Prince Harry’s childhood was greatly affected by the car accident that killed Princess Diana, leaving Harry and his brother, Prince William, without a mother. Harry wrote plenty about his beloved mother in his book, Spareand didn’t fail to accuse his father, King Charles, of being remiss in his duties insofar as consoling his two young sons.

As we all know, Princess Diana and then-Prince Charles’s marriage ended in a bitter feud and divorce. The late princess spoke plenty about how things spiraled after Harry was born, and how her and Charles’s union “went down the drain.”

In his tell-all memoir, Harry revealed many things about his upbringing. But one of the most shocking might be how Charles allegedly acted the day his youngest son was born.

Prince Harry laid out his entire life in his book Spare, released in January. The Duke didn’t take any prisoners in the pages of the memoir, bashing everyone from his father to his brother, and discussing many uncomfortable topics from his early days.

The royals have not commented on any of the claims Harry made in Spare, and they likely never will. But it’s safe to conclude that the rift between Harry and the Firm was widened by the accusations he made.

Princess Diana’s horror accident in Paris

Despite Harry returning to the UK to attend his father’s coronation last month, he didn’t spend any more time than he needed to with his brother or the rest of the royals. In fact, reports suggested that some senior royals were relieved that Harry decided to fly back to the US straight after the coronation ceremony instead of staying for their joint lunch.

Today, Harry can count himself a veteran of significant royal events. Sadly, one of his first big ones was the funeral of his mother, Princess Diana.

In the early hours of 31 August 1997, at approximately 12.23 am, Princess Diana’s car crashed in The Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris, France. She received lengthy treatment by medics at the scene but suffered cardiac arrest while in the ambulance.

Diana reached the hospital six minutes past two in the morning. Upon arrival at the hospital, she underwent an X-ray that revealed she had suffered severe internal injuries. As a result, she immediately received a blood transfusion.

Just 15 minutes after arriving at the hospital, Diana suffered another cardiac arrest. Doctors performed a surgical procedure, but Diana’s injuries were too grave.

Her heart would not restart, and the beloved princess, to the shock of the world, died.

The passing of Diana was a national tragedy, with more than 39 million people in the UK tuning in to watch her funeral on television. Globally, it’s estimated that more than 2 billion people watched it, making it one of the most-watched broadcasts in history.

Princess Diana
Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Millions mourned the princess, but of course, as is always the case, it was her family who bore the deepest wounds.

“We couldn’t understand why their hands were wet”

Harry recalled the moment he got word of his mother’s passing in his book, Spare. He described how his father sat beside his bed, telling him: “Darling boy, Mummy’s been in a car crash.

“There were complications. Mummy was quite badly injured and taken to hospital, darling boy,” Harry recalled his father saying. “He always called me ‘darling boy,’ but he was saying it quite a lot now. His voice was soft. He was in shock, it seemed.

“With a head injury. They tried, darling boy. I’m afraid she didn’t make it.”

The prince further claimed that Charles put his hand on his knee, saying: “It’s going to be OK,” but that he “didn’t hug” him.

“Everyone knows where they were and what they were doing the night my mother died,” Harry stated.

“I cried once, at the burial, and you know I go into detail about how strange it was and how actually there was some guilt that I felt and I think William felt as well, by walking around the outside of Kensington Palace.”

“There were 50,000 bouquets of flowers to our mother and there we were shaking people’s hands, smiling,” he continued. “I’ve seen the videos, right, I looked back over it all. And the wet hands that we were shaking, we couldn’t understand why their hands were wet, but it was all the tears that they were wiping away.”

Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

Harry and William walked behind Diana’s coffin as the procession reached Westminster Abbey. Later, Harry slammed the decision that the two young boys – 12 and 15, respectively – had to walk through London with the world watching.

“My mother had just died, and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television,” he told Newsweek in 2017. “I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”

Harry drove through the tunnel where his mother had the accident

The Pont de I’Alma tunnel, where Diana’s car crashed, became somewhat of a tourist attraction, as well as a place for fans to mourn and remember her. In 2007, Harry decided to visit the tunnel and drive the route his mother had taken that night in 1997.

The Duke had been invited to Paris to attend the Ruby World Cup semi-final, and on his first night in the French capital, he asked the driver to take him to the tunnel.

