In his memoirs, The Substitutet, Prince Harry recounts the moment he learned of his mother’s death, her initial denial, and her departure from royal etiquette at the funeral on September 6, 1997.
In the midst of confidences trash – between sex, drugs and the war in Afghanistan -, prince harry slipped a moving testimony of his reaction to the death of his mother, Princess Diana in 1997. He was only 12 years old when the drama of the Alma bridge occurred, and yet his father did not deign to take him in his arms. “He was not good at showing his emotions under normal circumstances, so how could he be expected to show them in such a crisis?” the Duke of Sussex wrote in his new memoir, Spare (The Alternatepublished by Fayard in France), which leaked prior to their publication on January 10. Page Six got this extract January 5.
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Shy show of affection
the king charles had all the same split with a (timid) gesture of affection. “[Il] sat on the edge of the bed. He put a hand on my knee. ”My darling boy, mum had a car accident”, had started his father.
“I remember thinking: accident…OK. But is she okay? Yes ? I remember very well this thought that crossed my mind. And I remember waiting patiently for dad to confirm that mom was fine. And I remember he didn’t.” Chilling. When he found out what was going to happen, the younger brother of the prince william explained that he then began to feel an “inner shift.”
Lady Diana’s ex-husband only repeated his gesture: “He rested his hand on my knee and said to me, ‘It’s going to be fine.’ It was a lot for him. Fatherly, hopeful, kind. But so false”, continued the husband of Meghan Markland in his story.
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“These sentences stay in my mind like darts stuck on a target”
Prince Harry, in his memoirs.
The suspense nevertheless hovered for a moment, Charles III not having announced the death of the mother of his sons immediately. Appearing “in shock”, his father first spoke of medical “complications” and “head trauma”, which occurred after the car accident in Paris.
The Duke of Sussex, then a young boy, first thought that the doctors could “repair” his mother’s head, and that he could see her the same evening “at the latest”. But Charles ended up revealing that his mother “did not survive”. “These sentences stick in my mind like darts planted on a target,” he concluded from this conversation announcing the terrible news.
“Silence is betrayal,” says Prince Harry in an interview
Despite everything, Harry continued to hide his face for some time. He convinced himself that his mother had ‘staged an accident’ to escape her ‘miserable’ life in the limelight. When asked to write a “last” letter to his mother, he realized that she was really gone. For real.
Concealing emotions is part of British Crown etiquette. But on September 6, 1997, at Westminster Abbey, Prince Harry could not contain himself: “My body convulsed, he recalled, my chin fell and I started sobbing in my hands uncontrollably.” He was “ashamed of violating family ethics”, he acknowledged, already aware that he was not acting according to propriety.
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The last conversation
Distracted during their last exchange, Prince Harry was haunted in retrospect by his last words exchanged with his mother. And regret set in. “I wanted to dig deeper, tell my mom all the things that weighed on my heart, especially my regret the last time we spoke on the phone,” he wrote. “She had called in the early evening, the evening of the accident, but I was running with Willy [son frère] and my cousins and I didn’t want to stop playing.”
“So I had been brief with her. Eager to return to my games, I pressed my mother,” he continued. “I wanted to apologize for that. I wanted to find the words to describe how much I loved him. I had no idea this research would take decades.”
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