'I was obsessed': French police chief recalls discovering Princess Diana’s pearls at fatal car crash site

'I was obsessed': French police chief recalls discovering Princess Diana’s pearls at fatal car crash site
Brigade Criminelle chief Martine Monteil (R) stated how she became ‘obsessed’ with searching for evidence while investigating Princess Diana's death (Discovery+/YouTube)

A French police chief who led the investigation into the Princess of Wales' death has revealed the moment she discovered her pearls at the scene of the tragedy almost exactly 25 years ago. According to reports, Brigade Criminelle chief Martine Monteil was the first to arrive at the scene of the accident on August 31, 1997, which claimed the life of Princess Diana, her partner Dodi Fayed, and driver Henri Paul.

Monteil stated how, in an effort to learn the truth about what took place in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel, she became "obsessed" with searching for evidence, including the princess' pearls. Channel 4’s ‘Investigating Diana: Death in Paris’, a four-part documentary series that premiered on Sunday, August 21, 2022, includes her testimony as part of the first episode. Martine said,  “We started to find these little clues. We saw signs of braking. Pieces of red light from another car. On the side of the car were traces of paint.”

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“I was obsessed with finding things because it's important. I even found some tiny pearls. They belonged to the princess,” Martine said. In the same documentary episode, Brigade Criminelle officer Eric Gigou also talked about how they used paparazzi images to figure out what happened before and after the tragic collision. He explained, “We reconstructed the route they took. Tried to discover all the witnesses, people who might have crossed paths with the car, seen motorcycles, seen something.”

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“For us, it's a race against time that started the moment we were given the case because human memory is volatile and over time memories fade. The paparazzi are in custody. From their photos, we could see the last minutes before the accident. We could identify the people around the vehicle in the seconds afterward,” he added. The series also includes interviews with the Metropolitan police and looks at how Scotland Yard handled a note detailing Diana's suspicions that she would die in a staged car accident a prediction that subsequently came to be known as the Mishcon Note.

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Meanwhile, another new documentary about Diana which is now available on Sky Documentaries, was also released recently and investigated the complex relationship she had with the media as well as her relationship with Prince Charles. Oscar-nominated director Ed Perkins, who was behind the upcoming documentary ‘The Princess’, said he felt "much more sympathetic" to Prince William and Prince Harry after viewing archive footage. Perkins told Metro UK, “I do feel much more sympathetic towards that and obviously very sad and sorry specifically for William and Harry for the many difficult things that they had to sort of going through, some of which are shown in the story.” 

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