Parenting

Prince William Comforts Girl Whose Dad Died: 'I Lost My Mummy When I Was Very Young Too'

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, often find themselves in the news. Everything from their two adorable children to Kate’s impeccable style catches the eye of reporters, however, it is their charitable work that comes up again and again.

Recently the couple took some time to visit two very important places. First, Kate found herself at the Anna Freud Centre in London, where she met with young mothers with emotional problems who were learning to bond with their children. Despite having quite a bit of help at home with her own kids, Kate empathized with the women she met, discussing how hard it is to be a parent.

Then Wills and Kate visited young children at the Child Bereavement UK Centre in Stratford. The visit for the prince hit close to home. He took some time to sit with nine-year-old Aoife, whose father died of pancreatic cancer six years ago. She and her brother, who is now twelve, had a difficult time adjusting to the loss. Remarkably, William opened up to Aoife about the loss of his own mother.

The Daily Mail reports:

The prince, who later this year will mark the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, asked Aoife, nine: “Do you know what happened to me? You know I lost my mummy when I was very young too. I was 15 and my brother was 12.”

The prince, accompanied by his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, was visiting the Child Bereavement UK Centre in Stratford, which is marking its one year anniversary, and provides support for children and families when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing personal loss.

He urged Aoife, whose father John died from pancreatic cancer six years ago, not to bottle up her loss, adding:  “Do you speak about your daddy? It’s very important to talk about it. Very, very important.”

Aoife’s mother, Marie, said afterwards: “I couldn’t believe it when he started to talk about his mother. It was very emotional and I was willing myself not to start to cry. I almost did.”

The centre, which was established in 1994 and works with countless bereaved families every year, was founded by Julia Samuel, a friend to Princess Diana. Samuel has known William since he was a child (she is even Prince George’s godmother), and he has been involved himself since 2009.

Ms. Samuel had this to say about the involvement of the duke and duchess:

She said the couple “put people at their ease by being so warm and so open and cracking jokes. You can see the terror in peoples’ eyes as they walk in and then you can see that fall away within a few minutes as people realise they are normal. That is always kind of touching to see.”

[…]

She added: “What William is bringing to our charity is just immeasurable. He has lived and breathed what these families are experiencing. He is really involved as a patron and believes in the service we can offer.”

“Grief is an invisible wound, people don’t know what you are suffering, they don’t offer you a chair to sit on because you look ill.”

“But William knows and recognises this and I think people respond to this.”

When speaking with Aoife and her family, William put a child’s bereavement in terms we can all understand:

“Never being able to say the word ‘Mummy’ again in your life sounds like a small thing,” he said. “Life is altered as you know it, and not a day goes past without you thinking about the one you have lost.”

You can see part of William’s interaction with young Aoife in the Tweet below!