'I tried to calm her down and tell her we’d look after her'
From the editors at Hello Giggles
Words by Caitlin Gallagher
Even though she died 20 years ago, Princess Diana is still the beloved ‘People’s Princess.’
This sad August anniversary is a day of remembrance not only by the people who loved her, but also by the people who were there during her final moments. For the first time, the French firefighter who attempted to save Princess Diana from her fatal car crash, Xavier Gourmelon, has spoken about the night in the tunnel, telling Good Morning Britain what Diana’s last words were.
On August 31st, 1997, Diana was in Paris with her boyfriend Dodi Fayed, when their driver Henri Paul lost control of their car and crashed. Diana, Fayed, and Paul all died in the accident with Diana’s bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, being the only survivor.
But when Gourmelon approached the accident, he said that no one recognised Diana as the former British princess.
Although she was unconscious when he first approached, she regained consciousness with Gourmelon saying, ‘She looked at me and said, “Oh my God, what’s happened?” — a bit agitated.’
‘I tried to calm her down and tell her we’d look after her, and she fell into a coma again,’ Gourmelon said. He explained how they then removed her from the wreckage on a stretcher. “At that moment, the doctor said she was in cardiac arrest. So we gave her CPR and after 20 seconds, she regained consciousness and we transferred her to the ambulance.’
However, her injuries were so significant that she later died at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris.
Every detail about Prince William and Prince Harry’s mother’s death has been exhausted over the last 20 years, but Gourmelon offered new insight about her final moments. And while this week is a reminder of the tragedy, it’s more important to honour and celebrate the life of Princess Diana.