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How Princess Diana narrowly avoided avalanche that killed King Charles' friend

King Charles narrowly missed a deadly avalanche in 1988 – why wasn't his then-wife with him?

princess diana ski accident
Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
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In March 1988, King Charles narrowly escaped an avalanche while on a ski trip with Princess Diana, Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew. At the time he was skiing alone with his brother – so why was Princess Diana absent from the slopes?

The deadly avalanche, which happened in the Swiss resort of Klosters, saw the King's friend and former equerry to the Queen, Major Hugh Lindsay, killed, with Charles on the slope with his friend when the tragedy occurred.

WATCH: Prince Harry and King Charles take to the slopes in sweet father-son moment

Neither the Princess of Wales nor the Duchess of York, who were also on the skiing holiday, were on the mountain when the avalanche occurred, and in Andrew Morton's book, Diana: Her True Story, which was written from transcripts from the late Princess of Wales, the reason for her absence was revealed.

"I had flu, I had been in bed for two days. Third day in bed," Diana said of the day tragedy struck, before explaining that Sarah Ferguson returned to the chalet to join her.

Princess Diana skiing with King Charles© Photo: Getty Images

Princess Diana and King Charles were skiing in Switzerland

"Both of us were in the chalet and we heard this helicopter go up. I said to her: 'There's been an avalanche,' and she said: 'Something's gone wrong.'"

READ: 5 memorable royal skiing accidents: Sophie Wessex, Princess Diana and more

The two royal wives were left in the dark about what had happened. They were informed a member of the party had died, but Diana continued: "Fergie and I, and we didn't know who it was."

Princess Diana skiing© Photo: Getty Images

Princess Diana avoided the deadly avalanche

Upon learning of their friend's tragic death, King Charles, Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson travelled back to the UK with Hugh Lindsay's body, where his wife, Sarah, who worked at Buckingham Palace, was waiting.

King Charles has since returned to the resort where tragedy struck, most recently in 2022, but also in the early 2000s with Princes William and Harry, where the royals posed for official photocalls.

King Charles in ski goggles© Photo: Getty Images

King Charles has returned to Klosters several times since the avalanche in 1988

The Swiss ski resort is also where Prince William and then-girlfriend, Princess Kate, were pictured for the very first time in 2004.

LISTEN: Find out all about King Charles from the people who know him best

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