Behind The Mystery Of The White Fiat In Princess Diana's Death

Diana, the former Princess of Wales, died in a car crash in Paris at the age of 36. Her death on August 31, 1997, stunned the public and inspired conspiracy theories from those who thought something more sinister was at play aside from a prosaic accident (via The Independent). The official story stated that Diana was vacationing in Paris with her boyfriend, Dodi Al Fayed. They arrived in Paris with Diana's driver and bodyguard the day before the accident. The trip started out luxurious, with yacht rides on the Mediterranean and dinner at the Ritz (via People).

On the day of the accident, Diana and Fayed got into a Mercedes-Benz with her driver, Henri Paul, at the wheel and her bodyguard in the passenger seat. They soon noticed the paparazzi were pursuing the car, and Paul drove faster to avoid them. Only two miles into the ride, the Mercedes entered the Pont de L'Alma tunnel, where an intoxicated Paul swerved to avoid hitting a white Fiat Uno and slammed head-on into a column. According to People, Paul and Fayed died instantly in the wreck, while Diana succumbed to her injuries after being transported to a hospital. Although the incident was examined with a fine-toothed comb, the whereabouts of the white Fiat remain a mystery.

Diana's Life Leading up to Her Accident

Diana Spencer was born in 1961 in Sandringham, England. In 1975, her father, Edward John Spencer, became the Earl Spencer. In 1981, she married Prince Charles – now King Charles III – with whom she had two children, Harry and William. During her time in the spotlight, Diana was known for her smart fashion sense and for bringing a youthful vibrance to the royal family (via Biography).

By the year of her fatal car accident, Diana started a new life after divorcing Charles in 1996. At this stage in her life, she was still a prominent figure in the media and gained much attention from journalists and photographers (via People). Her ongoing fame led to her being followed by the paparazzi in Paris, and her status also resulted in a thorough investigation of her death with over 1,000 witnesses interviewed. However, despite the thoroughness of the investigation, the scene lacked CCTV footage and other shreds of evidence, including testimony from whoever was behind the wheel of the Fiat Uno, per The Independent.

The Search for the Elusive White Fiat

The inquiry into Diana's death continues to this day with the release of the 2022 documentary series, "Investigating Diana: Death in Paris." For the film, the French investigators who were involved with the case said that they were frustrated by the lack of evidence of the white Fiat Uno's location. They lamented that the driver could have helped illuminate the movements of the Mercedes that Diana was in as it went out of control. A leader in the investigation, Martine Monteil, expressed her wish for " ... a well-finished business" in this matter. While Monteil acknowledged that many conspiracy theories surround the case, the driver of the Fiat is not implicated in Diana's death (via The Independent).

The vehicle's presence at the scene was reported by two witnesses who saw it exiting the tunnel with a male driver looking intently into the car's mirrors. The witnesses also said that the man had short hair, dark skin, and a muzzled dog with him. In addition, investigators found physical evidence of the car's existence because the Mercedes — which had a slight run-in with the Fiat — had traces of white paint on it along with a shattered taillight. Although investigators felt that they covered all of their bases in 1997, they suggested that the white Fiat remains as the case's single loose end (via The Independent).