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Prince Harry thought Princess Diana faked her death — and other revelations from his 'Spare' interviews

DUSSELDORF, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 06: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex speaks on stage during the press conference at the Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023 - One Year To Go events, on September 06, 2022 in Dusseldorf, Germany. The Invictus Games is an international multi-sport event first held in 2014, for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, both serving and veterans. The Games were founded by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex who's inspiration came from his visit to the Warrior Games in the United States, where he witnessed the ability of sport to help both psychologically and physically. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023)
Prince Harry gets candid in a series of interviews ahead of the release of Spare. (Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023)

Prince Harry's jaw-dropping claims about life within the British royal family continue in a series of new interviews he's done to promote his new memoir, Spare.

The younger son of King Charles and the late Princess Diana spoke to three major media outlets on the eve of the book's Tuesday release. They include Michael Strahan for Good Morning America on Monday preceded by Anderson Cooper for 60 Minutes and Tom Bradby for the U.K.'s ITV on Sunday.

That's made for a lot of airtime, here are highlights...

Harry thought Princess Diana faked her death.

Harry told Cooper he didn't believe that his mother died in the 1997 Paris car crash. "She would never do this to us," he recalled thinking. For "many many years" he thought it was "part of a plan" for her to disappear, as she was tormented by the press, and he and William would be summoned to join her later. He had "huge amounts of hope" that she was still alive and would reappear.

The Princess of Wales and her son Prince Harry arrive at Helen Windsor's wedding, July 18, 1992. SCANNED FROM NEGATIVE. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez  CMC/PN
Princess Dianna and Prince Harry in 1992. (Photo: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez CMC/PN)

He said he barely cried over Diana's death, being unable to. He remembered feeling "guilt" while greeting mourners in the aftermath and shaking their wet, tear covered hands when he hadn't yet cried himself. He shed his first tears at her burial, when the coffin was lowered, but didn't again cry over it until years later. All through his teens, he never cried.

Harry spoke about obtaining the official investigation report on Diana's death when he was 20. He recalled seeing the final photos of her and knowing that the last thing she saw was photographers taking pictures of her through the car window as she died. He said he was shielded by most graphic photos, crediting an adviser.

He also discussed recreating the drive through the Paris tunnel years later, going through twice, at the same speed, and finding it unbelievable that Diana died there because it seemed so unremarkable. He said William also went through the tunnel separately and did the same thing. While talking to Cooper, Harry said it was explained to the brothers that the events leading to the car crash — the speed, the paparazzi chasing the car and the chauffeur being drunk — was "like a bicycle chain" and "if you remove just one of those links from the chain, the end result doesn't happen."

Cooper asked if he'd reopen the inquest into her death and he replied, "I don't even know if it's an option now. But no, I think... would I like to do that now? It's a hell of a question." Asked if he feels he has the answers about what happened, he said, "Actually, no.. I don't think I have. And I don't think my brother thinks otherwise. I don't think the world does. Do I need any more than I already know? No. I don't think it would change much."

Harry claims his stepmother planted stories about him and William to improve her reputation.

Diana famously called Camilla Parker Bowles the "third person" in her marriage, as she was involved with future King Charles before and during the couple's marriage. After the 1996 divorce, Charles started seeing Camilla openly and Harry claims she began a media campaign to rehab her image after been branded the other woman for so long. He said her campaign involved trading information about other members of the royal family in exchange for good press in hopes of no longer being seen as "the villain."

"That made her dangerous because of the connections that she was forging within the British press," Harry told Cooper. "There was open willingness on both sides to trade 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." He felt he was one of these "bodies." In his book, he wrote, "Camilla sacrificed me on her personal PR altar."

Camilla (L), the Duchess of Cornwall stands on stage with Prince William (C) and Prince Harry at the Princes Trust 30th Birthday concert at the Tower of London in London May 20, 2006.
Camilla with Prince William and Prince Harry in 2006. (Photo: Reuters)

Harry said he and William also asked their "Pa" not to marry Camilla, which Charles did in 2005. While she made the future king happy, "We didn't think it was necessary" that they marry, he said. "We thought that it was gonna cause more harm than good. And that if he was now with his person — surely that’s enough. Why go that far when you don’t necessarily need to?"

