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1997: Diana, Princess of Wales, dies in Paris

The Story


Her death shocks Canada and the world. On August 31, 1997, Princess Diana is killed in a car crash in Paris. Princess Diana and her companion, Dodi Al-Fayed, were on their way to a private villa across the River Seine after a romantic dinner. When the driver attempts to shake the paparazzi in pursuit of Princess Diana, the world's most photographed woman, her Mercedes speeds fatally out of control. All across the world, people react with disbelief, tears and anger that a real-life, modern-day princess has died. A spontaneous and collective outpouring of grief also reverberates in Canada. From Brian and Mila Mulroney to ordinary Canadians, the response is one of collective sadness. The world had watched Princess Di blossom from a 19-year-old blushing bride, to an assured divorced mother of two, to a tireless and devoted activist. Her ability to sympathize and connect with everyday people, which earned her the nickname, "the People's Princess," is undeniable as the world mourns her death.

Medium: Television
Program: Sunday Report
Broadcast Date: Aug. 31, 1997
Host: Wendy Mesley
Reporter: Nancy Durham, Ian Hanomansing
Duration: 6:56

Did You know?


• Diana Frances Spencer was born on Canada Day, July 1, 1961 in her father's house on the Queen's private estate of Sandringham.

• By the time of the accident, the street value of an original grainy photograph of Diana with Al Fayed had reached six figures.

• Two billion people watched Princess Diana's funeral on TV.

• Her funeral service at Westminster Abbey was attended by 1,400 dignitaries, including Queen Elizabeth II and her family. It was the largest gathering of royalty since the funeral of the queen's father, King George VI, in 1952.

• Diana once said she wanted to be a sort of ambassador, "a queen of people's hearts."

• Diana Spencer was buried at her family estate in Northamptonshire.


Also on August 31:
1955: The Church of England in Canada changes its name to the Anglican Church of Canada.
1976: Carallyn Bowes becomes the first woman to run across Canada. It takes her 133 days to run from Halifax N.S. to Burnaby, B.C., wearing out 13 pairs of shoes.
1988: The House of Commons gives final approval to implement the Canada-U.S. free trade agreement by a vote of 177 to 64.


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