The horrifying car accident that killed Princess Diana in 1997 shook not only her country, but the world. As conspiracy theories swirled about whatcaused the crash, eyewitnesses came forward to share their stories. The final words they heard from the princess emphasize how tragic that fateful night was.
In one of the first detailed accounts in the wake of the accident, French doctor Frederic Mailliez told the Times of London that he’d started treating Princess Diana, not realizing at the time that he was in the presence of royalty. As Diana struggled to breathe, she let out cries of pain and kept repeating how much she hurt until losing consciousness, Dr. Mailliez said. Other reports at the time specifically claimed she’d shouted, “Oh my God, leave me alone.” Meanwhile, rumors like these 18 conspiracy theories about the royal family started circulating.
RELATED: Princess Diana over the years
Princess Diana Style Transformation
Princess Diana Style Transformation
Lady Diana Spencer, later the wife of Prince Charles, on her first birthday at Park House, Sandringham.
A very young Diana in a fancy pram.
Lady Di at age 2.
Young Lady Diana in a buttoned up dark coat.
Lady Diana at age 8, wearing a matching dress and headband.
Diana on holiday with her family, causal in a sweater and jeans.
Diana let her hair grow long during her youth, here age 10 in a wide-brimmed black hat.
Diana always had a passion for children, here at 19 working as a Nursery Assistant at a Kindergarten school.
Diana and Charles pose on the day of their engagement, showing off her diamond and sapphire engagement ring.
Diana was stunning on her wedding day, with the most glamorous dress and bouquet -- truly fit for a Princess.
The royal couple during their honeymoon in Scotland.
Diana attended an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, in a dress designed by Bellville Sassoon.
Princess Diana, pregnant and glowing at a Polo match in Windsor.
The Prince and Princess visit Wales, Diana wearing a suede beret by John Boyd and a coatdress by Arabella Pollen.
Diana was a vision in yellow as she and Charles visited a school in Alice Springs, Australia.
We're loving the pops of pink in Diana's outfit, here while watching Charles play Polo.
Diana talks with Prince Charles, who is on horseback, at a Polo match.
Diana is pretty in pink while attending the ballet Swan Lake.
Diana and a tiny Prince William leaving the Royal Yacht, the Princess in a belted plaid jacket.
Diana laughs with Nancy Reagan, the two ladies looking radiant in hues of red and white.
Diana rests her chin in her hands on the steps of her home at Highgrove.
Diana at a desert picnic in Saudi Arabia, wearing a purple and white outfit by Catherine Walker.
Diana attended Cannes Film Festival, wearing a stunning ice blue gown by Catherine Walker.
Diana was stunning at an evening function during a visit to Germany, wearing a gown by Victor Edelstein.
Princess Diana during a visit to Melbourne.
Diana and Wills at a polo club, the Princess casually dressed in a blazer with the British Lung Foundation logo on the front of her t-shirt.
Diana looked radiant in red and purple while in Hong Kong, the outfit designed by Catherine Walker.
During her visit to Hong Kong, Diana wore this stunning tiara and white dress, later known as the "Elvis Dress."
The Princess of Wales in mint on an official visit to Hungary.
Diana and her boys, attending a church service. Diana wore a pink and purple suit by Catherine Walker.
Diana wears her favorite designer once again, Catherine Walker, during an official visit in Brazil.
Diana wore this white dress and black jacket designed by Catherine Walker during a visit to Salisbury.
Diana was stunning at a banquet in Seoul, wearing the Spencer family tiara and a gown by Catherine Walker.
Diana looked lovely in this pastel suit, crouching down to speak with a young boy.
Lord Palumbo greets Princess Diana, wearing a short black cocktail dress designed by Christina Stambolian, as she atttends a gala.
Diana visited army barracks, wearing a Versace suit and a hat by Philip Somerville.
The Princess of Wales was gorgeous in this royal purple gown during a visit to Chicago.
Diana visited Washington, dazzling the entire country in this lovely white gown.
Diana was lovely in this pale blue cocktail dress by Catherine Walker, attending a charity reception.
Diana, Princess of Wales, was radiant in red during another visit to Washington, D.C.
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Even today, new stories are still emerging. On the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death in 2017, French firefighter Xavier Gourmelon told The Sun that his team was the first to arrive at the site of the crash. He stayed by her while she was taken out of the Mercedes, not recognizing the princess either. Before rescuers helped her out of the car, Gourmelon claimed he heard Diana say, “My God, what’s happened?” before going into cardiac arrest. Gourmelon said he gave her CPR and that she seemed stable when she left in the ambulance, but he’d kept his experience a secret (except when giving evidence in Diana’s inquest in 2007) until leaving the fire department because French firefighters aren’t allowed to talk to the media.
Raphael, painter from the Italian Renaissance: "Happy --"
A close friend of Raphael's, Cardinal Bibbiena, wrote in a letter to his niece that Raphael woke up, looked around, and then asked "Whence comes the sunshine?" He appeared not to hear what his friends said when they spoke to him, and then uttered "Happy..." — but did not finish the sentence.