Doctor Recalls Princess Diana’s Last Moments On ‘Tragic Night’ Of Her Death

PARIS (AP) — The girl was crumpled on the ground of a mangled Mercedes, unconscious and struggling to breathe. The French physician had no concept who she was, and targeted on making an attempt to save lots of her.

Twenty-five years later, Frederic Mailliez remains to be marked by what occurred within the Alma Tunnel in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997 — and the belief that he was one of many final individuals to see Princess Diana alive.

“I realize my name will always be attached to this tragic night,” Mailliez, who was on his method dwelling from a celebration when he got here throughout the automobile crash, informed The Related Press. “I feel a little bit responsible for her last moments.”

As Britain and Diana’s admirers worldwide mark a quarter-century since her demise, Mailliez recounted the aftermath of the crash.

That evening, Mailliez was driving into the tunnel when he noticed a smoking Mercedes almost cut up in two.

“I walked toward the wreckage. I opened the door, and I looked inside,” he mentioned.

French emergency physician Frederic Maillez, who was first to reach on the scene of the crash that killed Princess Diana, speaks to The Related Press, subsequent to the Pont de l’Alma tunnel, in Paris on Aug. 24.

What he noticed: “Four people, two of them were apparently dead, no reaction, no breathing, and the two others, on the right side, were living but in severe condition. The front passenger was screaming, he was breathing. He could wait a few minutes. And the female passenger, the young lady, was on her knees on the floor of the Mercedes, she had her head down. She had difficulty to breathe. She needed quick assistance.”

He ran to his automobile to name emergency companies and seize a respiratory bag.

“She was unconscious,” he mentioned. “Thanks to my respiratory bag (…) she regained a little bit more energy, but she couldn’t say anything.”

The physician would later discover out the information — together with the remainder of the world — that the lady he handled was Diana, Britain’s nationwide treasure adored by tens of millions.

“I know it’s surprising, but I didn’t recognize Princess Diana,” he mentioned. “I was in the car on the rear seat giving assistance. I realized she was very beautiful, but my attention was so focused on what I had to do to save her life, I didn’t have time to think, who was this woman.”

“Someone behind me told me the victims spoke English, so I began to speak English, saying I was a doctor and I called the ambulance,” he mentioned. “I tried to comfort her.”

As he labored, he observed the flash of digital camera bulbs, of paparazzi gathered to doc the scene. A British inquest discovered Diana’s chauffeur, Henri Paul, was drunk and driving at a excessive pace to elude pursuing photographers.

Mailliez mentioned he had “no reproach” towards the photographers’ actions after the crash. “They didn’t hamper me having access to the victims. … I didn’t ask them for help, but they didn’t interfere with my job.”

Firefighters shortly got here, and Diana was taken to a Paris hospital, the place she died a number of hours later. Her companion Dodi Fayed and the motive force additionally died.

In this early Sunday, Aug. 31, 1997 file photo, police services prepare to take away the car in which Britain's Diana, Princess of Wales, died in Paris, in a car crash that also killed her companion Dodi Fayed, and chauffeur.
On this early Sunday, Aug. 31, 1997 file photograph, police companies put together to remove the automobile wherein Britain’s Diana, Princess of Wales, died in Paris, in a automobile crash that additionally killed her companion Dodi Fayed, and chauffeur.

AP Picture/Jerome Delay, File

“It was a massive shock to learn that she was Princess Diana, and that she died,” Mailliez mentioned. Then self-doubt set in. “Did I do everything I could to save her? Did I do correctly my job?” he requested himself. “I checked with my medical professors and I checked with police investigators,” he mentioned, they usually agreed he did all he might.

The anniversary is stirring up these reminiscences once more, however additionally they come again “each time I drive through the Alma Tunnel,” he mentioned.

As Mailliez spoke, standing atop the tunnel, vehicles rushed out and in previous the pillar the place she crashed, now bearing a stencil drawing of Diana’s face.

The Flame of Liberty monument close by has change into a memorial web site attracting Diana followers of all generations and nationalities. She has change into a timeless determine of emancipation and a trend icon even for these born after her demise.

Irinia Ouahvi, a 16-year-old Parisian visiting the flame, mentioned she is aware of Diana via TikTok movies and thru her mom.

“Even with her style she was a feminist. She challenged royal etiquette, wearing cyclist shorts and casual pants,” Ouahvi mentioned.

Francine Rose, a Dutch 16-year-old who stopped by Diana’s memorial whereas on a biking journey in Paris, found her story because of “Spencer,” a latest movie starring Kristen Stewart.

“She is an inspiration because she was evolving in the strict household, the royal family, and just wanted to be free,” Rose mentioned.