Prince Harry is opening up about the death of his mother, Princess Diana, in hopes of helping children cope with their own loss.
The Duke of Sussex revealed details of his lasting grief in a foreword for the upcoming book “Hospital by the Hill” written by Chris Connaughton and illustrated by Fay Troote. In the foreword, Harry reflects on the loss he faced 23 years ago following the tragic death of his mother when he was just 12-years-old.
“If you are reading this book, it’s because you’ve lost your parent or a loved one, and while I wish I was able to hug you right now, I hope this story is able to provide you comfort in knowing that you’re not alone,” he wrote in the foreword, obtained by TODAY. “When I was a young boy I lost my mum. 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.”
He continued, writing, “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,” he said. “I find this to be true.”
He added, “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 book, which will be released to mark the U.K.’s National Day of Reflection on March 23, tells the story of a young person who has to come to terms with the loss of their mother, a frontline worker at a hospital. It tackles topics like bereavement and is being released in an effort to help children or young people who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 during the pandemic.
“Helping others is one of the most important jobs anyone can ever do,” the foreword continued. “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.”
The book will be provided for free to any child or young person in the U.K. who has been affected by these occurrences, according to a press release.
Harry ended on an optimistic note, writing, “I hope this book helps remind you of just how special your parent or loved one was. And how special you are too.”
Throughout the years, Harry and Prince William have been candid about their grief after losing their mother at ages 12 and 15, respectively.
"When you've been through something traumatic in life, that is, your dad not being around, my mother dying when I was younger, your emotions come back in leaps and bounds because it's a very different phase of life, and there's no one there to kind of help you,” he explained.
In October 2019, Harry described his mother’s death as “a wound that festers” in the ITV documentary “Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.”
“I think being part of this family, in this role, in this job, every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back,” he explained. “So, in that respect, it’s the worst reminder of her life, as opposed to the best.”