Diana, Dodi Al-Fayed and driver Henri Paul died in a tragic accident; But what happened to the sole survivor?
The first part of the sixth and final season of The Crown premieres on Netflix on the 16th. The plot, which follows the british royal family over the last few decades, it will show the events that occurred between 1997 and 2005 — that is, this includes the tragic car accident that killed Princess Diana, 26 years ago.
On that fateful August 31, 1997, in addition to Dianayour boyfriend, the businessman Dodi Al-Fayed; and the driver Henri Paul were also fatal victims of the Mercedes S280 collision. The only survivor was the bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones. But what happened to him?
One of the last images of Lady Di alive was taken when the princess of the people leaving the Ritz Hotel in a Mercedes S280. The record taken by photographers shows just a blur of the famous blonde hair of Diana.
The photo still shows the driver Henri Paul with wide eyes. While Lady Di is with Dodi in the back seat, Paul remains in the company of the ex-soldier Trevor Rees-Jones at the front. Trevor He seems a little worried about what was to come. However, he could never have imagined the tragedy he would face.
Less than five minutes after registration, the Mercedes S280 which was at high speed — more than 100 kilometers per hour —, collided with a White Fiat Uno before hitting the 13th pillar of the tunnel under Pont d’Almaclose to the River Seine.
The driver and Dodi they died at the scene. Diana She was rescued alive, but hospital care was not sufficient. Just Rees survived, but he never managed to end up in that fateful episode; living with pain, divorce and haunted by countless conspiracy theories. But what does he remember?
+ Accident or murder? Theories about Princess Diana’s death
As The New Zealand Herald recalls, Rees-Jones He enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, where he served a period in Northern Ireland. After leaving the military in 1995, he went to work for the Egyptian billionaire Mohammed Al-Fayedfather of Dodiwho owned a vast empire that included the Harrods department store, the Ritz Hotel in Paris and Fulham Football Club.
Two years later, Trevor was part of the security team that protected Diana It is Dodi during your vacation in the south of France. Between July and August of that year, the couple had become even more of a target for the paparazzi.
On August 30, the two returned from their third vacation together, after a cruise around Sardinia. In the afternoon, they flew to Paris, where they initially visited the Ritz before going to the luxurious apartment of Dodi, near the Champs-Elysées. Later, they returned to the Ritz — accompanied by bodyguards Rees-Jones It is Kez Wingfield.
At that point, Dodi he was already stressed by the photographers who chased them around the Parisian capital. Like this, Henri Paul, who was deputy head of security at the Ritz Hotel, came up with a plan: two cars would leave in front of the hotel, serving as bait. Meanwhile, he himself would lead Diana It is Dodi through the back.
According to the official British inquiry that found Diana’s death, Rees-Jones He soon became concerned about the strategy. “I wasn’t happy because it meant Dodi would divide the security officers, but I agreed,” he alleged.
I warned Dodi that we could leave in front of the hotel in two vehicles, as the crowd and press would be pushed to the other side of the street in front of the hotel. Initially, I was told that Dodi and Diana would travel without security and I said that would not happen, that I would travel in the vehicle with them,” she explained.
Less than five minutes after leaving the Ritz Hotel, the accident happened. Trevor was the only survivor. He suffered severe brain and chest trauma; in addition to spending 10 days in a coma and having all the bones in his face broken.
To reconstruct his face, surgeons had to use 150 pieces of titanium and rely on old photos of Trevor. The back of her skull was used to remake her cheekbones.
In 2000, the surgeon Luc Chikhani gave a television interview and stated that he had never seen anyone still alive after breaking as many bones as the bodyguard. “The face was completely crushed, with lots of different fractures — it was incredibly crushed.”
The face was completely flattened. We had to completely rebuild it. His eyes were split apart, his nose was broken and his jaw was broken,” he pointed out.
At the time, the mother of Trevor, Gilalso explained how his son looked after the accident: “His face looked like it had been hit by a frying pan in a Tom and Jerry cartoon — smashed back and flattened.”
