The Duke of Sussex revealed the details of the emotional moment in an excerpt from his upcoming memoir, Spare, set to hit shelves on Tuesday, January 10.
Harry noted that he'd been in Paris attending the 2007 Rugby World Cup when the idea first popped into his head. He asked his driver if he knew Pont de l'Alma tunnel, claiming the other man's eyes grew "large" in the rearview mirror when he realized what the young royal was about to ask him to do.
"You want me to go through the tunnel?" He recalled the driver asking, to which Harry replied, "At sixty-five miles per hour — to be precise."
"The exact speed Mummy's car had supposedly been driving, according to police, at the time of the crash," the excerpt continued. "Not 120 miles per hour, as the press originally reported."
"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," Harry added, referring to Diana's lover at the time, Dodi Fayed, who was also killed the night of the car accident.
"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," the passage read. "I sat back. Quietly I said: 'Is that all of it? It's…nothing. Just a straight tunnel.'"
Harry explained that he had always assumed the area was "treacherous" and "dangerous," but instead, it was just a "no-frills tunnel" that nobody should ever have died inside.
"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," Harry confessed in the memoir's pages. "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," the passage continued. "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."
People was first to report the excerpt detailing Harry's painful drive through the tunnel where his mother died.