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March 17, 2024

Princess Di used as Click Bait by Right to Die France Youth Group

Daily Mail

Friends of Princess Diana have reacted with anger and revulsion after a ‘vile’ advert used her fatal car crash to promote euthanasia.

The sickening campaign shows a picture of a mangled car in a tunnel with the caption: ‘Diana. She did not choose her death… in 2024, we should have the choice.’

It provoked an immediate storm of furious condemnation, with friends and politicians branding it ‘vile’, ‘disgusting’, ‘repugnant’ and ‘hideous’.

This is cruel, callous and opportunistic,’ said her friend Rosa Monckton. ‘Diana was exploited in her life and her death is now being exploited for very base reasons.’

Baroness Monckton, who went on holiday with Diana a few weeks before she died in the car crash in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris in 1997, said she was ‘shocked and horrified’ by the image.

Kensington Palace insiders were left ‘speechless’ with one saying the advert ‘plumbed the very lowest depths of bad taste’.

Their sentiments were echoed by the late Queen’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter, who said: ‘To reference what happened in 1997 is bad enough, but to mock up a picture really leaves a sour taste in the mouth. [It] is just completely off the scale of obscenity.’

The odious image was hastily withdrawn yesterday after a barrage of protest. It had been created by French pro-euthanasia group ADMD, who limply conceded that it ‘may have offended some observers’ following the powerful backlash.

Commentators noted that for all its shock value, the image – spread on social media – made little sense given the organisation’s aims.

Leading French newspaper Le Figaro asked: ‘Should we understand that legislating on euthanasia would have spared Lady Di a tragic end?’

Another friend of Diana’s, journalist Petronella Wyatt, said: ‘This campaign ad is vile. It’s also completely irrelevant to their argument, because none of the people involved, particularly Diana, wanted to die at all.

‘It’s quite unbelievable the way poor Diana is used. It dredges up something that is terribly painful and traumatic for her children.

‘They should make a formal apology because if I was a relative of Diana I would be absolutely incensed. How can you possibly compare a tragic car accident, when somebody died in the prime of their life, to assisted dying?’

Diana was 36 when she and Dodi Fayed, 42, died after their Mercedes hit a pillar in the Parisian road tunnel in the early hours of August 31, 1997. Diana lay critically injured in the wreckage and died several hours later in hospital.

Insiders at the not-for-profit ADMD concede that the image – created by its youth arm for campaigners under 36 – was ‘designed to shock’, but apparently underestimated the strength of revulsion it provoked.

It was circulated on social media after French president Emmanuel Macron announced new laws to allow adults with terminal illnesses to take lethal medication, in certain cases.

However, ADMD believes the legislation does not go far enough, with one source saying: ‘It needs to be amended to allow assistance in dying according to one’s wishes.’

The Diana advert appeared to be a direct response. When ADMD’s youth arm posted it on X it was captioned: ‘In 2024, we should have the choice of a free end of life without too restrictive criteria!’

The advert appeared at the end of a tumultuous week for the Royal Family, with controversy over the Princess of Wales’ Photoshopped Mother’s Day photo and hurtful speculation over her health.

The advert is said to have caused particular embarrassment in France because ADMD is a well-regarded campaign group backed by establishment names. Laurent Fabius, the country’s former prime minister and a friend of Diana, is on its honorary committee.

Mr Fabius, 77, hosted the Princess and Prince Charles at a Seine riverboat dinner in 1988. Then president of the National Assembly, the French equivalent of the House of Commons, he is said to have bonded with the Princess.

Also on the committee are Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, and her predecessor, Bertrand Delanoe.

A source at Paris city hall said: ‘Paris has always shown the utmost respect to Princess Diana. She was admired and honoured – nobody would want her memory to be disrespected. Those in authority will naturally condemn the picture that was used [by ADMD]. Its removal is very welcome.’

Politicians in the UK were more forthright in their condemnation.

Conservative MP Bob Seely, who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee, called the adverts ‘utterly repugnant’, adding: ‘The people responsible should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. This is cretinous stupidity. How low can you go?’

And DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr said: ‘This is utterly disgusting. To prey on anyone’s tragic death is just hideous, and beyond words.

To use a calamity in the life of the Royal Family to manufacture some advertisement is warped, sick and vile. It should be banned and the authors fined.’

ADMD said in a statement: ‘Following the distribution on social networks of a campaign whose visuals may have offended some observers, it was decided to withdraw it immediately…

Young ADMD apologises to those who were shocked by the choice of images.’

The Paris crash also killed the Mercedes driver Henri Paul, and seriously injured Trevor Rees-Jones, Diana’s bodyguard.

In his memoir, Spare, Prince Harry wrote of the shadow the Paris crash scene has cast on his life.

He described driving through the tunnel when visiting the French capital for the 2007 Rugby World Cup, aged 23, telling of how he ‘watched the concrete pillars flicker past’ and ‘counted them, counted my heartbeats…

I’d always imagined the tunnel as some treacherous passageway, inherently dangerous, but it was just a short, simple, no-frills tunnel. No reason anyone should ever die inside it.’

Kensington Palace declined to comment last night.