The late princess suffered a small punctured vein in her lung in the crash, but forensic pathologist Dr Richard Sheperd said she could have easily survived if circumstances were different. Dr Shepherd said Diana‘s injury was just in the “wrong place” and if she was hit at a different angle, or with slightly less force, she would not have died. Writing in the Daily Mail, he said: “Diana’s was a very small injury – but in the wrong place. Diana’s death is a classic example of the way we say, after almost every death: if only.
“If only she had hit the seat in front at a slightly different angle. If only she had been thrown forward 10mph more slowly.
“If only she had been put in an ambulance immediately. But the biggest if only, in Diana’s case, was within her own control.”
If Princess Diana was wearing a seat belt at the time, there was a high chance she would not have died in the crash, Dr Shepherd said.
He added: ”If only she had been wearing a seat belt. Had she been restrained, she would probably have appeared in public two days later with a black eye, perhaps a bit breathless from the fractured ribs and with a broken arm in a sling.
“The pathology of her death is, I believe, indisputable. But around that tiny, fatal tear in a pulmonary vein are woven many other facts, some of which are sufficiently opaque to allow a multitude of theories to blossom.”
The late princess did not suffer many injuries in the crash apart from a few broken bones and a small chest injury – but it was a tiny punctured vein in her lungs that killed her.
In 2004, UK’s top forensic pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd was called to give evidence for Operation Paget – a major inquiry involving Princess Diana’s death.
The police inquiry was led by Sir John Stevens in a bid to debunk the various conspiracy theories surrounding Diana’s death.
Following the crash, Diana was able to communicate with emergency services after the crash, but lost consciousness in the ambulance and suffered a cardiac arrest.
Doctors soon realised she had a punctured vein in her lungs, and Diana underwent a major operation but ended up dying in surgery.
Speaking about her injury, Dr Shepherd said: “Veins, of course, are not subject to the same high-pressure pumping as arteries.
“They bleed much more slowly. In fact, they bleed so slowly that identifying the problem is hard enough. And, if it is identified, repairing it is even harder.
“Her specific injury is so rare that in my entire career I don’t believe I’ve seen another.”
There were four victims in the accident, driver Henri Paul, Diana, her boyfriend Dodi Fayed, and bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, who was seated next to the driver and in front of the princess.
Mr Rees-Jones was the only survivor in the crash, and was the only one wearing his seatbelt.
Dr Shepherd said Diana’s position in the car made her less vulnerable than the other passengers, who ended up absorbing more force from the crash.
Speaking about the accident, Dr Shepherd wrote in the Daily Mail: “Diana was slightly more fortunate because their bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, was sitting in front of her and he was strapped in.
“She was much lighter than Dodi and Rees-Jones’s belt would have absorbed some of the extra force. This slightly lessened the energy of the impact for her.”
Princess Diana died in a car crash at the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel in Paris, France, 1997.