Tears of a prince. Prince Harry openly cried on Wednesday, June 25, while meeting with two young Brazilian girls who had lost their mother. The 29-year-old royal, recalling the emotional meeting to reporters, including Us Weekly, said part of the reason he shed tears was because he understood their loss, remembering the devastating loss of his own mother, the late Princess Diana.
The Prince was visiting ACER, a project run by a British man named Jonathan Hannay, in the town of Diadema outside of Sao Paulo. ACER's purpose is to help underprivileged local kids -- specifically, those with no parents, to help reunite them with members of their extended family. Harry told reporters he was close to tears as he listened to the heartbreaking stories of young kids who have lost their parents to drugs and violence.
One of the anecdotes he heard was of a woman Cristina da Cruz Nascimento, 41, who raised her two granddaughters Karina, 8, and Carolina, 9, because their father was in jail and their mother was murdered at age 24. Looking over at the two young girls, Harry revealed how their experiences of loss made him recall Diana's fatal car crash in August 1997. "I was completely overwhelmed and shocked," Harry said, clearly touched after the encounter.
"There are two little girls -- I'm quite emotional -- just looking at them," said Harry. "I wanted to talk about my own experiences, but there is no point because it is just so far removed." Added Prince William's younger brother, "The bravery of them looking at me, smiling at me... I wanted to use my own experiences in a very small way, to try to give them a bit of understanding about the fact, [that I saw what they] are going through." (Harry was 12 and William was 15 when Princess Diana died in Paris. The boys were on vacation with their dad Prince Charles when they learned the news of her death.)
Harry lauded their bravery and said: "It seems ridiculous for me to say to these kids, how lucky and fortunate they are, considering their situation. Obviously they are far from that." The Prince, though, mentioned how "other kids like this that aren't as fortunate as them." He lauded Hannay and the local organization -- based in a location which once had the highest murder rate in Sao Paulo, and the second highest murder rate in Brazil as a whole -- for reuniting these young children with family members.
"One of these kids here was five days old when he was left on the street by his mother, because she was on crack," Harry recalled. He said that the experience of meeting the kids was unforgettable and special. "I've never blubbed in public as far as I can remember," Harry confessed. "It was amazing to hear those stories."
(Us Weekly's European Bureau Chief Omid Scobie is among the journalists traveling with Harry during his South American tour.)