Bristol shares memories of Princess Diana’s tragic death 25 years ago today

Where were you on the day Diana died 25 years ago today?

People in Bristol have shared their memories of Princess Diana’s tragic death 25 years ago today.

Diana died in the early hours of August 31, 1997, after her car crashed in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris.

Diana’s partner, Dodi Fayed, and driver Henri Paul were also pronounced dead at the scene and their bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, was badly injured but survived the crash.

On the 25th anniversary of her death, Bristol World readers have been reminiscing about what they were doing when they heard the tragic news.

Like Elvis Presley in 1977 and, for older readers, President John F. Kennedy in 1963, Diana’s death is something people never forget and they remember where they were and what they were doing at the time.

A nation mourned on this day 25 years ago and whether you were in Bristol or somewhere else, it’s more than likely that event is etched on your memory.

Diana, Princess of Wales, smiles on a visit to Gloucestershire County Cricket Club in Bristol in April 1986

The princess had visited Bristol on several occasions. In 1989, she visited Ham Green Hospital and the Bristol Royal Infirmary in aid of the British Lung Foundation Diana, as well as Gloucestershire’s cricket ground in Bristol to unveil a plaque to commemorate 100 years of cricket at the County Ground.

Before that, in November 1983, Princess Diana visited Colston’s School in the city and in May 1987, she opened a community centre on Whitehall Road in Bristol. She had also visited Southmead Hospital and the Children’s Hospital.

The morning after her death in 1997, flowers and cards were laid outside Bristol Cathedral, where a special service was held.

Diana, Princess of Wales, visits Colston’s School in Bristol, on November 19, 1983

A book of condolence was opened at the Council House - now City Hall - for local people to share their thoughts and memories of Diana.

For Bristol World reader Jane Catley, the news of Diana’s death is clearly still fresh despite it being 25 years ago.

“I was at home in Bristol having breakfast with our French friends who were visiting,” she says. “They kept apologising for the tragedy that had happened in their country. It was a very poignant time.”

Kenny Dyson was at home when the news came through. “I watched the updates all day,” he recalls. “As with 911, we all couldn’t believe it had happened and assumed it was a mistake.”

For Jacky Baker, the death of Diana is forever etched on her memory as it marked the passing of a close relative: “I was in work when the news came through about the Princess and then I had a phone call to say my nan had passed - a day I will never forget.”

Angie O’Gramm says: “I got picked up by my father and brother to go for Sunday dinner and they told me what had happened. I remember thinking this was absolutely terrible - I knew right then and there that there wouldn’t be anything else on the news for at least a week.”

Bristol World reader Jacqueline Rainbow remembers being on holiday at Mawgan Porth. She says: “Our toddler was awake at silly o’clock so I got up to entertain her, turned on the TV and heard it announced. I went into the bedroom and told my husband. I could hardly believe people were so ‘normal’ when we went to Flambards later. It seemed surreal.”