Getting candid. Prince Harry revealed that he spent the first 11 years after Princess Diana‘s death thinking it was a hoax.
“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,” the Duke of Sussex, 38, detailed to Anderson Cooper during a 60 Minutes interview on Sunday, January 8. “For a time [I believed she was alive] and then she would call us, and we would go and join her.”
According to Harry, “many years” went by before he accepted that his mother passed away, adding, “I had huge amounts of hope.”
During the CBS segment, the BetterUp CIO detailed his attempts to see proof of Diana’s 1997 car crash. (The late Princess of Wales passed away at age 36 in Paris.)
“[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],” he continued. “The pictures showed the reflection of a group of photographers taking photographs through the window and the reflection on the window was them.”
Harry said he was thankful for his private secretary and advisor for not allowing him to see the more “gruesome” images. “All I saw was the back of my mom’s head slumped on the back seat,” he explained. “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.”
The U.K. native also broke down the distance that formed between him and Prince William amid their grief. “For me, it was never a case of I don’t want to talk about it with you. I just don’t know how to talk about it,” Harry shared. “I never, ever thought that maybe talking about it with my brother or with anybody else at that point would be therapeutic.”
Harry previously reflected on how the loss of his mother “left a huge hole” inside of him at a young age.
“I want to assure you that over time that hole will be filled with so much love and support,” he wrote in a forward penned for the children’s book Hospital by the Hill in March 2021. “You may feel alone, you may feel sad, you may feel angry, you may feel bad. This feeling will pass, and I will make a promise to you — you will feel better and stronger once you are ready to talk about how it makes you feel. … When a parent goes to heaven, I was told their spirit, their love and the memories of them do not. They are always with you and you can hold onto them forever. I find this to be true.”
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