Despite what he claims Camilla did, Harry told Strahan, "I love every member of my family, despite the differences, so when I see her, we're perfectly pleasant with each other. She's my stepmother. I don't look at her as an evil stepmother. I see someone who married into this institution and has done everything that she can to improve her own reputation and her own image, for her own sake."

He and William were never as as close as it seemed.

In Harry's book, he wrote about an alleged fight he had with his older brother over Markle, which resulted in William getting physical. Harry made it clear that while the world thought they were brothers bonded forever through grief, there was a wall between them. They lived separated lives. At school together, he said William pretended he didn't know him.

However, they did share some warm moments and spend time together through their work as royals. And they had a pact, Harry claimed, that they would never leak stories about each other to the press, having been the victims of that through Camilla. But William broke the pact, Harry claimed.

LONDON - JUNE 30: Prince Harry and Prince William attend the preparations for the Concert for Diana at Wembley Stadium on June 30, 2007 in London, England.
Prince Harry and Prince William attend the preparations for the Concert for Diana at Wembley Stadium on June 30, 2007 in London, England. (Photo: Getty Images)

Harry told Strahan their mother would be "sad" about their relationship today, but also "heartbroken" that William, through his press office, was involved in leaking stories about him and Markle. He maintained he would "never leak" stories about family members. He said he speaks his truth "with the words that come out of my mouth," which is why he wrote his memoir, which he said is his life story, not a royal tell-all.

He told Bradby, "Those certain members have decided to get in bed with the devil to rehabilitate their image. But the moment that rehabilitation comes at the detriment of others, me and other members of my family, then that’s where I draw the line."

Harry says royal family members were uneasy about his relationship with "biracial," "American actress" Markle

He claimed in his book that while Charles was warm toward Markle at the start, William and others weren't. Cooper asked what those negative feelings were based on, and Harry replied, "The fact that she was American, an actress, divorced, Black, biracial, with a Black mother."

He said the British press jumped on Markle being biracial, making for a "feeding frenzy" and he thinks his family bought into that. "My family reads the tabloids," he said. They're "laid out at breakfast... So, whether you walk around saying you believe it or not, it's still leaving an imprint in your mind. If you have that judgment based on a stereotype in the beginning, it's really really hard to get over that."

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award Gala in New York City, U.S., December 6, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in December. (Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

He feels his family and the press have blamed Markle for changes he's made in his life. "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.' Yeah, I did change, and I'm really glad I changed. Rather than getting drunk, falling out of clubs, taking drugs, I have now found the love of my life and I now have the opportunity to start a family with her."

Harry said his father and brother also became upset with him when he called out the "racial undertones" in tabloid stories about Markle early on. "They felt as though it made them look bad," he said, "because "they didn't have a chance or weren't able to do that for their partners. What Meghan had to go through was similar in some part to what Kate and what Camilla went through — very different circumstances. But then you add in the race element, which was what the British press jumped on straight away. I went into this incredibly naive. I had no idea the British press were so bigoted. Hell, I was probably bigoted before the relationship with— with Meghan."

He said the royals missed a "huge missed opportunity" in modernizing the monarchy through what Markle represented as a biracial woman.

Harried denied that he and Meghan Markle called the royal family racist in their 2021 Oprah interview.

Bradby said in the ITV interview, "In the Oprah interview, you accuse members of your family of racism..." Harry shot back, "No. The British press said that. Did Meghan ever say 'they're racist'?" Harry went on to say what he told Winfrey about there being "concerns [expressed] about [Archie's] skin color" because she is biracial. When asked if he'd agree that was "essentially racist," Harry said, "I wouldn't. Not having lived in that family."

