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Year in Review: 1997

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Princess Diana's death stuns the world

Weld steps out -
Cellucci steps forward

Mother Teresa is laid
to rest at age 87

Chinese rule returns
to Hong Kong

Supreme Court strikes
down 'Net decency act

UPS strike disrupts thousands of firms

Heaven's Gate cult commits mass suicide

Mars Pathfinder explores Red Planet

Ellen comes out, marking a first in TV

For the first time, a mammal is cloned


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From gilded dining room to intensive care

Glamour to horror in just over 4 hours

By Elizabeth Neuffer, Globe Staff, 09/01/97


DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES
1961 - 1997

FIND OUT MORE

Britain buries Diana
in R egal ceremony

From Boston to London, a day of tears and shock

Palace may take - or leave -
her populism

PARIS - They died, in some ways, as they had lived: in a high-speed journey through the most glamorous and luxurious sections of Paris, known as the city of lovers.

In their few weeks together, Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed had sampled Europe's best, from cruises on private yachts to vacations in the French resort of St. Tropez. The hours before their death after a car accident were no different: The princess and her millionaire companion ate at one of Paris's most opulent restaurants.

The couple arrived in Paris Saturday afternoon, intending to do some shopping, according to Interior Minister Jean-Pierre Chevenement. Saturday evening, about 8 p.m., they were spotted by press photographers as the couple strolled on this city's most famous street, the Champs-Elysees.

They were believed to have been staying at Fayed's apartment on Avenue Foch in the luxurious 16th arrondissement, on the Seine's right bank. By 10:30, they had made their way to the Ritz Hotel at the Place Vendome, owned by Mohamed Fayed, Dodi's father.

There, among the gilt, mirrors and carpets of the turn-of-the-century hotel, the pair had dinner. Ritz staff refused to give details yesterday of the couple's evening.

While Diana, 36, and Dodi, 41, had seemed quite happy to let the press snap moments of tenderness and even passion during their short courtship, on Saturday they lost patience with the paparazzi who had gathered outside the Ritz.

Shortly after midnight, they abandoned their car and leaped into a Mercedes driven by the chief of security for the Ritz. He spun the Mercedes through the Place de la Concorde -- the 18th-century square renowned for its obelisk, a relic of a Napoleonic campaign, and for its executions, including that of Marie Antoinette.

Still, the Place de la Concorde is considered one of Paris's most beautiful nighttime attractions.

The Mercedes then turned westward, racing along the Seine's right bank, one of the longest stretches in Paris without a stoplight. Several paparazzi followed on motorcycles.

About 12:35, the driver lost control of the car, striking first a pillar and then a wall in a tunnel under the Pont D'Alma. The accident occurred in Paris's 8th arrondissement, dubbed ``the Gold Corner'' because of its luxury shops.

The Mercedes crumpled like a tin can. Fayed died almost instantly, as did the driver. The princess and a bodyguard were seriously injured, and had to be cut out of the wreckage.

By 12:45 a.m., emergency medical personnel had arrived at the scene and had begun treating the injured, police said. She was taken to the hospital, and her condition worsened.

By 2 a.m., Diana had traveled four miles to arrive at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in eastern Paris. But her heart had stopped beating, and she had had massive blood loss inside her chest, according to Dr. Bruno Riou, head of the intensive care unit.

Doctors opened her chest cavity to find blood pouring from a wound in her left pulmonary vein. The wound was closed and heart massage was begun. But Diana's heart did not resume beating.

At 4 a.m., doctors pronounced Diana dead.

At dawn yesterday, mourners began to leave flowers at the crash site. Diana's body was flown back to England in the afternoon -- arriving, draped in the flag of the royal family, 16 hours after her death.



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