Trevor Rees-Jones, who was the front seat passenger, spent a month in the hospital and was initially unable to speak. He later underwent several interrogations, but stated that his last memory was of getting into the Mercedes that was waiting for him in front of the Ritz Hotel. It is believed he was the only one wearing a seatbelt at the time of the tragedy.
In the year following the episode, Trevor Rees-Jones stopped working with Mohammed Al-Fayed — who believed that the British secret service was behind the fatal accident. The father of Dodi believed the bodyguard was involved in a conspiracy.
As the Telegraph recalls, Al-Fayed he even claimed: “you betrayed me”; Mohammed also blamed Rees-Jones for his “disloyalty”. Trevor He later pointed out that the businessman began to pressure him “intensely” to remember what happened that night of August 31st.
After dismissal, Trevor he returned to Shropshire, England, where he was cared for by his mother, who was a nurse, and his stepfather. There, he even got a job at a sports store.
In the year 2000, he published his memoir: The Bodyguard’s Story: Diana, the Crash, and the Sole Survivor. That same year, recalls the Daily Mail, he gave interviews talking about his loss of memory from the day of the accident: “I wanted to know what happened.”
Trevor also talked about some conspiracy theories that he was covering up a plan by the UK security service to kill Diana: “I’m the only person who can actually tell people, and I can’t remember.”
It will be so easy if I remember. I can tell people and all this shit will stop,” he concluded. However, that never happened.
With his work, the former bodyguard of Diana It is Dodi got an advance of 1.8 million dollars. But The New Zealand Herald points out that a large part of the amount was used to cover legal fees arising from legal actions involving Al-Fayed in the United Kingdom and France.
New phase, old ghost
Six years after the accident, Trevor Rees-Jones married Ann Scott, his second wife — he had divorced his first marriage months before the tragedy. With the teacher, he had the little Nia in 2006.
In his professional life, the former bodyguard of Diana It is Dodi He started working as a security consultant. In 2000, he worked with the United Nations in Timor-Leste; later in 2008, he served in war-torn Iraq, where he helped protect foreign workers.
That same year, an inquiry was carried out to investigate Lady Di’s death. In your version of events, Trevor He reported what little he remembered of that night: “I remember stopping at a traffic light and seeing a motorcycle on the right side of the car. I’m not sure about the other vehicles, but I can remember this motorcycle very clearly.”
My memory then is one of total confusion. I don’t remember the pain, but in my head there was a lot of confusion,” she points out.
“I remember hearing someone moan and the name Dodi being said, but I don’t know who said it. On the other hand, if there was no one else but us, I conclude that it was Princess Diana. As I said, it was a female voice .”
Despite his testimony, he left certain doubts about the veracity of his memories: “These memories are vague and I myself doubt them, but I am mentioning them because these memories are coming back to me again and again.”
Another witness at the inquiry was the other bodyguard, Kez Wingfield. He claimed that the security team had traveled with Dodi It is Diana for more than a week and was aware of the persecution of photographers. Wingfield also reported the difficulties he faced with Trevor during the cruise, when they had to work 18-hour shifts to protect the couple.
Asked about his drunkenness Henri Paulhe commented: “There was nothing in Henri Paul’s behavior to indicate that he was drinking, and Henri Paul was not my focus of attention. My focus was to get one down his throat as quickly as possible and get back to work.”
During his testimony, Wingfield told the lawyer Fayed, Michael Mansfieldwho had requested that Mohammed hired more security guards: “If they had allowed us to do our jobs properly, we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now.”
In 2016, the former bodyguard of Diana, Ken Wharfe, claimed that his security team would never have let the royal into the Mercedes that night and blamed the bodyguards for her death. “I’m still very angry that this team of ‘bodyguards’ let her suffer. Our department looked after her personal safety for around 15 years,” he told the Daily Mail.
Rees-Jones was a former soldier who did not receive the training necessary to protect a member of the royal family… The main role of a protection officer is to use intelligence, contacts and instincts to keep his protégé out of harm’s way. , avoiding confrontation”, he continued.
“An example of this is Rees-Jones’s lack of understanding of the paparazzi. He seemed to think in terms of his army days, describing the press as ‘the enemy’ and referring to photographers as if they were ‘shooters’. elite’ with their long lenses like rifle barrels”, he added.