In an interview with Anderson Cooper that aired on 60 Minutes, Prince Harry spoke on American television for the first time about his upcoming memoir, “Spare.” These were some of the revelations from their chat.
Harry describes how he found out about his mother’s death
Harry was 12 when his mother, Princess Diana, was killed in a car crash in Paris. It was August 1997, and Harry was at Balmoral Castle in Scotland with other members of the royal family. In his book, Harry described the moment his father, Prince Charles, woke him up to tell him what had happened.
“In the book you write, ‘He says, “They tried, darling boy. I’m afraid she didn’t make it.” These phrases remain in my mind like darts on a board,’ you say,” Cooper said. “Did you cry?”
“No. No. Never shed a single tear at that point,” Harry said. “I was in shock, you know? Twelve years old. Sort of— 7, 7: 30 in the morning, early. Your father comes in, sits on your bed, puts his hand on your knee and tells you, ‘There’s been an accident.’ I couldn’t believe.”
“You write in the book,” Cooper said, “‘Pa didn’t hug me. He wasn’t great at showing emotions under normal circumstances. But his hand did fall once more on my knee and he said, ‘It’s going to be OK.’ But after that, nothing was OK for a long time.'”
“No, nothing, nothing was OK,” Harry said.
Harry says he refused to accept Princess Diana’s death for years
Harry writes in “Spare” about how he responded in the days and years following the death of his mother, Princess Diana, in 1997. He told Cooper about how he didn’t believe Diana was dead.
“For a long time, I just refused to accept that she was— she was gone,” Harry said. “Part of, you know, she would never do this to us, but also part of, maybe this is all part of a plan.”
“You really believed,” Cooper asked, “that maybe she had just decided to disappear for a time?”
“For a time, and then that she would call us and that we would go and join her, yeah,” said Harry, who was 12 when his mother died.
Harry says he’s used psychedelics to help cope with grief
Harry says he sought out help from a therapist seven years ago and reveals he’s also tried more experimental treatments to try to cope with grief he still feels from his mother’s death.
“You write in the book about psychedelics,” Cooper said. “Ayahuasca, psilocybin, mushrooms. They were actually important to you.”
“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.”
“They showed you something,” Cooper asked. “What did they show you?”
“For me, they cleared the windscreen, the windshield, the misery of loss,” Harry said. “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 says his family didn’t include him in travel plans before Queen Elizabeth died
Prince Harry was in London last September for a charity event when the palace announced that Queen Elizabeth II was under medical supervision at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
“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.
“I was not invited,” Harry said.
By the time Harry got to Balmoral on his own, the queen was dead.
Harry on his family’s reaction to his relationship with Meghan Markle
Harry writes that when he introduced Meghan Markle to his family in 2016, his father initially took a liking to her. But his brother, Prince William, was skeptical.
Others in the family, Harry told Cooper, were also uneasy.
“Right from the beginning, before they even had a chance to get to know her,” Harry said. “And the U.K. press jumped on that. And here we are.”
Prince Harry details his feelings about Camilla, the Queen Consort
In his book, Prince Harry’s portrayal of his stepmother, Camilla, now the Queen Consort, is perhaps the most critical. She married then-Prince Charles in 2005, though the two had been romantically involved on and off for decades. Princess Diana famously referred to Camilla the “third person” in her marriage, and Prince Harry has not forgotten it.
She was portrayed by the tabloids as “the villain,” Harry told Cooper. “She was the third person in their marriage. She needed to rehabilitate her image.”
“You and your brother both directly asked your dad not to marry Camilla?” Cooper asked.
“Yes,” Harry said. “We didn’t think it was necessary. We thought that it was gonna cause more harm than good, and 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.'”
Harry talks about his physical altercation with William
“It was a buildup of– frustration, I think, on his part. It was at a time where he was being told certain things by people within his office,” Harry said. “And at the same time, he was consuming a lot of the tabloid press, a lot of the stories. And he had a few issues, which were based not on reality. And I was defending my wife. And he was coming for my wife. She wasn’t there at the time, but through the things that he was saying. I was defending myself. And we moved from one room into the kitchen. And his frustrations were growing, and growing, and growing. He was shouting at me. I was shouting back at him. It wasn’t nice. It wasn’t pleasant at all. And he snapped. And he pushed me to the floor.”
“He knocked you over?” Cooper asked.
“He knocked me over. I landed on the dog bowl,” Harry said. “I cut my back. I didn’t know about it at the time. But, yeah, he– he apologized afterwards. It was a pretty nasty experience.”
Harry says William told him to “pretend we don’t know each other” in school
Though Harry and William appeared inseparable to the outside world growing up, the two have lived separate lives since the death of their mother.
“Even when you were in the same school, in high school,” Cooper said to Harry, “Your brother told you, ‘Pretend we don’t know each other.'”
“Yeah, and at the time it hurt. I couldn’t make sense of it. I was like, ‘What do you mean? We’re now at the same school,'” Harry said. “Like, ‘I haven’t seen you for ages, now we get to hang out together.’ He’s like, ‘No, no, no, when we’re at school we don’t know each other.’ And I took that personally. But yes, you’re absolutely right, you hit the nail on the head. Like, we had a very similar traumatic experience, and then we— we dealt with it two very different ways.”
60 Minutes reached out to Buckingham Palace for comment. Palace representatives demanded that before considering commenting we provide them with our report prior to it airing, which is something 60 Minutes does not do.
CBS Mornings will have more from Anderson Cooper’s 60 Minutes interview with Prince Harry Monday.
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