Today marks 15 years to the day the world learned of the tragic death of Princess Diana. The ex-wife of Britain’s Prince Charles and mother to Princes William and Harry, died in a high-speed single car crash in a Paris tunnel on August 31st, 1997. Diana’s male companion, Dodi al-Fayed and their driver Henri Paul were also killed in the crash that was blamed, in part, on pursuing paparazzi. An inquiry determined that Paul was also partly responsible after losing control of the car while in an intoxicated state. A bodyguard who was traveling with the group was also injured but survived. Diana was just 36 years old.
The commemoration of the somber anniversary is muted this year as the royal family moves on from the tragedy. Five years ago, hundreds of mourners gathered in London to mark the tenth anniversary of Diana’s death with a memorial service that was broadcast around the world. Queen Elizabeth the Second, members of the royal family and Diana’s friend, pop star Elton John, were among those in attendance. Diana’s sons Princes William and Harry read emotional tributes to their mother.
William’s well-watched wedding to Kate Middleton last year was seen by many as a turning point for the royal family to move beyond the tragedy. But the princes have made no secret about the hole left in their lives due to their mother’s death. Earlier this year, Prince William told ABC News in an interview that it was “very difficult” that his mom was not able to be present for his wedding, adding that he was “just very sad” that she would never get a chance to meet Kate.