Today is the 25th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash in Paris, France at the age of 36 back in 1997. Now, it’s been revealed that Diana was so shaken by the murder of the fashion Gianni Versace one month before her own death that she asked her bodyguard, “do you think they’re going to kill me?”
today marks 25 years since Princess Diana passed away ? pic.twitter.com/xLkhRgeS46
— pop culture moments (@notgwendalupe) August 31, 2022
Fox News reported that Versace was gunned down on the steps of his mansion in Miami in July of 1997 at the age of 50. He was shot twice in the head at point-blank range by Andrew Cunanan, who was suspected of killing four other gay men in locations all over the country.
Diana had been friends with Versace, so his death hit her and her security team hard. When she heard about his murder, she was vacationing in Saint-Tropez with her boyfriend, Egyptian millionaire film producer Dodi Al Fayed. Her divorce from Prince Charles had been finalized the year before.
“The security team was chatting about it, as everyone was in security,” recalled Lee Sansum, a bodyguard employed by Al Fayed’s father, Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed. “At that time, we thought it had been a professional hit by the way it had been done. It subsequently turned out that it wasn’t.”
Sansum went on to say that he was on a yacht with Diana when she was told of Versace’s death.
“I went to the stern of the boat,” Sansum recounted. “The princess was there in this quite large room with all the windows at the back. So you could see over the sea. She was the only one there, and she had her back to me. When I went in, I turned around, and she was crying. She came towards me, and she was talking about Versace. She was extremely upset. And then she was asking me what [I thought] had happened. I was speaking to her, trying to play it down a lot. And she was really, really tearful.”
Sansum has never forgotten what Diana asked him next.
“She asked me, ‘Do you think they’re going to kill me?’” Sansum alleged. “She was very, very concerned about the potential risks to her life at that time. I said, ‘You’re safe here. You’ve got great security. We’re not going to let anything happen to you.’ [I] just tried to give her some confidence that she was safe… She stopped crying, but she was really upset… [And] I made a quick exit.”
The “they” Diana was referring to was likely either the royal family or those surrounding them. She’d been giving candid interviews about the royals after her marriage to Charles collapsed, and they likely saw her as a liability to them.
Diana Wanted To Relocate To The U.S.
Sansum described Diana as being someone who came off “as a normal person, just like you and I,” which proved to be “a breath of fresh air.” After being hounded by paparazzi relentlessly in Europe, Diana reportedly wanted to relocate to the U.S. and “get away from it all.”
“Dodi had a place out in California,” Sansum explained. “We were under the impression that’s where she was going. Not necessarily to stay with him but in the same area. Prior to the trip, we understood that there would be work out there as well. I put my name down to go to the states. I’ve got a lot of family in the states. I thought it’d be a great opportunity for me to go there, but obviously, that didn’t turn out.”
“She spoke to me about moving to the states,” he added. “She said that the press hated her in the UK. She didn’t know why, but in the states, people loved her there, the press loved her there. She felt safe there. She felt welcomed there. And that’s where she had to go. I then asked her, ‘What about the boys? Will you be able to take them with you?’ She said, ‘No, they will never let me do that. I’ll just have to see them during school time, school holidays, vacations, things like that.’”
Diana and Dodi were sadly killed weeks after this vacation on August 31, 1997, when their car crashed while they were being chased by paparazzi.
It’s hard to believe that it’s really been a quarter century since Diana left this earth, but she is still missed by millions of people to this day. It’s sad to see that she was clearly so stressed in the weeks leading up to her passing, but we can all find comfort in the fact that she is now at peace.