Prince Harry Says He Believed Princess Diana Might Still Be Alive Until He Was 23: ‘I Had Huge Amounts of Hope’ (Video)

Harry told Anderson Cooper that Prince William had “similar thoughts” about their mother potentially faking her death to disappear

Prince Harry opened up about his life in and out of the Royal Palace in Sunday’s “60 Minutes” interview with Anderson Cooper, and while Harry and Meghan’s exit from the family takes up most of the interview, he also revealed that he didn’t immediately believe Princess Diana was dead after her fateful car crash in 1997.

“For a long time, I just refused to accept that she was gone. She would never do this to us, but also maybe this is all part of a plan,” Harry told Cooper, adding that he believed she had maybe faked her death and would eventually reunite with Harry and Prince William.

Harry said he had “huge amounts of hope” and that his brother William “had similar thoughts,” adding that he believed Diana might still be alive for “many, many years” after her death.

When he was 20, Harry asked to see the police report and photos from Diana’s crash. When asked why, he told Cooper he was still looking for proof.

“Proof that she was in the car. Proof that she was 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 he’s grateful that his personal secretary and advisor dissuaded him from looking at the more gruesome photographs, but it wasn’t until he was 23 and visited the Paris site of the crash that he finally believed his mother was gone.

“I wanted to see whether it was possible driving at the speed that Henri Paul was driving that you could lose control of a car and plow into a pillar killing almost everybody in that car. I need to take this journey. I need to ride the same route,” he said. “Because William and I had already been told, ‘The event was like a bicycle chain. If you remove one of those chains, the end result would not have happened.’ And the paparazzi chasing was part of that. But yet, everybody got away with it.”

He added that he and William have considered reopening the inquest into the event, which is still officially dubbed a “tragic accident,” and said he still doesn’t feel like he has all the answers.

“Truth be known, no. I don’t think I do. And I don’t think my brother does either. 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.”

You can watch Prince Harry’s full 30-minute interview with Anderson Cooper at “60 Minutes.”