Prince Harry Thought Princess Diana Might Have Faked Her Death, Didn't See Pics of the Crash Until He Was 20
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Prince Harry continues to speak his truth. The Duke of Sussex opens up in yet another interview, and shares details surrounding the stories from his upcoming memoir, Spare.
The 38-year-old royal sat down with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes and reflected on his falling out with the royal family and his many memories of emotional turmoil from his life inside the palace walls.
From allegations of his family maligning his wife, Meghan Markle, to his memories of struggling to cope with the death of his mother, Princess Diana, Harry didn't hold back. Here's a look at some of the biggest revelations from his 60 Minutes sit-down.
Prince Harry Thought Princess Diana Faked Her Own Death
For years, Prince Harry didn't believe that his mother was actually dead. Princess Diana died after a car crash in Paris, France, on Aug. 31, 1997. She was 36, and Harry was 12 at the time.
"For a long time. I just refused to accept that she was gone. Part of [it was] she would never do this to us. But also, part of it maybe [felt like] this is all part of a plan," he shared with Cooper. "For a time [I believed she was alive] and then she would call us, and we would go and join her."
The 38-year-old Duke of Sussex noted that it was "many years" before he accepted that his mother had passed away. He spent a lot of time thinking about the crash, and the logistics of the accident. He didn't even see photos of the crash until he was 20. When he did, they were distressing.
"I had huge amounts of hope," he said. "[I was looking mainly for] proof that she was in the car. Proof that she was injured and proof that the very paparazzi that chased her into the tunnel were the ones that were taking photographs of her lying half dead in the back [of the car]. The pictures showed the reflection of a group of photographers taking photographs through the window and the reflection on the window was them.”
He also recalled how his personal secretary at the time prevented him from seeing the more horrific and visceral photos that still exist of the crash.
"All I saw was the back of my mom's head slumped on the back seat," Harry said. "There were other more gruesome photographs, but I will be eternally grateful to him for denying me the ability to inflict pain on myself by seeing that. Because that's the kind of stuff that sticks in your mind forever.
Not Getting Invited to Fly With Family Before Queen Elizabeth's Death
While he and Meghan live in the U.S., Harry was in London back in September for a charity event when it was announced that his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, had been placed under emergency medical watch at her Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
"I asked my brother, I said, 'What are your plans? How are you and Kate getting up there?' And a couple hours later, you know, all of the family members that live within the Windsor and Ascot area were jumping on a plane together. A plane with 12, 14, maybe 16 seats," Harry says, adding, "I was not invited."
Because he was not invited, and thus was forced to find his own last-minute accommodations to get to Balmoral Castle on his own, he was too late to say goodbye. The Queen had died before he was able to say goodbye. However, he did sit with her after she passed.
"I walked into the hall and my aunt was there to greet me, and she asked me if I wanted to see her. I thought about it for five seconds, thinking, 'Is this a good idea?' and I said 'You know what, you can do this. You need to say goodbye.' So I went upstairs, took my jacket off and walked in and just spent some time with her alone," he remembers.
"I was really happy for her because she finished life. She completed life," he adds, "and her husband was waiting for her, and the two of them were buried together."
Speaking His Truth
Cooper asks Harry about the criticism he's received over making his feud and his problems with his family so public, and why he isn't being more private about personal affairs.
"Every single time I've tried to do it privately, there would be briefings and leakings and plantings of stories against me and my wife," Harry says. "The family motto is 'Never complain, never explain.' But it's just a motto."
"So now, I'm trying to speak a language that perhaps they understand," he adds. "I will sit here and speak truth to you with the words that come out of my mouth, rather than using someone else, an unnamed source, to feed in lies or narrative to a tabloid media that literally radicalizes its readers to then potentially cause harm to my family, my wife, my kids."
Recalls His Family and British Media Turning On Meghan
Harry says that certain members of the royal family were disdainful of his wife-to-be "right from the beginning, before they even had a chance to get to know her... and the U.K. press jumped on that."
