Prince Harry is opening up about his life, his royal exit and the death of his mother, Princess Diana in a new, emotional interview with ITV‘s Tom Bradby. In anticipation of his tell-all memoir, Spare, out Jan. 10, Harry gets candid about his mother’s tragic death and why so much of what happened on that harrowing day in 1997 is still unexplained.
His Mother’s Death
Harry recalls the moment he was told by his father, King Charles III of Diana’s death following a car crash in Paris in 1997. Harry was asleep at Balmoral Castle when Charles broke the news.
“I began silently pleading with Pa, or God, or both, ‘No, no, no.’ Pa looked down into the folds of the old quilts and blankets and sheets,” Harry said in an audiobook excerpt from his memoir. ‘There were complications. Mummy was quite badly injured and taken to hospital, darling boy.’ He always called me darling boy, but he was saying it quite a lot now.”
“His voice was soft. He was in shock, it seemed. ‘Oh, hospital?’ ‘Yes, with a head injury.’ Did he mention paparazzi? Did he say she’d been chased? I don’t think so. I can’t swear to it but probably not.”
“They tried, darling boy. I’m afraid she didn’t make it,” Harry remembers his father telling him.
Stiff Upper Lip
Harry remarked how “very strange” it was for him and his brother, Prince William, then 12 and 14, to go on walkabouts with mourners outside Kensington Palace after his mother’s death.
“Everyone thought and felt like they knew our mum. And the two closest people to her, the two most-loved people by her, were unable to show any emotion in that moment,” he shared.
Discussing the symbolic moment the brothers walked behind Princess Diana’s coffin, the Duke of Sussex says, “There’s absolutely no way that I would let him do that by himself. And there’s absolutely no way that he would let me do that by myself. It was as if it was role reversal.”
The horrific loss of his mother, and the way she was treated by the paparazzi and the British media, is part of the reason, Harry says he and his wife, Meghan Markle, exited their royal duties and moved out of the U.K. when they did.
“I never want to be in that position, part of the reason why we are here now, I never ever want to be in that position. I don’t want history to repeat itself. I do not want to be a single dad,” Harry told Badby. “And I certainly don’t want my children to have a life without a mother or a father.”
‘There was some guilt I felt walking around the outside of Kensington Palace’
Prince Harry goes into unprecedented detail on life in and outside of the Royal Family in an exclusive interview with Tom Bradby
— ITV (@ITV) January 8, 2023
Seeing Diana in His Dreams
Harry details losing memories following his mother’s death.
“I lost a lot of memories. on the other side of this mental wall, which I think is so relatable for so many people who’ve experienced loss, especially as a youngster, that inability to be able to like drag the memories back over,” he shared. “I think a lot of it was a defense mechanism.”
Suffering what he called, a post-traumatic stress injury, Harry said he often saw his mother in his dream. “‘Mummy, Mummy, is that you?’” Harry’s heard saying in the audiobook.
“I refer to it as post-traumatic stress injury because I’m not a person with a disorder. I know I’m not.”