Free - 1800 English Grammar questions from Cambridge
News - Politics

Princess Diana's driver breaks his 20-year silence on Paris crash

Colin Tebbutt, one of Princess Diana's most trusted aides, went to her hospital room in Paris in 1997 and found himself taking care of practicalities such as keeping down the room temperature.

Princess Diana's driver today revealed how he wished he had been driving on the night she died in a car crash 20 years ago.

Colin Tebbutt, who was one of her most trusted aides, went to her hospital room in Paris shortly after her death and found himself taking care of practicalities.

He lined the windows with blankets so people could not see in and brought in fans to lower the temperature in the stifling room following her death in August 1997.

Princess Diana's driver Colin Tebbutt today told ITV's Good Morning Britain how he wished he had been driving on the night she died in a car crash 20 years ago

Along with Paul Burrell, Mr Tebbutt had to set up a make-shift morgue when he went to collect her body from the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in the French capital.  

And Mr Tebbutt told ITV's Good Morning Britain of the crash: 'I think they went in too fast but in the inquest that was sorted out, I've driven through the tunnel myself.'

Speaking about seeing Diana in hospital, he added: 'It's very difficult and emotional to see a person lying in a bed and not in a mortuary.

'I went and got some fans to cool the room down. As I turned around, the eyelashes and hair of the princess were moving caused by the fan and that just struck me. 

'I had to turn away, think about it and then grip myself back and get on with what I was doing.' 

Mr Tebbutt (right) appeared on Good Morning Britain today alongside (from left) presenters Charlotte Hawkins, Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway

CCTV showing the final hours of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed at the Ritz in Paris in 1997

Mr Tebbutt, who was in bed when he first heard about the crash in a phone call, said the Princess was 'very royal', adding: 'There was a line. You don't cross that line.'

Diana, pictured in 1992, died in a car crash in Paris 20 years ago in August 1997

But he insisted Diana also had 'a tremendous sense of humour' and treated her staff with respect. 'I never had a cross word in two years,' Mr Tebbutt said. 

Mr Tebbutt talked on camera for the first time about what happened for the Channel 5 documentary, Diana: 7 Days That Shook The Windsors, in May.

In that programme, he said: 'I was worried about the room, which was very, very hot. We looked up at the window above the Princess's bed and could see people on rooftops, trying to take photos.

'It didn't seem as if they knew which room to look for at that stage, and I asked for blankets to hang up at the window, so nobody could see in.'

This made the room even hotter, so Tebbutt placed fans all around the Princess's body to keep her cool.

'I noticed her hair was moving — which was the breeze from the fans of course — but for just a fraction of a second I thought, 'Is she alive?' which was a silly thing to think.

'Having been on top of everything until then, I had to turn away and take 30 seconds to myself, as a personal emotional moment.' 

ADS

LATER