"Queen of hearts"

In Their Own Words

"I'd like to be the Queen of people's hearts..."

"It sounded like a huge gunshot..."

"We were walking along the Seine river and we heard a huge explosion. It sounded like a huge gunshot. We knew it was a screech and then a - it sounded like an explosion and after that we heard another screech and another hard explosion and it sounded like a car crash.

"We ran to the scene. We went down under the bridge...I was the first one down in the tunnel and my girlfriend and three other tourists stopped at the entrance of the tunnel and were slowing traffic down because the traffic was going about sixty miles an hour and they were gonna hit the Princess Di's car, so I and another gentleman ran into the tunnel to see if we could help anybody get out of the car."

Tourists among the first on the scene at the crash.

"I tilted her head upwards, and I helped her breathe..."

"I saw that an accident had just occurred. The horn was sounding. There was smoke - it was probably coming from the airbags...I saw that there were two dead and two seriously injured people. I returned to my car to call the emergency services, give them a first medical report, and pick up some equipment. Then I returned to give help.

"A volunteer rescue worker was already helping the front passenger sitting next to the driver, who turned out to be the body guard. I helped the young woman who was at the back, and who turned out to be Lady Di. I did not recognize her at first.

"I helped her - what is called freeing the upper respiratory tract. She was like that [head bent forward] and unconscious. She was moaning, she was gesticulating a lot. In such a posture, when one is unconscious, one cannot breathe. I tilted her head upwards, and I helped her breathe with an oxygen mask.

"There were many photographers. There were between 10 and 15 photographers who were snapping away nonstop at me and at the car."

Dr Frederic Mailliez, the first doctor to reach the scene.

"They were doing these close-ups..."

"They were doing these close-ups, snapping as many photographs as they could, from every conceivable angle...

"It was very chaotic. It was very jungle-like, with photographers just hopping around all over the place, with one of them literally walking around the police officers and lying right on the windshield of the car taking pictures of someone who I now realise would have been the Princess."

Jack and Robin Firestone, an American couple witnessing the aftermath

"Circulation could not be re-established..."

"The Princess of Wales was the victim of a high speed traffic accident in Paris tonight. She was immediately treated by the Paris SAMU [emergency services] who carried out the initial resuscitation.

"On her arrival at Pitie-Salpetriere hospital, she had severe haemorrhaging as a result of chest injuries, followed rapidly by cardiac arrest. An emergency thoracotomy revealed a serious wound to the left pulmonary vein. Despite closing this wound and external and internal cardiac massage lasting two hours, circulation could not be re-established and death occurred at 0400."

Professor Bruno Rioux, the head of the Intensive Care Unit at Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris

"The chauffeur lost control..."

"The facts are - it's difficult to say the following things - it seems that the Princess of Wales and Monsieur al-Fayed had arrived on Saturday afternoon in Paris for a private visit.

"This Sunday, 31st August, a little after one in the morning in the tunnel of the Pont Alma bridge, the car carrying four people, including the Princess of Wales and Monsieur al-Fayed, was involved in a serious accident. Monsieur al-Fayed and the chauffeur were killed on the spot despite aid that was provided to them.

"According to initial reports that we have had, the car carrying the princess was being followed by journalists who were trying to take photographs. It seems that the chauffeur lost control of his vehicle which was travelling very fast.

"The criminal department of the police has been put in charge of investigations. Several witnesses are currently being heard."

The French Interior Minister Jean-Pierre Chevenement speaking at a hospital news conference

"The Queen and Prince Philip were deeply shocked..."

"...and now at twenty-past five there is an official announcement. Here's Andrew Crawford: "This is BBC Radio. Buckingham Palace has confirmed the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. In a statement it said that the Queen and Prince Philip were deeply shocked and distressed by this terrible news. Other members of the Royal Family are being informed of the Princess's death.""

BBC Radio announcement

"I always believed the press would kill her in the end..."

"....This is not a time for recriminations but for sadness. However I would say that I always believed the press would kill her in the end. But not even I could imagine that they would take such a direct hand in her death as seems to be the case.

"It would appear that every proprietor and editor of every publication that has paid for intrusive and exploitative photographs of her, encouraging greedy, ruthless individuals to risk everything in pursuit of Diana's image has blood on his hands today."

Princess Diana's brother, Earl Spencer

"She was the people's princess..."

"...I feel like everyone else in this country today - utterly devastated. Our thoughts and prayers are with Princess Diana's family in particular her two sons the two boys. Our hearts go out to them. We are today a nation in Britain in a state of shock, in mourning, in grief, that is so deeply painful for us...

"You know how difficult things were for her from time to time. I'm sure we can only guess at it but the people everywhere they kept faith with Princess Diana - they liked her, loved her, they regarded her as one of the people. She was the people's princess. And that's how she will remain in our hearts and in our memories for ever."

Tony Blair, the British prime minister

"She saved me. She's the only one who saved me..."

"....She saved me. She's the only one who saved me. I just couldn't believe it. I thought, well she's done her job. She's done something nice for somebody. I won't hear from her again. It is not (very many times) you'll get (something like that.)

