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Princess Diana and Meghan Markle – Does the Press Need to Calm Down?

In a tell-all interview with Oprah, Prince Harry explained the similarities between the experiences of his wife, Meghan Markle and his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. He mentioned that they both dealt with lack of security as well as contempt from UK tabloids and other media outlets. He did not want “history repeating itself,” saying “I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side.” How does the press fit into the picture? Here is a refresher on Princess Diana’s tragic, fatal accident for those who don’t know. 

What happened to Princess Diana?

  • For months before her death, Diana was always on newspapers’ front pages and constantly followed around by paparazzi. 
  • The hounding was due to a combination of her divorce with Charles, Prince of Wales, in Aug. 1996, and her rumored boyfriend, Emad “Dodi” Al Fayed, in 1997.
  • On Aug. 31, 1997, Diana and Dodi were in Paris after a 10-day vacation on the French Riviera. A few minutes after midnight, they left their hotel and stepped into a Mercedes Benz. 
  • Right before the crash, the driver, Henri Paul, was believed to have driven at 70 mph when the posted speed limit was 30 mph. 
  • A statement from the French authorities says that Paul’s blood exceeded the legal blood-alcohol limit. 
  • Also, according to bystanders, the Mercedes was being chased by paparazzi in cars and on motorcycles.
  • Henri crashed into a concrete pillar right outside of the Pont de l’Alma tunnel. 
  • The car crash instantly killed Dodi Fayed and their driver, Henri Paul. 
  • Diana, still alive, was rushed to the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital but passed away at 4:53 am. 
  • The sole survivor was Trevor Rees-Jones, Dodi’s bodyguard.
  • After the incident, Stephane Darmon, one of many paparazzi present at the scene, stated that paparazzi took photos instead of helping the car’s riders. Allegedly, no one called for help.

Did the media learn a lesson?

At Diana’s funeral in Sept. 1997, her younger brother, Charles Spencer, blamed the media for her death, describing Diana as “the most hunted person of the modern age.” Regarding her children, Harry and William, Charles said, “We will not allow them to suffer the anguish used regularly to drive you to tearful despair.” Unfortunately, the media’s torment continued for them. What do these situations say about the media? Should the press change the way it treats celebrities?

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