When asked what the mistrust could have stemmed from, Harry suggests, "The fact that she was American, an actress, divorced, black, biracial with a black mother. Those were just four of the typical stereotypes that becomes a feeding frenzy for the British press."
"You know my family read the It's laid out at breakfast when everyone comes together. So whether you walk around saying you believe it or not, it's still leaving an imprint in your mind," Harry shares. "So if you have that judgment based on a stereotype right at the beginning it's very, very hard to get over that."
"I went into this incredibly naive. I had no idea the British press were so bigoted. Hell, I was probably bigoted," He adds.
"You think you were bigoted before the relationship with Meghan?" Cooper pushes.
"I don't know," Harry replies. "Put it this way, I didn't see what I now see."
Dealing With His Mother's Death
Harry recounts his memories of finding out about his mom's death in August 1997, and how he "never shed a single tear at that point."
"I was in shock, you know? [I am] 12 years old, [it is] 7, 7:30 in the morning, early. Your father comes in, sits on your bed, puts his hand on your knee and tells you, 'There's been an accident.' I couldn't believe it," he says.
Harry also recalls how he had to meet with people mourning his mother, but was distanced from the experience and felt isolated.
"There was a lot of tears. I talk about how wet people's hands were. Their hands were wet from wiping their own tears away," he remembers. "I do remember one of the strangest parts to it was taking flowers from people and then placing those flowers with the rest of them as if I was some sort of middle person for their grief."
Harry Dealt With His Emotional Trauma Through Hallucinogens
According to Harry, he masked the pain and loss in his life through the use of illicit drugs, including marijuana and cocaine. However, he found actual help through the controls and monitored the use of psychedelics, including ayahuasca and psilocybin mushrooms.
"I would never recommend people to do this recreationally, but doing it with the right people, if you are suffering from a huge amount of loss or grief or trauma, these things have a way of working as a medicine," Harry states. "For me, they cleared the windscreen, the windshield, the misery of loss."
"They cleared away this idea that I had in my head that I needed to cry to prove to my mother that I missed her," he adds. "When in fact, all she wanted was for me to be happy."
A source close to the royal family told ET over the weekend that they are "bracing themselves for the next round of allegations" ahead of Harry’s multiple interviews -- including his sit down with Cooper, as well as his interviews on ITV with Tom Bradby and his interview with Michael Strahan on Monday's Good Morning America.
According to the source, William, 40, feels that Harry has "crossed a line."
The source added, "The family is appalled that Harry has revealed such private and lurid details which are completely inappropriate." The source said that no one thought Harry would go this far and share this much.
According to other sources, the royal family feels Harry has not dealt with sharing the information in the appropriate way. "He’s gone about dealing with it the wrong way. The problem is no family conversation can ever take place because Harry claims he and Meghan are opposed to leaks and then he and Meghan share extremely private family matters with the public," another source recently told ET.
Harry's hotly anticipated new memoir, Spare, is set to hit shelves on Jan. 10, and sneak peeks and excerpts have already been hitting the internet, revealing surprising new depths to Harry's rift with his older brother.
On Wednesday, The Guardian published an excerpt from the memoir that details an alleged physical incident with William from 2019.
Harry claims William physically attacked him after the pair got into an argument over Markle.
Per the outlet, Harry describes a confrontation at his London home in 2019 in which the Duke of Sussex claims William called Meghan "difficult," "rude" and "abrasive," something Harry called a "parrot[ing of] the press narrative" about his wife.
According to Harry, the alleged altercation resulted in a visible injury to his back and is said to be one of many heated moments between the pair, which are detailed in the upcoming memoir.
The tell-all was set to be released in 2022 but was pushed back following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 8.
"Spare takes readers immediately back to one of the most searing images of the twentieth century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow—and horror. As Diana, Princess of Wales, was laid to rest, billions wondered what the princes must be thinking and feeling — and how their lives would play out from that point on," the press release for the memoir reads, adding that this is Harry's story "at last," complete with "raw, unflinching honesty."
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