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Prince William consoles teen, remembers loss of Princess Diana

Prince William helped console a teen with autism grieving the loss of his mom by remembering his own mother ahead of the anniversary of Princess Diana's death.
/ Source: TODAY

A week before the anniversary of Princess Diana's death, Prince William used the painful loss of his mother to console a grieving teenager experiencing the same heartache in a touching encounter Wednesday.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were visiting Keech Hospice Care in Luton when William put a reassuring arm on the shoulder of Ben Hines, 14, who recently lost his own mother to cancer. It has been nearly two decades since William, 34, endured the death of his mother, Princess Diana.

"I know how you feel, I still miss my mother every day and it's 20 years after she died,'' William said. "The important thing is to talk about it as a family. It's OK to feel sad; it's OK for you to miss her."

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The visit came one week before the 19th anniversary of Diana's death in a car crash in Paris in 1997. Hines, who has autism, is the youngest of three boys who lost their mother, Alexandra, at 40 years old in June 2015, according to the UK wire service Press Association.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, shakes hands with a patient during her visit to Keech Hospice Care in Luton
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, shook hands with a patient at Keech Hospice Care during a visit by the royal couple.Reuters
Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, are presented with a personalised memory jar during their visit to Keech Hospice Care in Luton
Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, were presented with a personalized memory jar by Jamie Coniam, right, and Ethan Coniam during their visit to Keech Hospice Care in Luton.Reuters

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As they receive bereavement care at the hospice, William urged the brothers to make sure to communicate their grief to one another and stay close as a family.

"He gave Ben his absolute attention and you could see that it struck a chord with him,'' the boys' father, Gary Hines, told Press Association. "He put his hand on Ben's shoulder and told him time's a healer and to stick together and talk."

The royal couple also visited with other members in the hospice's care, dispensing hugs and smiles.

Earlier in the day in their first public appearance since returning from vacation a month ago, the royal couple visited Youthscape, a charity in Luton that helps teens struggling with self-esteem, self-harm issues and more. They met with a group of girls who has overcome self-harm situations.

The Duke and Duchess Of Cambridge Visit Luton
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Youthscape at Bute Mills to tour the facility and learn about the organization's work.WPA pool via Getty Images

The royal couple has been focused on many issues facing young people, with a particular emphasis on bullying and mental health.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.