Astonishing insight into hours after Princess Diana’s death from Charles’ tears to her final movements

ASTONISHING fresh insight into the hours after Princess Diana’s death has been revealed.

Diana died in Paris on August 31, 1997 after the car she was in crashed in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel.

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Fresh insight into the hours after Princess Diana's death has been revealed8

Fresh insight into the hours after Princess Diana’s death has been revealedCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
Diana's coffin is carried from the hospital8

Diana’s coffin is carried from the hospitalCredit: AFP
Lady Sarah McCorquodale, left, and Lady Jane Fellowes, leave the hospital in Paris8

Lady Sarah McCorquodale, left, and Lady Jane Fellowes, leave the hospital in ParisCredit: AP:Associated Press
Charles is met by French president Jacques Chirac8

Charles is met by French president Jacques ChiracCredit: AP:Associated Press

Just hours after the horrific crash, Prince Charles quickly arranged a flight from Balmoral Castle in Aberdeen to France, joined by Diana’s sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes.

Diana’s trusted driver-minder Colin Tebbutt flew to Paris at 6.30am, immediately after hearing about the princess’ death.

He met Charles when the prince arrived at Pitié-Salpêtrière University Hospital, where Diana’s body was taken, later that afternoon.

Mr Tebbutt told the Daily Mail: “I had known [Charles] since 1978. He said to me, ‘Colin, thank you very much for coming.

“I explained to him what had been happening and he asked, ‘Are there any members of the clergy here?’

“I said there were and he replied, ‘I would like to go into the [Diana’s] room with the clergy and her sisters. Is that alright?’ I said, ‘By all means, Sir’.”

Charles prayed inside Diana’s hospital room for 15 minutes, together with Diana’s sisters and two priests, including Father Yves-Marie Clochard-Bossuet and Anglican Martin Draper.

Father Clochard-Bossuet said: “Charles thanked me. He was very, very moved. Yes, I saw tears.”

Mr Tebbutt added that people could be seen on rooftops from Diana’s hospital room, which had big windows without curtains.

“I immediately called for blankets and we put them up across the windows,” he said.

“I asked why the Princess was in this bed and not in the mortuary where she would be secure in every way and I was told… the Palace has said she must not be touched or moved until Levertons arrive.”

Charles, Diana's two sisters, Jane (C, foreground) and Sarah (L), French President Jacques Chirac (R) and his wife Bernadette leave the hospital where Diana died8

Charles, Diana’s two sisters, Jane (C, foreground) and Sarah (L), French President Jacques Chirac (R) and his wife Bernadette leave the hospital where Diana diedCredit: EPA
Diana with Colin Tebbutt8

Diana with Colin TebbuttCredit: ITV
Yves-Marie Clochard-Bossuet was the chaplain at the hospital where Princess Diana died8

Yves-Marie Clochard-Bossuet was the chaplain at the hospital where Princess Diana diedCredit: KTOTV/YouTube

He asked for air-conditioning units to be brought into the room.

Mr Tebbutt said: “when I plugged them in and turned them [to point at the bed] I thought, just for a second, that the Princess was still alive. Because her hair was moving and her eyelids too. And just for a fraction of a second my heart stopped and I had to turn away to the wall.

“In that flash, [it looked like] my lady’s still alive. I pulled myself together. Of course she wasn’t alive, it was just the air pumping out of the fans.

“But that was the worst moment. Probably the worst moment of my life apart from my own mother and father dying.”

Mr Tebbutt was concerned about preserving Diana’s body.

He said he had “lobbied” for hospital undertakers to be allowed to “tidy up” Diana.

“I’m thinking, the Prince is coming, her family’s coming, I want the boss to be in good form,” he said.

Mr Tebbutt said he anticipated there would just be a cosmetic makeover, however hospital undertakers rushed to embalm her.

FINAL CALL

Diana’s final phone call was with Daily Mail royal correspondent Richard Kay.

She had told him to switch off his phones and get some sleep – her last words before her tragic death.

There was a mad rush to the hospital where Diana’s body was being held.

Late in the afternoon on the day of her death, Colin Tebbutt, Consul-General Keith Moss, a nursing sister, Diana’s butler Paul Burrell, Father Clochard-Bossuet and police guards were the only people in her room.

Over the next few hours, a large number of officials would make their way to the hospital.

Mr Tebbutt said he noticed “suddenly down the corridor comes this tall man and his wife and they just walked into Diana’s room with the policeman saluting”.

He said: “I’m like, ‘What the hell’s happening now?’ I went to call him back when I suddenly realised it was President Jacques Chirac and Mrs Chirac. Mr Chirac bowed at the end of the bed and walked out.

“After that, we sat in the office and waited. They knew that the VIP party from Britain was close.”

The royal undertakers’ party then arrived at the hospital room.

Mr Tebbutt said: “The coffin was carried shoulder-high by these four big guys accompanied by Mr Leverton himself, all in morning suits, marching down the corridor as if it were a military parade.”

Prince Charles and Diana’s sisters then arrived, with President Chirac meeting them at the hospital entrance with a 12-strong guard of honour.

Diana’s coffin was carried to a hearse at around 6.35pm, where it was transferred to a plane.

Mr Tebbutt recalled: “As we drove through the streets of Paris, everyone was applauding. It was amazing. Very, very moving.”

Photographers outside the hospital in Paris8

Photographers outside the hospital in ParisCredit: Reuters
Prince Harry discusses ‘numbing pain through substance abuse’ after revealing he took drugs to mask pain of losing Diana

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