Prince Harry's car chase a chilling reminder of Diana's death

The death of the prince's mother in 1997, when she was being pursued by photographers, has shaped his life

Princess Diana and Prince Harry.
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Prince Harry’s latest brush with the paparazzi in the US inevitably has echoes of the car crash that killed his mother.

The pursuit of Princess Diana by photographers through the streets of Paris in 1997 ended in tragedy when the car she was in crashed, killing her and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed.

The prince and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, were involved in a “near-catastrophic car chase” that involved several “aggressive” paparazzi, the couple's representative said on Wednesday.

At the time of his mother's death, Prince Harry was just 12 and the world watched him and his brother Prince William walk behind her coffin at her funeral.

That memory and the anger he feels towards the British tabloid press, whom he blames collectively for Diana's death, have cast a shadow over his life and continue to shape his worldview.

In his autobiography Spare, he described the guilt and grief he felt as a child while walking outside Kensington Palace after his mother's death.

He has made it clear that he sees a parallel between the treatment of his wife by the UK tabloids and that of his mother, and he is concerned about the potential for a comparable outcome.

“I don't want history to repeat itself,” he said in an interview with UK broadcaster ITV. “I do not want to be a single dad and I certainly don't want my children to have a life without a mother or a father.”

A million bouquets were left at Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, and St. James's Palace after Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed. Getty Images

He said he believed “the people that were predominantly responsible for it, all got away with it”.

The prince's three ongoing lawsuits against three British newspapers show his desire to settle scores has not diminished.

He told Oprah Winfrey in 2021 that such was the devastation he felt after his mother's death that he refused to believe she was dead for years.

Princess Diana through the years – in pictures

“The clicking of cameras and the flashing of cameras makes my blood boil,” he said.

“It makes me angry and takes me back to what happened to my mum and my experience as a kid.”

Updated: May 17, 2023, 6:07 PM