Prince Harry says a sergeant from his military academy gave him the confidence boost he needed during a time in his youth when he lacked guidance and was trying to cope with his mother’s death.
"I lost my mum when I was very young and suddenly I was surrounded by a huge number of men in the army,” he told a group of students at a mentoring event at the Mackie Academie in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. “I was at a stage in my life when I was probably lacking a bit in guidance.”
While meeting with students training to become mentors, Harry wrote in “Colour Sergeant” in the blank space on a paper that asked him to name his mentor.
“He was someone who teased me at the right moments and gave me the confidence to look forward, to actually have that confidence in yourself to know who you are and to push forward and try to help others,” he said of the man, whose name he didn't reveal because “he wouldn’t want me to.”
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The training session was part of the Diana Award, a charity set up to recognize young role models who help others.
Harry’s trip to Scotland was part of a visit Tuesday that focused on mentoring. The prince also paid a visit to a youth sports initiative at Robert Gordon University, where he played street hockey, soccer and other sports with the students.
Harry was 12 when Princess Diana was killed in a 1997 car crash. He joined the military academy in 2005.
While talking to those who received this year's Diana Award, Harry met 17-year-old Jamie McIntosh, an Edinburgh student who wrote a book to help teenagers deal with grief following the death of his mother, who died from breast cancer. McIntosh told the prince he wrote the book after struggling to find anything to help teenagers go through losses like his.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Prince Harry told McIntosh. “It’s trying to stop other kids in your position having to go through what you had to go through, and now your book is going to help everyone around you.”
Harry recently spoke out about how he wish he talked earlier about his mother's death and the impact it had on him.
“I really regret not ever talking about it. For the first 28 years of my life, I never talked about it,” he said during a Kensington Palace event in June for Heads Together, the charity he, his brother, Prince William, and sister-in-law, Duchess Kate, formed to raise awareness about mental health.