Prince Harry Insisted on Going Through the Tunnel Where Princess Diana Died at the Same Speed She Did

In 2007, the prince drove through the Pont de l’Alma — twice.

Prince Harry Sitting on Princess Diana's Lap
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Prince Harry's upcoming biography, Spare, and the promotion surrounding its release have already revealed several bombshell truths about the royal family (including a physical altercation with his brother, Prince William). The latest headline comes from an excerpt of the memoir obtained by People that details a time when Prince Harry insisted on driving through the tunnel where his mother Princess Diana died in 1997.

In 2007, a 23-year-old Prince Harry attended the Rugby World Cup semifinal in Paris, France, where he requested that his driver travel through the tunnel where Diana was killed at the exact same speed her car was going.

Read on for a retelling of the night Prince Harry sought closure for his mother's death. Spare will be available Jan. 10.

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.

Yes, yes. He knew it.

I want to go through it.

You want to go through the tunnel?

At sixty-five miles per hour — to be precise.

Sixty-five?

Yes.

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.

The driver looked over at the passenger seat. Billy the Rock nodded gravely. Let's do it. Billy added that if the driver ever revealed to another human that we'd asked him to do this, we'd find him and there would be hell to pay.

The driver gave a solemn nod.

Off we went, weaving through traffic, cruising past the Ritz, where Mummy had her last meal, with her boyfriend, that August night. 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.

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.

The driver and Billy the Rock didn't answer.

I looked out the window: Again.

The driver stared at me in the rearview. Again?

Yes. Please.

We went through again.

That's enough. Thank you.

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. 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.

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.

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