On Thursday, it is 20 years since Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris, but already by Wednesday, her disappearance was marked by memorials of flowers and candles.
Her sons, Princes William and Harry, were greeted by a steady stream of people, who laid down flowers in front of the gates of Kensington Palace in London, where they grew up with the princess.
In Paris, just after midnight on Thursday morning, a few people had gathered at the Alma tunnel, where the black Mercedes carrying Diana hit a column at high speed on August the 31st, 1997.
A man lit many candles at the Flame of Liberty monument, which is across the road from the tunnel, and has become a place of memorial to the princess. Flowers and pictures of Diana were also laid down at the monument.
‘Diana was revolutionary. She changed the royal family forever. She will always be the princess of the people’, said Sian Croston, a 17-year-old student from London.
German journalist, Marie Hermann, 25, said she was just a child when Diana died but she had read her biography.
‘I loved Diana and the work she did for charity organizations,’ she said.
Diana died with her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, and driver, Henri Paul, when they were allegedly attempting to escape paparazzi photographers. Official inquests conducted since Princess Diana’s death have determined and agreed conclusively, and with no arguments to the contrary, that the first paparazzi didn’t arrive at the tunnel for a full two minutes after the Mercedes had crashed.
A number of eyewitnesses have testified that the black Mercedes carrying the princess was, however, being hotly pursued into the Pont d’Alma tunnel. The vehicles agreed by the witnesses to have been in pursuit, were a dark saloon, a large motorbike, and a white turbo Fiat Uno. None of these vehicles were being driven or ridden by paparazzi.
Once again, multiple eye witnesses have also testified that when the motorbike was approximately 4.5 meters in front of the Mercedes, a blinding white light was flashed into its front window by the pillion rider on the motorbike.
A French harbour pilot, driving ahead of the Mercedes through the Pont d’Alma tunnel, watched the scene in his rear-view mirror. He testified that after the flash of white light, and subsequent crash of the Mercedes into the 13th pillar of the tunnel, the motorbike’s rider coolly walked up to the Mercedes and peered through its windows.
Keeping his helmet on, he then turned to his compatriot on the bike and ‘gave a gesture used informally in the military (where both arms are crossed over the body and then thrown out straight to each side) to indicate ‘mission accomplished’.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today