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This Is Where Princess Diana Wanted to Go Instead of Paris

One decision changed the course of history.

When Princess Diana found herself in Paris with Dodi Fayed, their brief, unexpected stay in the City of Lights proved fatal for the princess when she died in a car crash with her friend and his driver on August 31, 1997.

But that's not how she had originally planned to spend her summer holiday.

If Diana had only been granted permission to spend her vacation elsewhere like she planned, she would, in all likelihood, be alive today.

In the months leading up to that same summer, Diana asked her good friend, Teddy Forstmann, the billionaire businessman—who she met in 1994 and briefly dated—to find her a house on the beach near his in oceanfront mansion in Southampton on Long Island. She wanted to bring her sons Prince William and Harry to the Hamptons for a holiday, and then return later in August to enjoy a few weeks in the sun with her New York-based friends.

"After the divorce, Diana very much felt pressured to take the boys on special holidays, but she knew she could not compete with what the royal family could offer them," one friend of the princess told me. "She worried that she was losing William and Harry to a way of life that she was no longer part of. She was considering a move to the states and wanted to see if the boys would like the Hamptons. She thought they would love it there."

Forstmann found Diana a house in the Hamptons with its own private pool on the ocean, but her plans were vetoed by British security. In 2007, Forstmann told Tina Brown for her book, The Diana Chronicles "I found her something, but five days later she called back and said the security people had said the openness of the Hamptons wasn't safe."

According to published reports, U.S. intelligence, who were reportedly bugging her phone, advised British intelligence it was unsafe. In order to visit the Hamptons with her sons, she needed official clearance. Diana's request was denied. Instead, the princess spent that fateful summer with the Fayeds.

Without any other plans for her summer holiday with her sons, the princess accepted Mohamed Al Fayed's invitation for her, along with William and Harry, to stay at his villa in the South of France. When they left for Balmoral, Diana went back for another stay aboard the Fayed's yacht where she met Dodi. Fayed assured Diana she would be fully protected by his own security team.

"She was not supposed to spend her summer with the Fayeds," said the source. "And she most certainly had not planned on being in Paris with Dodi at the end of August. In fact, she was tiring of the whole episode and was eager to see William and Harry before they went off to school. It was Dodi who insisted they stop off in Paris for the night before heading back to London. She wanted to get home." And for more on the late princess, here's why Princess Diana Was Laid to Rest Holding This Treasured Gift.

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.

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