Sgt. Xavier Gourmelon told the Daily Mail that when he arrived at the scene of the devastating crash in August 1997, Diana was still “moving and talking”.
“She spoke in English and said, ‘Oh my God, what happened?’ I could understand this, so I tried to calm her down. I held his hand, ”said Gourmelon, who has given statements to police but has never spoken to the press before.
The impact of the crash in an underpass – estimated at around 65 mph – had already instantly killed driver Henri Paul as well as Diana’s new boyfriend, Dodi Fayed.
Diana, however, looked physically OK aside from an injured shoulder, recalls Gourmelon – who had no idea he was trying to save a princess.
It wasn’t until he helped load Lady Di into an ambulance that he found out who she was from a captain at the scene. “He tells me who she is and then, yes, I recognize her, but at the time I didn’t,” he told the outlet.
This was also true for the very first person to try to help him, the doctor on leave, Frédéric Mailliez, who stumbled upon the scene of the accident on his way home from a party.
He saw “two [victims] were already apparently dead ”and two others – including Diana’s bodyguard -“ were seriously injured but still alive ”.
He first helped Diana, who was “sitting on the floor in the back” of the Mercedes.
“I discovered then that she was the most beautiful of women and that she had no [serious] facial injuries. she was not bleeding [then] but she was almost unconscious and had trouble breathing, ”he said. “She looked good for the first few minutes,” he recalls.
“So I started talking to him in English, telling him that I was a doctor and that the ambulance was on its way and that everything will be fine,” he said.
He left as soon as the rescuers took over. “And so I left the scene without knowing who I had treated,” he told the Mail.
However, the news that it was Diana was so shocking that the hospital’s chaplain, Father Yves-Marie Clochard-Bossuet, hung up several times when asked to attend. , assuming it was a prank.
He eventually rushed forward, however, remembering seeing her after she was covered with a sheet, having been pronounced dead.
“I saw her for the first time there,” he told the Mail.
“It was completely intact, with no marks, stains or makeup. Completely natural. And she was a very beautiful woman and it seemed like… you could almost talk to her, ”he said.
He immediately thought of his two young sons, Princes Harry and William, he said.
“They’re going to have to wake them up and tell them, ‘It’s over’… It’s the worst thing,” he recalls.