A glimpse of the twinkling Eiffel Tower, the rarefied glamour of the Ritz Hotel, the brief quayside tunnel that became a symbol of royal death: Jurors in a British inquest on Monday began tracing Princess Diana's last moments before the Paris car crash that killed her 10 years ago.
In a dramatic moment, the jury walked through the Paris traffic tunnel where the princess died in the car crash along with her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul on Aug. 31, 1997.
Lengthy investigations on both sides of the Channel have left many questions unanswered and raised suspicions about the deaths.
The 11 jurors assigned to try to find answers to those questions gathered at Paris' Place Vendome on Monday, the start of a two-day visit to Paris, to view the front of the Ritz Hotel. They then viewed the hotel's back entrance, from where Diana and Fayed slipped out and into a Mercedes on their fatal journey.
Jurors traveling in a bus headed to the Place de la Concorde, the landmark plaza on Paris' central east-west axis, in part to get an idea of traffic patterns in the elegant but busy square.
The next stop was the most sensitive: the Pont de l'Alma and the traffic tunnel.
It was at this spot, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower, that the Mercedes, pursued by photographers, sped into the underpass and slammed into a concrete pillar.
The juror's bus entered.
"Passing the pillars on the left, including the 13th pillar. Now exiting in a westerly direction," said Lord Justice Scott Baker, who heads the inquest. The bus later passed through a second time in the opposite direction.
In a quiet procession, the jurors walked into the Alma tunnel, where traffic had been cut off. Baker asked them to look at the pillars and at the slope of the tunnel and the angle of the turn at the approach.
The group stopped for several minutes, looking silently at the 13th pillar.
"Members of the jury, it may be that what you're seeing is not entirely natural because of the large number of police and photographers that are present," Baker said outside the tunnel. "You may get a better view tonight."
Jurors were to make a third visit to the tunnel in the evening to more closely replicate the conditions of the midnight crash, and visit the Pitie Salpetiere Hospital where Diana died.
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