Prince Harry did not believe his mother Princess Diana was dead for years, believing it was “all part of a plan” to disappear, and that she would eventually ask him and brother Prince William to join her.
Harry told Anderson Cooper in a 60 Minutes interview Sunday that he saw images of Diana, dead in the car in Paris’ Pont d’Alma tunnel. Harry also revealed why he thought his stepmother, Queen Consort Camilla, was “dangerous,” having “left bodies in the street” during her ascent within the royal family, and through her alleged connections with the British press.
It was the second major interview Harry had given Sunday prior to the English-language publication of his memoir, Spare. Like the first interview with British broadcaster ITV, this was just as full of startling revelations.
In the memoir, Harry writes of his stepmother Camilla campaigning in the British press for acceptance after Diana's death: “I even wanted Camilla to be happy. Maybe she'd be less dangerous if she was happy.”
“She was the villain. She was the third person in their marriage. She needed to rehabilitate her image,” Harry told Cooper of Camilla's position after Diana had died.
Asked by Cooper how Camilla was dangerous, Harry replied, “Because of the need for her to rehabilitate her image,” which made her dangerous “because of the connections that she was forging within the British press. And there was open willingness on both sides to trade of information. And with a family built on hierarchy, and with her, on the way to being Queen Consort, there was gonna be people or bodies left in the street because of that...
“If you are led to believe, as a member of the family, that being on the front page, having positive headlines, positive stories written about you, is going to improve your reputation or increase the chances of you being accepted as monarch by the British public, then that’s what you're gonna do.”
Both Harry and William asked Charles not to marry Camilla, Harry told Cooper. “We didn't think it was necessary. We thought that it was gonna cause more harm than good and that if he was now with his person, that— surely that's enough. Why go that far when you don't necessarily need to? We wanted him to be happy. And we saw how happy he was with her. So, at the time, it was, ‘OK.’”
“For a long—for a long time, I just refused to accept that she was—she was gone,” Harry said of his mother Diana. “Um, part of, you know, she would never do this to us, but also part of, maybe this is all part of a plan.”
Harry thought “she would call us and that we would go and join her, yeah.”
How long did you believe that, asked Cooper.
“Years. Many, many years. And William and I talked about it as well. He had—he had um, similar thoughts.”
Harry said he had “huge amounts of hope” Diana was alive.
Eventually he was shown photographs of her dead body—“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—photographs of her lying half dead on the back seat of the car.
“All I saw was the back of my mum’s head—slumped on the back seat. There were other more gruesome photographs, but I will be eternally grateful to (his private secretary) for denying me the ability to inflict pain on myself by seeing that. Because that's the kinda stuff that sticks in your mind forever.”
William and he had considered reopening the inquest into her death. “Because there were so many gaps and so many holes in it. Which just didn't add up and didn't make sense.”
Harry still does not think he knows the full truth. “And I don’t think my brother does either. I don’t think the world does. Um—do I need any more than I already know? No. I don't think it would change much.”
Being a soldier “felt like I was turning pain into a purpose. I didn’t have the awareness at the time that I was living my life in adrenaline, and that was the case from age 12, from the moment that I was told that my mom had died.”
Harry said he had retained “a huge amount of frustration and blame” towards the British press for their part in what had happened to his mother.
In the wide-ranging 60 Minutes interview, Harry also revealed he had used psychedelics to help deal with his grief.
“Ayahuasca, psilocybin, mushrooms. They were actually important to you,” Cooper said.
“I would never recommend people to do this recreationally,” Harry said. “But doing it with the right people, if you are suffering from a huge amount of loss, grief or trauma, then these things have a way of working as a medicine... For me, they cleared the windscreen, the windshield, the misery of loss... They cleared away this idea that I had in my head that—that my mother—that I needed to cry to prove to my mother that I missed her. When in fact, all she wanted was for me to be happy.”
Harry also said he had not been invited on the plane taking the other royals north to Scotland the day of Queen Elizabeth's death at Balmoral.
