The only survivor of the crash that killed Princess Diana is scheduled to testify Wednesday at the inquest into her death.
Trevor Rees, formerly known as Trevor Rees-Jones, was the front-seat passenger in the Mercedes that carried Diana, her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, and their driver, Henri Paul. He sustained serious injuries in the Aug. 31, 1997 crash.
Rees has said he has no memory of the crash. The last thing he remembers that night was the car pulling away from the Ritz Hotel in Paris, he has said. His next memory is more than a week later, in his hospital bed, when his parents told him everyone else in the car was dead.
At the time of the crash, Rees was a bodyguard employed by Dodi Fayed’s father, Mohamed Al Fayed. He was assigned to guard the younger Fayed and, because she was Dodi Fayed’s companion on the trip, the princess as well.
Rees suffered major injuries to his lower jaw, the base of his brain, and his pulmonary system and has had several surgeries and hospitalizations, some of which Al Fayed paid for.
He no longer works on Al Fayed’s security team, and Rees has said what was once a good relationship with his former employer has broken down.
In an interview with CNN’s Larry King Live in 2000, Rees said he left because Al Fayed pressured him to support conspiracy theories about the crash.
“I felt my level of trust was breaking down” in the Al Fayed organization, Rees said. “I was informed by my solicitors that if I continued at work, they felt they could no longer represent me. That I was just being seen as a mouthpiece for whatever theories were being chucked up. And I made the decision eventually to leave.”
In 2000, Rees published a book, “The Bodyguard’s Story: Diana, the Crash, and the Sole Survivor,” offering his account of the events surrounding the crash. He said Al Fayed tried unsuccessfully to stop the book’s publication in England.
Rees told CNN he wrote the book to give a definitive account of what he remembered and knew, but also to counter Al Fayed’s accusations that his unprofessionalism caused the accident. Rees also said proceeds from the book helped pay his legal bills.
Rees, a former soldier, was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, but he has said that was routine for his work as a bodyguard because it meant he was free to move around.
Rees has said he wasn’t happy with the Ritz departure plan on the fateful night, and that Dodi Fayed hadn’t given him or the driver enough advance notice of their destination.
The plan to leave the Ritz by the back door, Rees told CNN, “was not the plan that I was happy with.” He also didn’t approve of Dodi Fayed’s plan to travel in a single vehicle — the Mercedes — with no security following behind.
Other former bodyguards have testified at the inquest that Fayed rarely planned his schedule far in advance and was often eager to get to his destination quickly.