He went on to explain the "difference between racism and unconscious bias," saying, "The two things are different. Once it's been acknowledged or pointed out to you as an individual, otherwise an institution, that you have unconscious bias, you, therefore, have an opportunity to learn and grow from that... otherwise, unconscious bias then moves into the category of racism."

Harry, who wouldn't reveal which member of the family talked about the skin color, did say that the royals said after the Oprah interview that they'd bring in a diversity czar, but, "That hasn’t happened. Everything they said was going to happen hasn't happened."

Harry on why he won't renounce his royal title.

While talking about how he and wife Meghan Markle stepped down as senior royals in early 2020 and relocated to California, becoming financially independent from the royal family in the process, Cooper asked why they haven't renounced their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles. "And what difference would that make?" Harry asked in response.

In conversation with Strahan he elaborated, saying having been born into the royal family, "I can't ever get out... I'm incredibly aware of my position and I'm incredibly grateful for the life that I've had and continue to live, but there's no version of me ever being able to get out of this."

He's gone through extensive therapy, including using psychedelics.

Harry admitted he wishes he started therapy as a child after his mother's death because he suppressed his feelings and turned to alcohol and drugs (cocaine, pot) to mask his pain. He said he felt "hopeless" and "lost" until his late 20s. He gave himself a hard time over being unable to cry about his mother's death, admitting he'd watch online videos of her and try to cry unsuccessfully.

He's been in therapy for the last seven years and has tried treatments involving ayahuasca and psilocybin or magic mushrooms. He told Cooper, "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, grief or trauma, then these things have a way of working as a medicine. For me, they cleared the windshield, the windshield of 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."

He also credited being in the British military for saving him. He said being in uniform among the others made him "feel normal for the first time in my life." He's also purpose in his charitable work, including with the Invictus Games Foundation.

How he said goodbye to the queen.

Harry claimed his grandmother wasn't "angry" when he and Markle said they'd step down as senior royals after Markle experienced suicidal thoughts over the tabloid feeding frenzy. He said the queen was just "sad" about it all.

He also talked about being in England when his grandmother became ill and said the royals didn't invite him on a plane they took to rush to her deathbed. As a result, he arrived after she died. His aunt, Anne, Princess Royal, greeted him and asked if he wanted to say goodbye. He did and went to the queen's bedroom, where he privately said goodbye. Talking about her death, he said he thought about how she had a "completed life" and would reunited with her husband, Prince Philip, who died the year before. It made him think about his mother's tragic death and how she didn't have a completed life.

Britain's Prince Harry (L) and Queen Elizabeth look at the Webb Ellis Cup on a plinth during a Rugby World Cup reception at Buckingham Palace, London October 12, 2015.  REUTERS/Anthony Devlin/Pool      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Prince Harry and Queen Elizabeth in 2015. (Photo REUTERS/Anthony Devlin/Pool)

He's not speaking to most of his family.

Asked who he's in touch with, Harry said he hasn't spoken to Charles, William or Camilla for quite a while.

He can't see returning to England in a senior royal role, saying it would "unsurvivable" under the scrutiny of the press, but said he "genuinely" believes the British monarchy should continue. He said there's a place for it if it modernizes.

He said he and Markle have offered to apologize to members of the family for anything they did wrong, but whenever they say that, nobody can pinpoint to them specifically what they did. He said he'd love to have a private conversation, one that doesn't get leaked, saying the estrangement "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 my country."

And while divide between them couldn't be greater right now, he hopes to reconcile through "conversations and accountability." If that doesn't happen, he said that would be "very sad" but instead "I"ll focus on my life, my amazing family that I'm so very grateful to have... I'm not angry anymore. There are things that will still anger me, but I'm not angry anymore because I am exactly where I'm supposed to be."

Harry will continue to plug the book, which doesn't paint his brother or father in a favorable light, this week, including in a special, Prince Harry: In His Own Words, which will air on ABC News on Monday night at 8:30 p.m. He'll keep at it — also appearing on Tuesday's The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.