New book says Diana, Dodi planned to marry
Says doomed Mercedes collided with Fiat before entering tunnel
February 7, 1998
Web posted at: 4:50 p.m. EST (2150 GMT)
(CNN) -- Britain's Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed had decided
to marry in the fall of 1997, a plan tragically thwarted by
the August car crash that took their lives, according to a
The book, "Death of a Princess," was written by Time magazine
correspondents Tom Sancton and Scott MacLeod and is based on
dozens of new interviews, including conversations with
Mohammed al-Fayed, Dodi Fayed's father, who until now has
been largely silent about the deaths.
The book will be the subject of CNN's "Impact" newsmagazine
on Sunday at 10 p.m. EST. The program also will feature an
interview with al-Fayed.
"I think they're living in heaven, I'm sure. In peace, with
no paparazzi and no problems," al-Fayed says in the
According to the book, which is also being excerpted in Time
magazine, Dodi Fayed was insistent that he and Diana return
to his Paris apartment on the night of the accident because
he was going to formally propose marriage to her.
He had instructed his butler to put champagne on ice and had
an engagement ring in the apartment that he and Diana had
picked out together eight days earlier, the book says.
In "Death of a Princess," Sancton and MacLeod also cast new
light on the crash that killed Fayed and Diana.
According to an independent investigation by a French traffic
engineer conducted for the book, the Mercedes carrying the
couple, driven by Henri Paul, collided with a
still-unidentified white Fiat Uno before it got inside the
traffic tunnel where the accident occurred.
The Mercedes hit the Uno as it was overtaking the smaller
car, while traveling 75 to 100 miles per hour (120 to 160
km/h.) It then began braking, went into a skid and hit a
pillar in the tunnel while going about 60 mph (96 km/h), the
Paul also died in the crash. The sole survivor was bodyguard
The book also offers other revelations about the tragedy:
- Under French emergency medical protocols, Diana was treated
at the scene and didn't get to an operating room for an hour
and 40 minutes, raising questions about whether the princess
might have survived if she had gotten to the hospital sooner.
- Before the crash, Paul had two drinks at the Ritz Hotel in
full view of Dodi Fayed's two bodyguards. One told police he
thought Paul was drinking pineapple juice, but the drink was
actually a liqueur called Ricard, mixed with water.
- Tests after the crash showed Paul was legally drunk at the
time of the crash, which investigators say likely contributed
to the accident.
- Al-Fayed says he has not ruled out a conspiracy as being
the cause of the crash. And during a conversation with
"Impact," he showed cufflinks belonging to Diana's late
father, the Earl Spencer, which he says she gave to Dodi
Fayed on their final day together as a sign that they would
be together "forever."