Prince Harry believed Princess Diana's death was a hoax until he was 23.
The Duke of Sussex was just 12 years old when his mother died in a car crash in Paris in 1997 but he admitted it was "many years" before he accepted she was really gone, and it took retracing her steps from that fatal night to truly understand she wasn't going to get in touch with him again.
Speaking to Anderson Cooper on '60 Minutes', he said: “For a long time. I just refused to accept that she was gone. Part of [it was] she would never do this to us.
"But also, part of it maybe [felt like] this is all part of a plan
“For a time [I believed she was alive] and then she would call us, and we would go and join her.”
Harry, now 38, claimed his brother Prince William shared his hope Diana was still alive and living a quiet life away from scrutiny.
He said: "William and I talked about it as well. He had similar thoughts.."
When Harry was 20, he asked to see the police report about the crash - which also killed Diana's boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed and their driver Henri Paul - which included photos of the accident scene.
Asked why he wanted to see the report, he said: "Mainly 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."
But Harry's private secretary urged him not to look at all of the photos, and he is thankful he didn't.
He said: "All I saw was the back of my mum's head-- slumped on the back seat. There were other more gruesome photographs, but I will be eternally grateful to him for denying me the ability to inflict pain on myself by seeing that. Because that's the kinda stuff that sticks in your mind forever."
Although the BetterUp CIO still doesn't think he has the "answers" he wants about his mother's death, he no longer wants to have her inquest reopened.
He said: "William and I considered reopening the inquest. Because there were so many gaps and so many holes in it. Which just didn't add up and didn't make sense."
Asked if he still wants to do that, he said: "I don't even know if it's an option now. But no, I think - brrrr - would I like to do that now? It's a hell of a question, Anderson.
"Truth be known, no. I don't think I do [have the answers I need]. 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."