The death of Princess Diana in 1997 was a major moment in history that is garnering attention all over against thanks to The Crown. The upcoming sixth and final season of the hit Netflix series will examine the tragic accident that killed Prince William and Prince Harry‘s mother which shocked the world and the royal family. Over 25 years since her death, Diana is still a beloved figure in history because of her impact on fashion and her advocacy work. But the memories of her passing are still extremely painful for many, especially her two sons.
Keep reading to learn all about Princess Diana’s death and how it will play out on The Crown.
How Did Princess Diana Die?
Diana was killed on August 31, 1997 in a traffic accident in Paris, France. The Princess of Wales, just 36 at the time of her passing, was in the French capital with her boyfriend Dodi Fayed, who she started dating after her divorce from Prince Charles (now King Charles). Diana, Dodi, Trevor Rees-Jones, her bodyguard, and Henri Paul, their driver, were trying to flee paparazzi who were on motorcycles behind them when the crashed occurred. Henri slammed their Mercedes into a pillar at 65 mph in Paris’ Pont de l’Alma tunnel. Henri and Dodi were killed on impact, while Diana died at the hospital hours later. Trevor was the sole survivor of the crash.
It was later revealed that Henri had been driving the limousine under the influence. Diana, Dodi, and Henri were all not wearing seatbelts in the crash, an investigation found. Despite the accident, the paparazzi still remained at the scene and even photographed Diana in her final moments before she was taken to the hospital where she died. Prince Harry, 39, has gone on record saying he blames the paparazzi for his mother’s death.
The Aftermath of Princess Diana’s Death
The public was devastated when they learned of Diana’s death. They mourned the Princess of Wales by leaving notes and flowers outside Buckingham Palace. The royal family was shaken to the core by Diana’s death, as well.
Prince William, who was 15 at the time, and Prince Harry, who was 12 at the time, learned of their mother’s death while they were vacationing with their father, Charles, at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. “What I do remember with stunning clarity is that I did not cry. Not a tear. My father did not hug me,” Harry recalled of the moment Charles told him Diana died in an interview with NBC News in January 2023.
William reflected on learning about the tragedy in the 2017 BBC documentary, Diana, 7 Days. “You feel very, very confused. And you keep asking yourself, ‘Why me?’ All the time, ‘Why? What have I done? Why? Why has this happened to us?’ ” he said.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip released a short statement after Diana’s death and said they were “deeply shocked and distressed” by the news, according to the Associated Press. After the public accused the royal family of being “indifferent” towards Diana’s death, Queen Elizabeth’s press secretary, Geoffrey Crawford, released a statement addressing the criticism.
“The royal family have been hurt by suggestions that they are indifferent to the country’s sorrow at the tragic death of the Princess of Wales,’’ the statement read, according to TODAY. “The Princess was a much-loved national figure, but she was also a mother whose sons miss her deeply. Prince William and Prince Harry themselves want to be with their father and grandparents at this time in the quiet haven of Balmoral. As their grandmother, the Queen is helping the princes to come to terms with their loss.”
Princess Diana’s televised funeral took place on September 6, 1997 and was watched by over 2 billion people. Philip, Charles, William, Harry and Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, walked behind her coffin as it was carried from Kensington Palace to Westminster Abbey.
Will Princess Diana’s Death Be Shown on The Crown?
It’s been reported that the car crash that killed Diana won’t be shown on The Crown season 6. Instead, fans will see the car driving into the tunnel, followed by the aftermath of her death. “Oh, God, we were never going to show the crash,” creator Peter Morgan told Variety. “Never,” he added. The accident is expected to occur in an early episode of the season, which is being split into two parts that premiere November 16 and December 14, respectively.
Suzanne Mackie, an executive producer on The Crown, promised that the show was “sensitive” towards Diana’s death when they shot the final season.
“The show might be big and noisy, but we’re not. We’re thoughtful people and we’re sensitive people. There were very careful, long conversations about how we were going to do it,” she said at the Edinburgh TV Festival over the summer. “The audience will judge it in the end, but I think it’s been delicately, thoughtfully recreated. There’s a huge amount of respect from us all, I hope that’s evident.”
“It’s difficult to describe, it was something that we thought about, that we carried with us, that woke us up in the night,” the actress said. “We tried our very best to do [the story] properly.”