The first 24 hours after the death of Princess Diana saw a flurry of unprecedented activity across the globe as her family, fans and friends reacted to her sudden and tragic demise.
Immediate practicalities, such as informing the mother-of-two’s young sons of her death and bringing her body back to Britain, fell to her former husband the Prince of Wales.
Within 12 hours the Prince, whose divorce from Diana had been finalised in August 1996, flew to Paris with her sisters Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes.
Prime Minister Tony Blair, who had been in the job for only a few months, harnessed public feeling by paying tribute to “the people’s princess.” Meanwhile what would become a veritable ocean of flowers had started growing at the gates of Kensington Palace as Britain grieved for its favourite royal.
Here’s how things unfolded
00.25: The Mercedes crashes into the 13th pillar of the Alma tunnel at 120mph, killing Paul and Fayed. Rees-Jones and the princess are seriously injured. Photographer Romauld Rat arrives within seconds to be the first on the scene.
00.28-00.30: First two police officers arrive and start to cordon off the accident from gathering paparazzi.
00.32: Fire engine and ambulances arrive. Eight paparazzi are arrested at the scene and taken in for questioning.
00.54: French news agencies report Diana has been seriously injured in a car crash in which another person has died.
00.58: Reuters cites police sources as claiming Diana has been seriously injured in a car crash.
01.15: Police confirm Fayed and the driver were killed in the accident, Reuters reports. A spokesman says a fourth person, one of the princess’s bodyguards was injured and has been freed from the wreckage.
01.25: One hour after the crash, Princess Diana’s ambulance leaves for hospital. She has already suffered a heart attack.
01.54: AP files copy stating Diana has been seriously injured in the crash and that Fayed, as well as their chauffeur has been killed.
01.55: Princess Diana’s ambulance stops for five minutes so medics can inject adrenaline into her body.
02.06: The ambulance arrives at Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital. She receives open heart massage for almost two hours.
02.18: PA reports Diana has been seriously injured and that Fayed and their driver has been killed. It tells of a “high-speed pursuit” ending in the fatal crash.
02.37: Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary release a statement to say they are “very concerned” about the accident, Reuters reports.
03.03: Prime Minister Tony Blair is woken to be informed of the accident, a Downing Street spokesman tells PA. Government sources tell the agency Sir Michael Jay, the British Ambassador in Paris has taken control of the situation “in regards to the well-being” of the princess.
03.07: Mohammed Fayed’s spokesman Michael Cole says the Harrods owner is on his way to Paris by helicopter. He does not confirm reports his employer’s son has died.
03.11: British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook tells reporters in Manila: “I think it will be doubly tragic if it does emerge that this accident was in part caused by the persistent hounding the princess and her privacy by photographers.”
03.23: Reports from AFP and Radio France Info claim Diana is suffering from concussion, a broken arm and cuts to one of her thighs.
03.47: Prince Charles is telephoned at the Royal Family’s summer home in Balmoral to be informed Diana has been injured in an accident, Reuters reports. A spokesman says: “We are aware of this awful accident but we are awaiting further details about what has happened.”
04.00: Princess Diana is declared dead (03.00 BST.)
04.41: The Press Association issues the following newsflash: Diana, Princess of Wales, has died according to British sources.
04.43: Citing Sky sources, Reuters reports Princess Diana has died.
04.43: AP reports Princess Diana has died, citing the Press Association.
04.50: Reuters cites a French Foreign Minister as confirming Diana has died.
04.59: Doctors tell a news conference at the hospital that Diana died after going into cardiac arrest.
05.25: Buckingham Palace publicly confirms the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. BBC Radio’s Andrew Crawford reported: “The Queen and Prince Philip are deeply shocked and distressed by this terrible news. Other members of the Royal Family are being informed of the Princess’s death.”
06:30: Fayed arrives at the hospital wearing dark glasses.
06.45: BBC Royal Correspondent Jennie Bond, spirited back to London from a family holiday in Devon, begins broadcasting live.
07.15: Prince Charles wakes up William and tells him his mother has died. Together they go to 12-year-old Harry’s room to give him the news.
10.15: Tony Blair gives his now famous ‘People’s Princess’ speech outside a church in his Sedgefield constituency in the rain. The new Prime Minister’s address, scribbled on the back of an envelope, was watched by millions.
11.00: Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer gives a statement outside his South Africa home, stating: “I always believed the press would kill her in the end. Not even I would imagine that they would take such a direct hand in her death as seems to be the case.”
11.25: The Royal Family arrives at Crathie Church near Balmoral to attend their regular Sunday service.
12.00: Hundreds of bouquets begin appearing at the gates of Kensington Palace.
16.00: Prince Charles flies to Paris on a private plane with Diana’s sisters Lady Jane and Lady Sarah.
17.40: Charles, Jane and Sarah arrive at the hospital where the 36-year-old’s body lies. They are met by French President Jacques Chirac and his wife Bernadette.
18.10: Diana’s coffin is placed in a hearse and driven to an airfield in Paris.
19.00: Prince Charles’s plane, carrying the body of Princess Diana, arrives at RAF Northold airbase where he is met by Prime Minister Blair.