Prince William movingly described last night his anguish over the death of his mother, Princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash when he was just 15.
The second in line to the throne, 33, was speaking at a gala dinner to mark the 21st anniversary of Child Bereavement UK, a charity which his mother helped to launch and which he is now patron of.
Referring to the pain of his mother’s death in 1997, he said: “Grief is the most painful experience that any child or parent can endure.”
The prince said, “Twenty-one years ago last month, my mother attended the launch of the Child Bereavement Charity. Fifteen years later, I was honored to be invited to become Patron of Child Bereavement UK to continue my mother’s commitment to a charity which is very dear to me.
“What my mother recognized back then—and what I understand now—is that grief is the most painful experience that any child or parent can endure. But my mother was determined to help those in need and she would have been immensely proud—as I am—of all that Child Bereavement UK has achieved these last 21 years.
“Tonight we celebrate the enormous, positive difference this charity has made to bereaved families across the country. We celebrate the love, support and skills provided by the charity’s staff, volunteers and supporters. When many people slink away at the sight of a friend’s bereavement, CBUK’s staff embrace strangers at the darkest moment in their life.
“I have witnessed firsthand the difference CBUK has made—and continues to make—to the lives of bereaved families. CBUK works with military families, with the wrecked families of suicide victims, with little children whose lives are torn apart by the inexplicable death of a parent. And yet amid all this misery, CBUK—and I don’t know how they do this—brings warmth, comfort, a guiding hand, a way through, even color and joyfulness, and a renewed opportunity for love as a family re-knits itself after tragedy.
“CBUK’s humanity is simply unparalleled, and it is deeply moving. As a father to two young children myself, I now appreciate it all the more.”
CBUK supports parents who have lost children as well as offering help to a child if they experience bereavement themselves.
Every year the charity trains almost 7000 professionals, helping them to better understand and meet the needs of grieving families.