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Princess Diana Faints on Visit to California Expo Pavilion

May 07, 1986|RICHARD C. PADDOCK | Times Staff Writer

VANCOUVER, Canada — Britain's Princess Diana fainted in the California Pavilion at Expo '86 Tuesday as she and her husband, Prince Charles, were being escorted by Gov. George Deukmejian on a tour of the exhibit.

The princess lay on the floor for several minutes out of sight of reporters, before she was helped to a back room of the pavilion. About 20 minutes later, apparently recovered, she walked out the front door of the pavilion to a waiting motorcade as hundreds of fairgoers cheered.

"She fell to the floor," Deukmejian told reporters afterward. "It didn't appear to me at the time that she hurt herself when she fell. . . . I was obviously quite concerned."

Although Prince Charles briefly resumed the tour of the pavilion, the visit was cut short when the princess had recovered sufficiently to leave.

"We're certainly sorry that she took ill and didn't feel well," the governor said, "but we are delighted that it does not appear to be anything serious and that she was able to leave unassisted."

A spokesman for the royal family told reporters afterward that the princess "felt very warm and fatigued." Deukmejian said Princess Diana collapsed as state officials were explaining to her and Prince Charles the workings of a computerized bicycle design exhibit.

"She moved closer to her husband and sort of tapped him on his arm and was beginning to say something to him when she fainted," Deukmejian said. "She fainted very gracefully."

Prince Charles reached for his wife as she fell, Deukmejian said, apparently breaking her fall and preventing any serious injury.

A doctor who travels with the royal party was summoned, and reporters, who had been kept behind a cordon out of sight of the incident, were quickly hustled outside.

Deukmejian, who rarely travels outside the United States, made the one-day trip to Vancouver with his wife, Gloria, and his chief of staff, Steven A. Merksamer, to promote the Expo '86 pavilion and California tourism.

His Democratic campaign rival, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, has accused him of not taking an active role in promoting California outside the state.

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