In the ’90s, Lyons, who photographed the royals and other celebrities in the UK for years, also ran a photo agency that supplied paparazzi shots to news outlets. He can recall every detail of the night he learnt Princess Diana had been involved in a car accident.
At the time, Lyons believed Diana had suffered a minor injury in the accident, and began phoning around newspapers to sell photos of her at the scene, taken by one of his agency’s photographers.
“I knew I was in the midst of the greatest news story in my lifetime and I was the one who had the pictures,” he remembers. “I had some great advice from my great friend Piers Morgan – we had long discussions about this. Prior to speaking to him in the middle of the night, I only put out low-res.”
But as soon as he learnt of Diana’s death, in the early hours of Aug. 31, 1997, Lyons withdrew the photos from sale – which he says “nobody could ever have actually published” – and has pledged they will never be seen while he’s alive.
“We just thought she was in an accident. We knew Dodi [Fayed] was dead but we didn’t think the Princess of Wales was, so it came as a huge shock when the news came through that she’d been driven around Paris and not saved in the hospital.”
In a shocking revelation, Lyons also opened up about his love/hate relationship with Diana and he vividly recalls the moment she asked him to keep an eye on Prince Charles.
For his full interview, be sure to pick up the latest issue of WHO.