Victim In The Princess Diana Car Crash Is Finally Telling His Side Of The Story Years Later

Victim In The Princess Diana Car Crash Is Finally Telling His Side Of The Story Years Later

One tragic moment defined the 1990s: the death of Princess Diana. While her passing and funeral were endlessly discussed, a new perspective on that fateful evening took some time coming to light. In fact, one person who was in the car that evening finally shared his side of the story.

Speeding To The Ritz

On August 31, 1997, a black Mercedes sped towards Paris’ Pont de l’Alma tunnel. Princess Diana and her partner, Dodi Fayed, were sitting in the back seat, waiting to arrive at the Hotel Ritz.

Georges De Keerle/Getty Images

Loss Of Control

With the paparazzi close behind, driver Henri Paul stepped on the gas. He infamously lost control of the vehicle, slamming directly into a concrete support pillar near the tunnel’s entrance.

Twitter: @Gertsroyals

The Remaining Passenger

Diana, Fayed, and Paul all tragically died that morning; the world immediately began to mourn the fallen princess. But there was one other passenger in the car on that fateful night.

Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage

Sole Survivor

Trevor Rees-Jones, a body guard tasked with protecting the couple, was sitting in the front passenger seat. Against all odds, he survived the crash that killed everyone else in the vehicle.

Photo by Jacques Langevin/scottbaker-inquests.gov.uk via Getty Images

Absolutely Totaled

First responders immediately saw the severity of the accident, as the front portion of the car was completely folded onto itself like an accordion. How did Rees-Jones make it out alive?

YouTube: Sky News

A Grim Advantage

Rees-Jones, like everyone else in the vehicle, wasn’t wearing his seat belt. Riding in the front passenger seat, however, did give him one crucial advantage during the moment of impact.

Pexels: Kelly Lacy

Airbag Deployment

During the crash, the car’s airbags deployed and protected the bodyguard from the brunt of the impact. Just because he was alive, however, didn’t mean that he was in good shape.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Shocking Impact

Rees-Jones’ body slammed into the dashboard of the car with incredible force. Despite the airbag’s protection, his very human bones weren’t designed to withstand such a strong impact. Paramedics were shocked by what they found.

YouTube: Sky News

Rebuilding His Face

When Rees-Jones was removed from the car, his facial bones were crushed into dust. Surgeons would painstakingly use 150 pieces of titanium to reshape his face. But that wasn’t his only problem.

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Shutting Down

The body guard also suffered serious chest injuries and a broken wrist. He was in such bad shape that doctors placed him in a medically induced coma for 10 days.

Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Waiting To Hear

Eventually, Rees-Jones made it out of the hospital. While his physical health was returning to normalcy, his life was still in disarray. Things would get much worse before they improved.

Photo by Antoine Serra/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

He Was Supposed To Protect Her

As the public tried to process the tragedy, they started pointing fingers. Since he was the sole survivor and the person who was paid to ensure Diana’s safety, Rees-Jones’ reputation was soon under fire.

Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Blood Alcohol Level

Many said he should have stopped Paul (who had been drinking) from getting behind the wheel or speeding into the tunnel. Others said he should have insisted Diana and Fayed buckle their seat belts. Either way, they said, he could have saved the princess.

YouTube: PennLive.com

Accusations

But the attacks became even more personal. Fayed’s father claimed that the body guard was only pretending that he couldn’t remember the events before the crash to avoid taking responsibility. It got to be too much for Rees-Jones.

Photo by David Lodge/FilmMagic

Going Back To A Quiet Life

A year after the crash, Rees-Jones stopped working with the Fayed family. He returned to Shropshire, England, and took a job in a friend’s sportswear store. But he couldn’t completely escape his past.

Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images

Speaking Out

Rees-Jones avoided interviews and tried to focus on the future, rather than what had already happened. But, eventually, his opinion changed. He decided that he had to speak out and tell his side of the story.

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Sharing His Story

In 2000, he put his memories on paper, writing The Bodyguard’s Story: Diana, the Crash, and the Sole Survivor. In the book, he shared two recollections of the infamous night.

YouTube: AP Archive

Shocking Recollections

He claimed he remembered motorcycles and photographers pulling alongside the car during its fateful trip towards the tunnel. But he also recalled one shocking thing that happened after the crash.

YouTube: Sky News

Final Words

Rees-Jones wrote that he heard Diana moaning “Dodi” after the accident. Psychologists warned him that it could be a false memory, but the body guard is confident in what he heard.

YouTube: Inside Edition

Sole Responsibility

In 2008, an official inquest concluded that Henri Paul bore sole responsibility for the fatal crash. After a decade of painful rehab and scrutiny, Rees-Jones could finally move on with his life.

