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'Press not to blame for Princess Diana's death', says her former bodyguard

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Yahoo Style UK

It’s almost 21 years since Diana’s death, but the world is still reeling.

On 31 August 1997, the princess, along with her companion Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul, died in a fatal car crash in a Paris underway after Paul lost control of the Mercedes S280 they were travelling in. 

Following Diana’s death, much of the narrative has blamed the behaviour of the paparazzi, who were reportedly chasing the car at high speed on motorbikes. Even William and Harry blamed the press.

However, for the princess’s former bodyguard, Ken Wharfe, the pursuing paparazzi were not solely to blame.

“From my experience of working with Diana for nine years, every foreign holiday we went on, it wasn’t the odd paparazzi that would turn up we’re talking 60 to 70 journalists,” Wharfe explains to Yahoo UK during episode six of ‘The Royal Box’.

“It’s in their interest to keep Diana alive and any other member of the royal family. It’s their bread and butter.

“Yes some were pursuing Diana, but there weren’t, in my view, ultimately the cause of that death,” Wharfe, who guarded the princess and her sons from 1986 to 1993, says.

The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry and Prince Charles walk behind the coffin of Princess Diana at her funeral on 6 September 2018. [Photo: Getty]

In 1999, a French judicial investigation found that crash was caused by Paul – the deputy head of security at the Hôtel Ritz where the couple were staying – who was intoxicated and under the effects of prescription drugs while driving.

Paul was later found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.175 grams per 100 mL of blood, which is about 3.5 times the legal limit in France.

The inquest found that his intoxication was made worse by anti-depressants and traces of an anti-psychotics which were found in his body.

The investigation concluded that paparazzi photographers were not close to the Mercedes when it crashed.

However multiple witnesses testified that photographers climbed on to the car in which Diana, Dodi and Paul lay dying and took photos instead of helping.

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