Twenty years after her death, Diana’s butler Paul Burrell says he still gets chills when he reads the Princess' disturbing prediction of her own death.
Paul revealed the original letters for the first time in an exclusive Sunday Night interview with Melissa Doyle.
“I have never shown them before and I’m a bit reluctant to show them to you now because they’re my little personal treasures and it’s her thoughts to me,” Paul said.
The letter was written nine months before Diana’s fatal car crash in Paris and predicts a car accident staged by her husband, Prince Charles.
“This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous; my husband is planning an accident in my car, brake failure and serious head injury in order to make the path clear for him to marry,” the Princess wrote in late 1996.
Diana trusted the information to Paul, who served her at Kensington Palace through the 1980s and 1990s.
“This particular letter is rather poignant because it is rather spooky thinking that she saw and prophesied her own death,” Paul said.
But the thoughts weren’t Diana’s alone. The princess had spoken to several psychics who planted the idea of the deadly plot.
“Some of these thoughts did come from mystics and psychics but you can’t get away from the fact that she actually wrote it, she actually took time and bothered to write down what her fears and feelings were,” Paul said.
Just after midnight on August 31, 1997, Diana was captured on CCTV leaving the Ritz Hotel with her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed.
Dodi’s billionaire father, Mohamed Al-Fayed, owned the Ritz and it was one of his employees, Henri Paul, who jumped behind the wheel of the car.
With Diana and Dodi in the backseat and Dodi’s bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, in the passenger seat, Henri sped away from the hotel in an attempt to elude the waiting paparazzi.
Just nine minutes later, Henri lost control of the car and crashed into the 13th pillar of the Pont de l’Alma underpass.
Police investigations concluded that he was drunk at the time of the crash and travelling at three times the speed limit.
Both he and Dodi died instantly. Trevor survived, but Diana suffered devastating internal injuries.
Three and a half hours after the crash, Diana’s death was formally announced.
When Paul heard the news he, like the rest of world, struggled to comprehend what had happened.
“No, that is not true, that’s not happened, why are you telling me this? It took literally three or four minutes for the truth to sink in,” he said.
Paul immediately flew to Paris to be with Diana and make arrangements to bring her back to London.
“The princess was lying on a bed and she was covered by a white sheet to the neck and to the ankles and I approached the bed and I held her hand and she was warm, so I thought, ‘she’s sleeping, she is not dead, this isn’t a dead person in front of me’,” Paul said.
“So I kept telling her to wake up and I started to shake her hand, ‘wake up, come on, wake up’… and I realised that she wasn’t going to wake up and then the flood gates opened, because I realised that I lost my friend.”
Within hours, the loss of Diana was felt around the world.
More than two billion people watched Diana’s funeral on television, as 15-year-old William and 12-year-old Harry marched stoically behind their mother’s coffin.
“We should’ve looked after her better,” Paul said.
“Shame on us for not appreciating what we had. Diana was the jewel in the crown, without doubt. We didn’t appreciate her while we had her and at 36 – that’s no age to die.”