After the death of mother Princess Diana, Prince Harry understands the sorrow of a child grieving the loss of a parental figure.
“As many of us observe and reflect on Remembrance Sunday, I wanted to write to you and let you know you are all in my thoughts and heart today,” the Duke of Sussex, 38, shared in a Sunday, November 13, open letter to Scotty’s Little Soldiers, a British nonprofit that supports children of deceased military veterans. “We share a bond even without ever meeting one another, because we share in having lost a parent.”
Harry added: “I know first-hand the pain and grief that comes with loss and want you to know that you are not alone. … While difficult feelings will come up today as we pay tribute to heroes like your mum or dad, I hope you can find comfort and strength in knowing that their love for you lives and shines on.”
Remembrance is celebrated across the British Commonwealth each November, as the royals and citizens honor the duty and sacrifice of military veterans and current service members. To show their support, many individuals wear red poppy pins on their lapels. Veterans and Scotty’s Little Soldiers kids went on to march in Sunday’s London processional while Harry offered his support from afar. (The Spare author lives in California with wife Meghan Markle and their two children after stepping down from his role as a senior royal in 2020.)
“Whenever you need a reminder of [your strength], I encourage you to lean into your friends at Scotty’s Little Soldiers,” Harry — who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan — added in his letter. “One of the ways I’ve learned to cope has been through community and talking about my grief, and I couldn’t be more grateful and relieved that you have amazing people walking beside you throughout your journey.”
He continued: “We all know some days are harder than others, but together those are made easier.”
At the age of 12, Harry lost his mother, Diana, following a fatal car crash in Paris. The BetterUp CIO notably walked behind her casket during her emotional funeral procession in September 1997, alongside brother Prince William and father King Charles III. Since then, Harry has been vocal about honoring the late Princess of Wales’ legacy through the years.
“[We] very much so [talk about her],” the former military pilot told Hoda Kotb in April of discussing Diana’s memory with his 3-year-old son, Archie. “I don’t tell him all the stuff that happened but certainly, ‘This is Grandma Diana.’ We’ve got pictures up in the house.”
“It’s almost as if she’s done her bit with my brother and now she’s very much helping me. … He’s got his kids [Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, and] I’ve got my kids,” the duke added at the time. “The circumstances are obviously different, but I feel her presence almost daily. … She’s watching over us.”