YouTube: UKSupremeCourt

Out Of The Spotlight

Rees-Jones reportedly still lives in Shropshire. He works as a security consultant and plays rugby in his spare time; after being forced into the global spotlight, he finally has the simple life he craved.

Photo by All Blacks Collection/Getty Images

Continuing Saga

But, with someone as famous as Princess Diana, the story is never that simple. In fact, one aspect of her life is still affecting one her sons to this very day.

Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Like None Before Her

Princess Diana of Wales made quite a splash as the first wife of Prince Charles, but her entry into the royal family was anything but easy. In fact, one of her first royal events cast a shadow over her most important relationship.

Princess Diana Prepares

It was 1981 when Princess Diana prepared herself for her very first Trooping the Color ceremony. Nervous as she was to stroll through such enthusiastic fans, she knew people thought fondly of her.

Fox Photos / Getty Images

Drawn To Her Demeanor

One of the reasons people were drawn to her demeanor was because she was different from other royals. She seemed more laid back and less prone to the royal family’s rigid way of life. She would be an interesting contrast to the event.

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

The Majestic Royal Palace

As was tradition, this Trooping ceremony would take place at Buckingham Palace, which is the kind of place you can’t help but stop and stare at when you pass by. All eyes would be on the princess.

Patrick Durand / Getty Images

Trooping The Color

Few events are as intricately organized and historically important as Trooping the Color. The tradition started way back with King George II, who merged his birthday celebration with a massive military procession during the summer season.

Tim Graham Photo Library / Getty Images

People Flock From All Over

People flock from all over the world for a chance to see this epic scene unfold up and down the streets near Buckingham Palace. And, as you can imagine, at the forefront of the entire procession is the Queen.

Matthew Polak / Sygma / Getty Images

Presence Of The Queen

Back in her heyday, the Queen came out on horseback after a thorough inspection of all of the 1,000 soldiers ready to march. But, it’s not just soldiers on foot that join in the event.

Keystone / Getty Images

Royal Air Force Display

The Royal Air Force even flies overhead and performs a dazzling display of aircraft finesse, and a 41-gun salute indicates the celebration is over. It’s truly a spectacle, but few processions were as talked about as Princess Diana’s first trooping ceremony.

MJ Kim / Getty Images

Coupled With Prince Charles

At the time of the Diana’s first time attending, she was coupled with Prince Charles. Because the prince held a role as a senior officer in the military’s Household Division, he marched separately from Diana. For some, this raised eyebrows.

Douglas Peebles / Getty Images

Throwing People For A Loop

And at first, it might seem strange for Diana and Charles not to travel together during the parade, but because of his status it was required. However, there was something else that threw people for a loop.

Kypros / Getty Images

“No Ring, No Bring”

At the time of the ceremony, Diana and Charles were only engaged. This went against tradition, seeing as up until that point, the event had a strict “no ring, no bring” policy. Still, there was more going on that careful observers noticed.

Terry Fincher / Getty Images

Controversy Swirls

The relationship, now fully in the public eye, was downright odd. At the time, they couldn’t get over another big point of controversy: Charles and Diana hit it off at a shooting party when she was only 16 years old. But that wasn’t all.

Bettmann / Getty Images

Not A Good Look

To boot, he was actually romantically involved with Diana’s sister at the time! Not a good look, Charles! He said of Diana at the time, “I remember thinking what a very jolly and amusing and attractive 16-year-old she was.” Yikes.

John Shelley Collection / Getty Images

Where Did Charles’ Heart Lie?

There was also the very prevalent question of whether or not the Prince’s heart even belonged to Diana. Speculation swirled that he was still in love with a woman named Camilla Shand he briefly dated before Diana.

Wikimedia Commons

“Whatever ‘In Love’ Means,”

During a post-engagement interview, a reporter asked Charles if he was in love with his new beau. His response was weak to say the least. “Whatever ‘in love’ means,” he oddly replied.

Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

Making Waves Early On

The odd relationship Diana had with Charles certainly had people talking. But, even before Diana’s first Trooping the Color she was already making waves, and not the kind that impressed the Queen.

David Levenson / Getty Images

Uncomfortable First Appearance

The very first time the couple appeared after they announced their engagement was at a concert at London’s Goldsmith Hall, and Diana’s attire turned heads. She wore a dress that, according to her, was “two sizes too small.”

Fox Photos / Getty Images

Swooping In For The Rescue

Luckily, Princess Grace of Monaco — a former Hollywood actress — swooped in to the rescue and explained to Diana the royal protocol when it came to garb. Later in life, however, Diana was known for her savvy fashion sense.

David Levenson / Getty Images