Sunday, August 31
Midnight in Paris: Brigadier Charles Ritchie, the military attaché at the British Embassy, is strolling past the Ritz after an evening out when he sees a crowd of photographers and other onlookers by the entrance.
The soldier, who had once been equerry to Princess Anne, stops to speak to one of the spectators. He is told they have gathered because ‘Lady Di’ is inside the hotel. Ritchie therefore becomes the first British official in the city to learn of her presence there.
He will later tell the Met’s Paget inquiry that he intended to inform his ambassador, but saw no reason to do so before the morning. Diana’s butler Paul Burrell will also tell Paget that while she was obliged to inform the Home Secretary when she travelled abroad, in practice she only did so for official visits. This jaunt with Dodi was strictly unofficial. And so Ritchie carries on home. He has seen two Range Rovers and drivers outside the front of the hotel but assumes Diana will not leave the Ritz again at this late hour. It is a wrong assumption.
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