Harry asked to drive 65 miles per hour, “the exact speed Mummy’s car had supposedly been driving, according to police, at the time of the crash.”

“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,” Harry recalled in his book.

“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, and watched the concrete pillars flicker past. I counted them, counted my heartbeats, and in a few seconds we emerged from the other side.”

Harry concluded: “I’d always imagined the tunnel as some treacherous passageway, inherently dangerous, but it was just a short, simple, no-frills tunnel.”

Diana, tunnel, paris
Shutterstock/Edward Haylan

There will always be plenty of interest when a royal baby is born. When Prince George, the first son of Prince William and Kate Middleton, was born, the media interest was huge, and the same went for Harry and Meghan when they announced the birth of Archie.

Princess Diana said Charles was unhappy with Harry being a boy when born

In his book, Harry revealed that the couple fooled the press to get some privacy when their firstborn was welcomed into the world. At the same time, one can imagine that the pressure of having a royal baby is immense, as it’s directly linked to “securing” the monarchy’s future.

Decades ago, then-Prince Charles and Princes Diana experienced the same thing. Since then, the monarchy has been modernized a fair bit, but at that point, a baby was expected to arrive relatively soon after the wedding.

Princess Diana felt enormous pressure when the time came to give birth to her first son, Prince William. In Diana: Her True Story, author Andrew Morton wrote that Diana felt the pressure was “unbearable” and even tried to pick a day when Charles wasn’t playing polo.”

There was great excitement when William was welcomed into the world. Yet when Harry arrived a few years later, Charles appeared not to be as thrilled.

In Diana: Her True Story, Diana claimed that Charles always wanted a daughter – and barely hid his disappointment when he saw Harry for the first time.

“I knew Harry was going to be a boy because I saw on the scan,” she explained. “Charles always wanted a girl. He wanted two children, and he wanted a girl. I knew Harry was a boy, and I didn’t tell him.”

Princess diana
Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

“First comment was: ‘Oh God, it’s a boy,’ second comment: ‘And he’s even got red hair,’” Diana added.

Harry claims Charles allegedly made a cruel joke about him being a “spare”

Moreover, Charles allegedly expressed how he felt let down when Harry was christened. According to the late princess, Charles told her mother: “We were so disappointed – we thought it would be a girl.”

“Mummy snapped his head off, saying: ‘You should realize how lucky you are to have a child that’s normal.’ Ever since that day, the shutters have come down, and that’s what he does when he gets somebody answering back at him,” Diana said, adding that as Harry was born, their marriage “went down the drain.”

That Harry was unhappy with how Charles acted after his mother’s death is no secret. Harry mentioned how he believed that, as Spare‘s title confers, he was his family’s “spare” member. He even claimed he knew he was born in case his big brother William needed blood or an organ donation.

“I was the shadow, the support, the plan B,” Harry wrote. “I was brought into the world in case something happened to Willy, I was summoned to provide backup, distraction, diversion … This was all made explicitly clear to me from the start of life’s journey.”

The word “spare” has been synonymous with Harry and his feelings about his role in the Royal Family. He even claimed that Charles was the first to say the word.

Princess Diana
Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Harry told a story in his book about a “joke” his father “allegedly” told Diana the day he was born.

“‘Wonderful! Now you’ve given me an heir and a spare — my work is done,’” Harry wrote of his dad’s words in Spare.

“I think she would be sad”

“On the other hand, minutes after delivering this bit of high comedy, Pa was said to have gone off to meet with his girlfriend,” Harry said, referring to now-Queen Camilla. “So, many a true word is spoken in jest.”

Harry has previously revealed how he and his brother promised their mother never to fight and always stay friends. At the time of writing, it’s abundantly clear that they haven’t honored the promise made to Diana, but hopefully, this will change as time goes by. The same can be said for Harry’s relationship with King Charles.

In an interview with Good Morning America, Harry said he had “felt the presence of my mum more so in the last two years than I have in the last 30.”

Moreover, Harry stated that she would have been very sorrowful about the situation between him and his brother.

“I think she would be sad,” Harry said. “I think she’d be looking at it long term to know that there are certain things that we need to go through to be able to heal the relationship.”

We will never forget the grace, love, and comfort Princess Diana brought to the world. Please, share this article to honor her legacy.