While the world only knows of Diana's death on that fateful day, not many know that her beau, Dodi Al-Fayed, was planning to propose to her.
Princess Diana was done with Prince Charles for good in 1996. A year later, on August 31, 1997, she was spotted spending time on a yacht with her beau, Dodi Al-Fayed, the son of Harrod’s department store owner Mohamed Al-Fayed. According to The Washington Post, the two sipped their coffee while taking in the beauty of the Emerald Coast in Sardinia.
“They were in a good mood,” his butler remembered later. “They were always laughing, holding hands.”
That day, she'd called her friend and Daily Mail's Royal Reporter, Richard Kay, to tell him that she was just inches away from completely changing her life. She wanted to withdraw from her formal public life in November 1997 after fulfilling her obligations.
Around 11:30 a.m. that day, Diana and Fayed left the board and headed to his plane to fly to Paris. His calendar had one other entry for 6:30 p.m. that night.
Little did she know that her beau had plans to propose to her in Paris, with the six-figure diamond ring they'd picked out a week earlier at a store near the Ritz, a hotel owned by his father, even though they'd barely been together for a month, per the Independent.
As soon as they landed, Fayed saw the photographers, and it put him in a bad mood. He "did not want this special occasion ruined by a bunch of shutter-happy cowboys trying to corral them on motorcycles and shoving lenses in their faces," ex-Time reporters were quoted as saying.
They eventually managed to evade the paps and made it to the hotel, late in the afternoon. While Diana visited a salon to fix her hair, Fayed headed to the store to pick up the ring. The two of them rested in the hotel’s Imperial Suite before heading out to his apartment to get dressed for dinner.
Fayed had confided in his butler that he intended to propose that night. “The ring was on the nightstand in his bedroom,” author Christopher Anderson wrote in The Day Diana Died. “Dodi had checked to make sure they had several bottles of Dom Pérignon on ice for the big moment.”
Before heading out, Diana called her children, who were in Scotland with Prince Charles and the Queen. Around 7:00 p.m., when the two of them stepped out of the hotel, they were taken aback by the sheer number of photographers. It seemed like Fayed's plans to propose were being interrupted, given how there was paparazzi everywhere they went. Left with no choice, the two made it back to their suite, which is when Fayed came up with another idea.
He instructed his bodyguards to go in his car, to throw off the photographer. He then slipped out the back door with his lady love and got into a car borrowed driven by a hotel security officer. The couple did get away but photographers were still on their tails. Also, they didn't know it, but the driver was drunk. The photographers got a whiff of the plan and soon began tailing the car from all directions.
Unable to maneuver the vehicles, their car crashed at Pont de l’Alma tunnel near the Eiffel Tower. Fayed and the driver died in the car while Diana died at the hospital a couple of hours later, shocking the entire world. She was only 36 at the time of her death. Her funeral was held on September 6, 1997.
Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, was loved by many, not because she was a part of the Royal Family, but because she was, perhaps, the only one that showed love and affection to everyone, irrespective of their titles and backgrounds.
If only the accident hadn't happened on that fateful night, who knows how else her life might have changed that night.
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