Prince Harry has a message for children who have lost parents to COVID-19: “I know how you feel.” In a foreword for a new British children’s book, the royal wrote directly to children whose parents are no longer with them to help them cope with their bereavement.
The book’s subject is about a child whose mother, an essential worker, dies of COVID-19. Harry opens up about his own continued grief and how the loss of his mother, Princess Diana, affected him.
A New Children’s Book Features a Foreword by Prince Harry Who Reveals He Sought Therapy to Cope with His Mother’s Death.
In the foreword to the book titled Hospital by the Hill, Prince Harry shares how he struggled to accept the death of his mom Princess Diana, who died in 1997 when he was just 12. He hopes the book will provide “comfort in knowing you are not alone.”
“When I was a young boy I lost my mum,” Harry wrote for the book. “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. 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.”
“Now, I never met them, but I know this person was special to you, and they were someone incredibly kind, caring and loving because of where they chose to work,” the foreword reads. “Helping others is one of the most important jobs anyone can ever do.”
“You may feel alone, you may feel sad, you may feel angry, you may feel bad. This feeling will pass. And I will make a promise to you – you will feel better and stronger once you are ready to talk about how it makes you feel.”
“I hope this book helps remind you of just how special your parent or loved one was. And how special you are too,” Harry sweetly writes.
The prince had previously said that he did not properly absorb the weight of his mother’s death and instead reacted by “sticking my head in the sand,” he told Bryony Gordon on her podcast in 2017. He credited his brother, Prince William, for his “huge support” in encouraging him to seek professional help through treatment when Harry was 28-years-old.
Hospital by the Hill is set for release a week ahead of Britain’s National Day of Reflection. The book is written by Chris Connaughton and illustrated by Fay Troote and it tells the story of a child who must come to terms with the death of their mother who worked on the frontlines of the UK’s battle with coronavirus. The book will be offered, free of charge, to any child who has lost a parent in this manner.
The book will also promote the services of three charities that seek to provide mental health and comfort to young people: Simon Says, Winston’s Wish, and Child Bereavement UK. Child Bereavement UK is headed by Prince William and the late Princess Diana’s friend, Julia Samuel.
Harry first learned of the child bereavement charity Simon Says thanks to a friend at the Invictus Games Foundation. Sally Stanley, the founder, requested the Prince to take part in the book last summer.
“The idea of a book for children and young people bereaved as a result of Coronavirus began in the Spring of 2020 when the number of frontline workers dying became very significant,” Stanley, the founder of Simon Says, shared in a statement.
“Being bereaved of a loved one is very difficult at any time in the life of a child or young person,” Stanley said. “The restrictions that surrounded the close contact of family members during the pandemic 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.”
Last week, on what was Britain’s Mother’s Day, Harry made sure flowers were taken to the gravesite of his mother at her family home of Althorp in Northamptonshire, England.
We are so pleased that Harry is using his time of despair to let others know that they are not alone. Over 126,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the UK so there is clearly plenty of heartache the prince can help to mend.
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