A PRINCE’S LEGACY
Last week, at a charity visit made by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Royals encountered a fifteen-year-old boy whose father had died five years ago. Seeing his pain, Prince Harry asked everyone to leave the room so that he could speak privately with the adolescent. The meeting lasted ten minutes and, according to the boy, it was “emotional.”
His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex
Your Royal Highness,
Last night, I was trying to write on the subject of “family.” Such a huge, daunting topic. I can say my mother has brown eyes and hates being called cute. Or my father’s eyes were blue, and he loved tennis. But our families are more than the mere recitation of facts. They are an amalgamation of experiences we’ve had and tell our relatives and, in turn, the stories we hear from them.
As a British Royal, you know hundreds of years of family history, both paternal and maternal. But when your mother passed away, you lost the opportunity to learn so many personal stories that she hadn’t had a chance to tell you. Stories of how she coped with life when she was twelve or fourteen or twenty. Stories that she might have told to educate, comfort, or simply make you laugh. Your godparents, aunts, and uncle might have been able to pass on a few of her stories to you, but I’m sure they weren’t enough.
So, when you asked that a room be cleared to speak privately to a fifteen-year-old boy grieving the loss of his father, you did a truly remarkable and kind thing. You showed that you understood his pain. And from what I’ve read, this is not the only time you have consoled parentless children.
There is a trite phrase we often fall back on when bad things happen: at least something goodthing came out of this. It is said as though the good compensates for that bad thing. It doesn’t do that of course, but, Sir, if you had to suffer the loss of your mother, at least now you can ease other childrens’ pain a bit by telling them that, yes, it hurts, but things do get better. I understand you said to a child who lost his mother something to the effect that your life is good now, that you have love and a child on the way. That things will get better for him as well. Your understanding and delivery of hope to children, who are grieving is probably the greatest thing that you will ever achieve as prince. Yes, you are a representative of your nation and a goodwill ambassador, but your family story will say that you are a sounding board, an advocate, a healer of wounds. And a Prince among Men.