Prince Harry Held out Hope Princess Diana Faked her Death for Years

Prince Harry thought that his mother Princess Diana's death may have been faked, a way for her to finally escape the paparazzi who hounded her most of her life. Harry, who was only 12 years old when his mother died in 1997, held onto this hope until his early 20s, he revealed in his new memoir Spare. He "just refused to accept" his mother's death, Harry told 60 Minutes journalist Anderson Cooper.

Harry, 38, and his brother Prince William, 40, were staying at Balmoral Castle in Scotland with their grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, at the time of Diana's death. In Spare, Harry wrote that he began believing Diana's death in Paris was a "trick," reports Page Six. Diana was 36 when she died in a Paris car crash, alongside her boyfriend Dodi Fayed, and driver Henri Paul. Diana's bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, was the only survivor.

"With nothing to do but roam the castle and talk to me, a suspicion took hold, which then became a firm belief. This was all a trick," Harry wrote. "And for once the trick wasn't being played by the people around me, or the press, but by Mummy. Her life's been miserable, she's been hounded, harassed, lied about, lied to. So she's staged an accident as a diversion and run away."

During his 60 Minutes interview, Harry explained that he "just refused to accept" that his mother died. "Part of, you know, she would never do this to us, but also part of, maybe this is all part of a plan," he told Cooper. He believed "for a time" that Diana faked her death and that "she would call us and that we would go and join her." William had "similar thoughts," Harry said.

Harry continued hoping his mother would return until he was 23. When he was 20, Harry asked to see the police report about the crash. He wanted to see "proof" that Diana was in the car and 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," Harry said. The pictures also helped Harry realize the horror that the last thing his mother saw on earth was a flash bulb, he wrote in Spare.

Three years after seeing the report, Harry went to Paris for the first time. He recreated the crash to understand how Paul could "lose control of a car and plow into a pillar killing almost everybody in that car." A 2006 investigation by London's Metropolitan Police concluded that Paul was drinking before the crash, which was a "tragic accident." Harry and William were dissatisfied and even wanted to reopen the inquest, but they were talked out of it.

After William and Harry drove through the Paris tunnel together, the two brothers talked about the crash for the first time. "We talked about the recent inquest. A joke, we both agreed," Harry wrote. "The final written report was an insult. Fanciful, riddled with basic factual errors and gaping logical holes. It raised more questions than it answered." Spare will be released on Tuesday.