Princess Diana's final words to firefighter

The horrifying car accident that killed Princess Diana in 1997 shook not only her country but the world. As rumours swirled about what caused the crash, eyewitnesses came forward to share their stories. The final words they heard from the princess emphasise how tragic that fateful night was.

In one of the first detailed accounts in the wake of the accident, French doctor Frederic Mailliez said that he'd started treating Princess Diana, not realising at the time that he was in the presence of royalty. As Diana struggled to breathe, she let out cries of pain and kept repeating how much she hurt until losing consciousness, Dr. Mailliez said.

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Princess Diana
Diana and the Queen snapped in good spirits.
TETBURY, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 18: Princess Diana Resting Her Head In Her Hands Whilst Sitting On The Steps Of Her Home At Highgrove, Gloucestershire. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

The Princess of Wales rides in the passenger seat of a vintage Mercedes-Benz.

Princess Diana, Prince Harry, Prince William, Prince Charles at William's first day at Eton.
circa 1965: A young Lady Diana Spencer (1961 - 1997), later the wife of Prince Charles.
Prince Charles and his fiancee Lady Diana Spencer with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, 7th March 1981.
Prince Charles  and Lady Diana Spencer on their wedding day.
Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer on their wedding day.
Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales kissing his wife, Princess Diana (1961 - 1997), on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after their marriage.
Princess Diana on her wedding day.
(FILE PHOTO) The Prince and Princess of Wales leave St Paul's Cathedral after their wedding, 29th July 1981. She wears a wedding dress by David and Elizabeth Emmanuel and the Spencer family tiara.
A pregnant Princess of Wales joins the royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the Trooping of the Colour ceremony, June 1982. The Queen, Prince Philip, Princess Alexandra of Kent and Angus Ogilvy are among the group. 
(FILE PHOTO) The Princess of Wales attends a dinner held by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in Islamabad during her official visit to Pakistan, September 1991.
Princess Diana pictured in a tiara.

Diana looks deep in thought on her wedding day.

Princess Diana smiles for the cameras.
Princess Diana in a stylish evening gown.
Princess Diana and Prince Philip at a polo match in Windsor on July 26th , 1987.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana leave St. Mary’s Hospital in London, with Prince Harry on September 16, 1984.
Princess Diana with her sons William and Harry in 1995.
Princess Diana pictured in a stylish beret.
Princess Diana is snapped in India.
Princess Diana doing charity work.
Princess Diana holding Harry as a baby.
Princess Diana meeting members of the public.
Princess Diana poses in a bikini during a holiday.
Diana beams as she sits with William and Harry.
Princess Diana pictured with young William.
Princess Diana is seen holding hands with her two young sons William and Harry.
Princess Diana with William and Harry.
Diana with her sons in December 1995.
Diana pictured with Charles.

An adorable Prince William and Prince Harry can be seen standing beside their mother, Princess Diana, as a little girl gives flowers to the Queen Mother in 1991.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, kissing Princess Diana, Princess of Wales, at a polo match.
Diana gets involved in a parents' day race.

Diana dazzles in a green frock.

Diana and Charles pictured at a glamorous evening event.
Diana and Charles pose for a formal picture.
Charles and Diana boarding a flight.
Charles and Diana as newlyweds.
Diana sporting a casual look.

Diana wears a tartan outfit to match Charles' kilt for a trip to Scotland.

A young Diana shows off sapphire sparkler.
Diana dazzles in white frock and tiara during trip to the Middle East.
Diana pictured with baby Harry.
Diana poses for pictures with members of the public during a walkabout.
Diana and Charles enjoy a family day out.
Diana pictured alongside a stern-faced Queen.
Diana pictured alongside Princess Anne.
TETBURY, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 18: Princess Diana Resting Her Head In Her Hands Whilst Sitting On The Steps Of Her Home At Highgrove, Gloucestershire. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
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French firefighter Xavier Gourmelon revealed that his team was the first to arrive at the site of the crash. He stayed by her while she was taken out of the Mercedes, not recognising the princess either.

Before rescuers helped her out of the car, Gourmelon claimed he heard Diana say, "My God, what's happened?" before going into cardiac arrest. Gourmelon said he gave her CPR and that she seemed stable when she left in the ambulance, but he'd kept his experience a secret (except when giving evidence in Diana's inquest in 2007) until leaving the fire department because French firefighters aren't allowed to talk to the media.

Decades later, Princess Diana's legacy continues as we learn even more about her, like these secrets about Princess Diana that no one knew about until after her death.

- This article first appeared on Reader's Digest

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