Prince Harry shared how the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, impacted him in a new book to support grief-stricken children and young people who have lost their loved ones in the pandemic.
The Duke of Sussex has written the foreword for a book “Hospital by the Hill,” a project from the Hampshire child bereavement support charity and Simon Says. It comes out on the UK’s day of reflection next Tuesday, the first national lockdown anniversary.
The book tails the story of a young person handling the death of their mother, who worked in a local hospital on the coronavirus crisis’s frontline.
“If you are reading this book, it’s because you’ve lost your parent or a loved one, and while I wish I was able to hug you right now, I hope this story is able to provide you comfort in knowing that you’re not alone,” Harry’s message starts.
He then reflects on his own experience with his mother leaving at a young age and reveals how it made him feel.
“When I was a young boy I lost my mum. At the time I didn’t want to believe it or accept it, and it left a huge hole inside of me. I know how you feel, and I want to assure you that over time that hole will be filled with so much love and support,” Harry shares.
“We all cope with loss in a different way, but when a parent goes to heaven, I was told their spirit, their love and the memories of them do not. They are always with you and you can hold onto them forever. I find this to be true.”
The introduction finished with the prince sharing his understanding of being alone and grief, soothing readers that the “feeling will pass.”
Princess Diana got killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997, and her partner, Dodi Fayed, and driver, Henri Paul, when paparazzi were chasing their vehicle on bikes.
Both William and Harry have earlier expressed their mental health tussles in the wake of their mother’s death. Talking in a 2019 BBC documentary, the Duke of Cambridge mentioned he felt “pain like no other” post her death and asked people to feel comfortable sharing their personal feelings and struggles.
“I think when you are bereaved at a very young age — any time really, but particularly at a young age, I can resonate closely to that — you feel pain like no other pain, and you know that in your life it’s going to be very difficult to come across something that’s going to be even worse pain than that,” William mentioned.
“I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12 and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but also my work as well,” Harry said. “Then I started to have a few conversations and then, all of a sudden, all of this grief that I’d never processed came to the forefront. I was like, ‘There’s actually a lot of stuff here I need to deal with.'”
On the occasion of what would have been Princess of Wales’ 60th birthday, in July, Harry, along with his brother, William, is expected to part of the unveiling ceremony of Diana’s statue mounted at Kensington Gardens in London.
It will be the first time Harry and William have seen each other since Harry moved to California with his family.
The founder of Simon Says, Sally Stanley mentioned that the idea for a new book to help bereaved children of key workers appeared last spring.
Stanley mentioned that the death of a loved one is “difficult at any time in the life of a child or young person”, but the methods introduced to fight the virus “make it much harder for them to say goodbye in the way that we are used to.”
“I hope that this book will help children and young people to remember their special person whose work was to help others,” she further added.