Trevor Rees-Jones: The Only Survivor of Princess Diana’s Fatal Car Accident
It's a miracle that Trevor Rees-Jones made it out alive.
The sole survivor of a tragic accident
At half-past midnight on August 31, 1997, a black Mercedes crashed into a concrete pillar outside the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris. The world mourned Princess Diana’s death in the wake of the crash, with Princess Diana’s funeral being held on September 6, 1997. However, it’s easy to forget that she wasn’t the only victim. Driver Henri Paul and Diana’s boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, also lost their lives that night. Only one passenger came out alive: Trevor Rees-Jones, Fayed’s bodyguard. Here’s what we know about him, the Princess Diana conspiracy theories that involve him, and his life after the accident.
Who is Trevor Rees-Jones?
Trevor Rees-Jones was born on March 3rd, 1968 in Germany. As an adult, he enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment and served in Northern Ireland. He began working as private security for the Fayed family in 1995.
What happened to Trevor Rees-Jones in the crash?
Rees-Jones was assigned to guard Dodi Fayed during the summer of 1997 and was in the car with Princess Diana, Fayed, and Paul when it crashed. In the front passenger seat of the car, Rees-Jones had the protection of an airbag, though, like the other passengers, he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. Still, he didn’t come out unscathed. His face was crushed beyond recognition, the bones turned to powder. It took 150 pieces of titanium to reconstruct his face, and he was put into a coma for ten days as doctors worked on that surgery, plus a broken wrist and chest injuries. It was a miracle he survived. Don’t miss these moving photos of Kensington Palace after Princess Diana’s death.
Trevor Rees-Jones and Princess Diana conspiracy theories
In the wake of the crash, rumors and conspiracy theories began to emerge about why the accident happened and whether it could have been prevented—and Rees-Jones wasn’t immune from the finger-pointing. Critics argued he shouldn’t have let a supposedly visibly drunk Paul drive; he should have insisted Diana and Fayed wear seatbelts; he should have told Paul to slow down. Rees-Jones himself had little recollection of the fateful night’s events, the head trauma having caused amnesia. Meanwhile, Fayed’s father insisted Rees-Jones was lying about memory loss to avoid blame.
What happened to Trevor Rees-Jones after the accident?
Given the strain with Fayed’s father after the crash, Rees-Jones quit his job with the family the year after the accident. He moved back to Shropshire county with his mom and step-father, working at a friend’s sportswear store.
At first, Rees kept the few memories he had of the tragedy to himself. To this day, he’s given few interviews, though he did publish a book in 2000, The Bodyguard’s Story: Diana, the Crash, and the Sole Survivor, putting his side on the record once and for all. One of his few recollections of that night was a woman’s voice (presumably Diana’s) moaning “Dodi,” though he couldn’t say for sure if it was a real or false memory. Most of the reported £1 million ($1.5 million) he made from the book deal went toward legal fees for lawsuits led by Fayed’s dad. In the 2008 inquest of Princess Diana’s death, though, it was concluded that Paul’s drunk driving and speeding—not actions by Rees-Jones, who police said was telling the truth—were to blame for the accident.
Where is Trevor Rees-Jones now?
Rees-Jones (who dropped the Jones from his last name and now goes by Rees) later worked in Iraq, where he was living during the inquest, but the latest reports say he and his wife are in Shropshire, where he works as a security consultant and plays rugby with a local team. Find out about the secrets about Princess Diana no one knew until after her death.