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In his devastating new book, Spare, Prince Harry shares his grief over the loss of his mum, Princess Diana.
In a recent excerpt, the Duke of Sussex recounts traveling through the same tunnel in Paris where Diana was fatally injured in a vehicle accident in 1997. Harry was 23 years old and had just arrived in Paris for the 2007 Rugby World Cup semifinal.
“The World Cup provided me with a driver, and on my first night in the City of Light I asked him if he knew the tunnel where my mother … I watched his eyes in the rearview, growing large. The tunnel is called Pont de l’Alma, I told him,” the excerpt reads
According to Harry’s account, he asked the driver to travel through the tunnel at 65 mph. “The exact speed Mummy’s car had supposedly been driving, according to police, at the time of the crash. Not 120 miles per hour, as the press originally reported.”
Following that, the Duke of Sussex describes passing the hotel where Diana had spent some of her dying minutes together with her then-boyfriend, Dodi Fayed.
“Off we went, weaving through traffic, cruising past the Ritz, where Mummy had her last meal, with her boyfriend, that August night,” Harry writes.
“Then we came to the mouth of the tunnel. We zipped ahead, went over the lip at the tunnel’s entrance, the bump that supposedly sent Mummy’s Mercedes veering off course. But the lip was nothing. We barely felt it,” he continues. “As the car entered the tunnel I leaned forward, watched the light change to a kind of water orange, watched the concrete pillars flicker past. I counted them, counted my heartbeats, and in a few seconds we emerged from the other side. I sat back. Quietly I said: Is that all of it? It’s … nothing. Just a straight tunnel. I’d always imagined the tunnel as some treacherous passageway, inherently dangerous, but it was just a short, simple, no-frills tunnel. No reason anyone should ever die inside it.”
In his book, Harry mentions asking the driver to pass through the tunnel one more time. However, he admits that the closure he had hoped to find left him uneasy.
“It had been a very bad idea. I’d had plenty of bad ideas in my twenty-three years, but this one was uniquely ill-conceived,” he writes. “I’d told myself that I wanted closure, but I didn’t really. Deep down, I’d hoped to feel in that tunnel what I’d felt when JLP gave me the police files—disbelief. Doubt. Instead, that was the night all doubt fell away. She’s dead, I thought. My God, she’s really gone for good.“
He adds, “I got the closure I was pretending to seek. I got it in spades. And now I’d never be able to get rid of it. I’d thought driving the tunnel would bring an end, or brief cessation, to the pain, the decade of unrelenting pain. Instead it brought on the start of Pain, Part Deux.”
On January 10, Spare will be formally made available to the public.
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