Could Princess Diana’s Car Accident Have Been Prevented? For Years, Many Have Thought So

When Princess Diana married Prince Charles, she quickly became known as the “People’s Princess.” Though her marriage to Charles wasn’t nearly as fairytale as the public had thought, she still was one of the most well-respected women in the world up until her tragic death in 1997. There have been countless investigations and discoveries surrounding the fatal crash that took the princess’ life; here’s why so many people think the accident could have been prevented.

Princess Diana
Princess Diana | Jayne Fincher/Getty Images

Diana’s driver was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the crash

When Diana got into the car that night, she probably didn’t realize her driver, Henri Paul, had been drinking. Based on findings after the crash occurred, prosecutors said Paul had consumed the equivalent of an entire bottle of wine before getting behind the wheel of the Mercedes s280 that was involved in the crash. He also had drugs in his system. Based on the impact of the car hitting into the concrete pillar at the top of the Paris tunnel where it crashed, investigators suspect Paul was driving at 121 miles per hour when the vehicle made impact with the pillar. However, in 2017, Diana’s former butler, Paul Burrell, disputed the idea that Henri Paul was drunk, saying that the couple’s bodyguard (the only passenger to survive) would have never entered a vehicle with a drunk driver. But had Paul not been drinking, the crash might have never happened.

Nobody in the car was wearing a seatbelt

One of the biggest problems with Diana’s car accident is that nobody in the vehicle was wearing a seatbelt. Sadly, it played a major role in three of the four passengers not surviving. These days, seat belts are credited with saving lives daily. Had any of the passengers been wearing seat belts, especially Diana and Dodi Fayed in the backseat, the outcome might have been very different. Plus, according to reports, the Mercedes car that they were driving in had a tendency to lose control at high speeds, which doesn’t come as a surprise, since cars aren’t meant to go that fast. Had Paul not pushed the car to 121 miles per hour, the crash might have been prevented.

The car involved in Princess Diana's fatal accident.
The car involved in Princess Diana’s fatal car accident. | Pierre Boussel/AFP/Getty Images

The paparazzi were reportedly chasing the princess

When Diana and Charles divorced, the paparazzi became even more obsessed with her than they already had been. They followed her everywhere; the affair between Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, along with the future king’s divorce, made for one of the largest scandals the royal family had ever seen. And when Diana was in the car on the night of the crash, Henri Paul was reportedly trying to outrun the paparazzi; that’s the explanation for why he was driving so fast and so recklessly. For years, people have blamed the crash solely on the media chasing the princess. Had they taken a step back, it would have been one more thing that might have prevented the accident.

Every tragedy that happens always has people thinking of how it could have been prevented in some way. Had Henri Paul been sober, everyone had their seatbelts on, and the paparazzi not been so greedy for photos, Diana might still be here today. But yet we mourn her loss, even 22 years later, as a graceful woman who left us far too soon.