"The next thing I know I received two letters from Centrepoint (hostel) forwarded to my address, actually from herself, asking me if I am OK, if I am working...the kindness that she gave me, the way she listened to me, that way she spoke, the way she had tears in her eyes when I told her about the abuse (I had suffered).

"And that is why I made this tribute for her. All right, it is not a lot - but it means a lot to me, and it says a lot."

Vincent Seabrook, laying flowers at Kensington Palace. Two years earlier, the Princess had come to him with food when he was homeless and begging.

"The American people send their condolences..."

"...We liked her very much. We admired her work for children, for people with Aids, for the cause of ending the scourge of landmines in the world, and for her love for her children William and Harry. And I know that this is a very difficult time for millions of people in the United Kingdom who are deeply shocked and grieving, and the American people send their condolences to all of them."

President Clinton

"Even gold passes through the fire..."

"...Because you put your faith in God you are under the protection of His power until the salvation now in readiness is revealed at the end of time. This is cause for great joy, even though for a little while you may have had to suffer trials of many kinds. Even gold passes through the fire and much more precious than perishable gold is faith which stands the test."

Canon Michael Saward at a Remembrance service in St Paul's Cathedral

"From her own vulnerability she manifested her strength...."

"....We've lost a vibrant, lovely young person. The word passion seemed to sum her up - a commitment to people, to issues, causes. For example the first time I met her was through her association with the leprosy mission. Her concern for the lepers, then again through Aids - she and I had many conversations about helping the vulnerable and the weak. There's a sense in which from her own vulnerability she manifested her strength."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey

"She had great love for the poor..."

"...She had great love for the poor. She was very often anxious to help me, to come to know a little more about the poor. She was was only because she had such a position so she could not actually come and work with us."

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

"We shall spare no effort..."

"...Three weeks ago Princess Diana visited the minefields in Bosnia. Once again she demonstrated her deep concern for the millions of innocent victims, in emphasising how important she felt it was to ban landmines. Her tragic death has made a deep impression on us all.

"We shall spare no effort at this conference to achieve the goals she had set for herself. I ask you all to rise and observe a one-minute silence in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales."

The Norwegian Foreign Minister, Bjorn Tore Godal, at the opening of a conference aimed at drafting an international treaty banning all anti-personnel mines.

"A thousand acts of kindness..."

"...One of the great things we've been exercised by is the image in the media, the boats on the Mediterranean, but the real Diana was something completely different. There are a thousand acts of kindness all the time when there was no press there, no photographers, no reporters, nobody except the people, the ordinary people who counted and who were suffering."

Tony Lloyd of the Leprosy Mission

"It doesn't justify the suit..."

"...It doesn't justify the suit. It doesn't justify the charges. Generally speaking if the victims did not have this exceptional quality, and this exceptional personality, we can imagine that nobody would be in custody. Nobody."

William Bourdan, one of the lawyers representing the photographers subject to a manslaughter inquiry

"Hunting the couple like a pack..."

"...The fact that the driver was drunk is an important circumstance but it does not exclude the responsibility and the liability of the photographers who were hunting the couple like a pack in a terrible chase."

Francois Zimmeray, a Paris Appeal Court lawyer

"One of the most repulsive racist acts..."

"...Britain does not have a constitution at all, and yet it is given as an example of a civilized country. In my opinion, it is of course a colonialist state and the most despicable state in the world. The crime committed yesterday is but an example.

"It was one of the most repulsive racist acts; an anti-Islamic and anti-Arab act; an act against Islam, in other words an act of religious racism and racial racism which violates laws, civilization and human rights."

The Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, accusing British and French Intelligence of arranging the car crash to prevent an Arab marrying a British princess

"One of the elements of moral disgrace..."

"...One of the elements of moral disgrace in the British court has been killed in a car accident in France. Diana and her former husband, the heir to the British royal throne, who were both accused of moral corruption, raised questions about the future of the monarchy in that country. Diana and Prince Charles separated from each other some time ago following a sensational saga of corruption and moral disgrace."

Iranian television

"She wanted to make a difference..."

"...What I most admire about Diana is the fact that she took chances in defining herself as she was growing up in a very public arena. I think that made her the modern and accessible woman to whom everybody around the world could relate. She wanted to make a difference in the world by focussing on humanitarian issues. She did do that with grace and dignity."

Model Cindy Crawford

"The death of the world's Princess..."

"...They're responsible. The paparazzi were feeding them. Without those magazines there wouldn't be the paparazzi. And it's getting worse and worse. It finally caused the death of the world's Princess."

Actress Elizabeth Taylor on the role of newspapers and magazines in the tragedy

"In the old days..."

"...In the old days we were a much nicer bunch. It was a game. Famous people would come to the Via Venito and want us to take their photos, then they would pretend to get mad, but they were glad to have the publicity. Nowadays the celebrities don't accept that being photographed is part of their role. So they are partly to blame."

Tozio Securoli, the inspiration for the original paparazzo in Fellini's La Dolce Vita

Transcripts provided by the BBC World Service