the accident broke in the states. In fact it was still August 30 when we heard about it.

Some viewers learned of the crash while watching "Saturday Night Live", which may have seemed like a cruel joke given the nature of that program. NBC News Anchor Brian Williams (remember him?) eventually confirmed her death at 1 a.m. EDT.

I heard about the accident while attending a Johnny Rivers concert at the Phenix City Amphitheater.  Whispers had filtered through the crowd that Diana had been critically injured, but as I recall, she had not been pronounced dead before the concert ended.

Of course, we all learned more in the early hours of that Sunday.

That Diana's driver was trying to get away from photographers when the crash happened.  That the Mercedes Benz W140 veered into the support pillar of an underpass and crumpled like an envelope. That the lone survivor, bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, was probably saved by the passenger side airbag, since no one was wearing a seat belt.

Following the shock of Diana's death, at age 36, we saw an unbelievable outpouring of love for the young princess. While 750 million worldwide viewers had tuned in for her 1981 wedding to Prince Charles, an estimated two billion watched some or all of her funeral.

It goes without saying that Diana's life was the stuff of fairy tales. Only this story did not end like the others.

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