“I asked my brother—I said, ‘What are your plans? How are you and Kate getting up there?’ And then, a couple of hours later, you know, all of the family members that live within the Windsor and Ascot area were jumping on a plane together,” Harry said. “A plane with 12, 14, maybe 16 seats.”
“You were not invited on that plane?” Cooper asked Harry.
“I was not invited,” Harry replied.
Harry told Cooper that he arrived at Balmoral, where he was welcomed by Princess Anne. He wondered if it was “a good idea” to see the dead body of his grandmother. “And I was, like, ‘You know what? You can—you can do this. You—you need to say goodbye.’ Um, so I went upstairs, took my jacket off and walked in and just spent some time with her alone… She was in her bedroom. I was actually—I was really happy for her. Because she’d finished life. She’d completed life, and her husband was—was waiting for her. And the two of them are buried together.”
“I had found the love of my life”
Despite the physical altercations he details in Spare, the arguments and briefing he claims has been done against him, and all the stories he tells showing his older brother in a poor light, Harry told Cooper that he loved William “deeply. There has been a lot of pain between the two of us, especially the last six years. None of anything that I’ve written, anything I’ve included is ever intended to hurt my family. But it does give a full picture of the situation as we were growing up, and also squashes this idea that somehow my wife was the one that destroyed the relationship between these two brothers... We had a very similar traumatic experience, and then we dealt with it two very different ways.”
Harry told Cooper that he was not speaking or texting with William. “But I look forward to—I look forward to us being able to find peace.” He also hasn’t spoken “for a while” to King Charles.
Harry talked of the initial media reaction to Meghan Markle. “The fact that she was American, an actress, divorced, Black, biracial with a Black mother. Those were just four of the typical stereotypes that is—becomes a feeding frenzy for the British press.”
This was mirrored within the royal family, he added. “My family read the tabloids, you know? It's laid out—at breakfast when everyone comes together. So, whether you walk around saying you believe it or not, it's still—it's still leaving an imprint in your mind. So if you have that judgment based on a stereotype right at the beginning, it's very, very hard to get over that. And a large part of it for the family, but also the British press and numerous other people is, like, ‘He’s changed. She must be a witch. He’s changed.’ As opposed to yeah, I did change, and I’m really glad I changed. Because rather than getting drunk, falling out of clubs, taking drugs, I had now found the love of my life, and I now had the opportunity to start a family with her.”
“The thing that’s terrified me the most is history repeating itself,” Harry told Cooper. “I feared a lot that the end result, the fact that I lost my mum when I was 12 years old, could easily happen again to my wife.”
“There comes a point when silence is betrayal,” Harry said of the palace’s no-comment when it came to Jeremy Clarkson’s Sun column imagining Meghan being pelted with excrement. Harry decried “a tabloid media that literally radicalizes its readers to then potentially cause harm to my family, my wife, my kids.”
Harry told Cooper he could not see himself returning as a full-time member of the royal family.
“No. I can’t see that happening,” Harry told Cooper.
“The ball is very much in their (the royal family’s) court, but Meghan and I have continued to say that we will openly apologize for anything that we did wrong, but every time we ask that question, no one's telling us the specifics or anything. There needs to be a constructive conversation, one that can happen in private that doesn't get leaked.”
Cooper replied, “Well, how can we trust you, how do we know that you're not gonna reveal whatever conversations we have in an interview somewhere?”
Harry replied, “This all started with them briefing, daily, against my wife with lies to the point of where my wife and I had to run away from our...my country.”
When Cooper compared the situation to “Game of Thrones without dragons,” Harry said he did not watch the show, “but there's definitely dragons. And that’s again the third party, which is the British press. So ultimately without the British press as part of this, we would probably still be a fairly dysfunctional family, like, a lot are. But at the heart of it, there is a family, without question. I really look forward to having that family element back. I look forward to having a relationship with my brother. I look forward to having a relationship with my father and other members of my family.”