Princess Diana’s driver recalled the “very emotional day” she died, admitting he’s always felt a sense of guilt for not driving her the day of the fatal crash.
The princess and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed were killed in August 1997 when their car crashed in a tunnel while trying to dodge paparazzi in France. Colin Tebbutt had become a top aide and close confidante of Diana’s in the two years he worked for her, but he was not behind the wheel the night of her death.
“Yes, you always do (feel responsible),” Tebutt told Good Morning Britain during his first live television interview. “That’s not good to have in the mind.”
Henri Paul had been driving the princess the day of the fatal accident. He was deputy head of security at a Paris hotel and was off-duty the night he was called back in to drive Diana and Fayed home. A 2008 inquest revealed he was drunk at the time. Speed was also a factor in the crash.
Tebutt held back tears as he recalled tending to different matters in Diana’s room after receiving the phone call about her accident. He arrived at Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital shortly after she died.
“It’s very difficult and emotional to see a person lying in a bed and not in a mortuary,” he said, explaining how he lined the windows with blankets so people outside wouldn’t be able to see in.
“I went and got some fans to cool the room down. As I turned around the eyelashes and hair of the princess were moving caused by the fan and that just struck me,” he told the talk show hosts. “I had to turn away, think about it and then grip myself back and get on with what I was doing.”
Tebutt continued on to discuss Princess Diana’s “tremendous sense of humor” and said she always treated her employees with kindness.
“I never had a cross word in two years,” he said.
And while she was known as the “People’s Princess” Tebutt said there “was a line.”
“You don’t cross that line,” he said. “You speak to her when you’re spoken to, which was correct. She was still very much a royal.”
Send a Letter to the Editor