UK

Harry pens moving letter to bereaved military children in new role for charity

The Duke of Sussex has become a global ambassador for the charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers (Jordan Pettitt/PA)
The Duke of Sussex has become a global ambassador for the charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers (Jordan Pettitt/PA) The Duke of Sussex has become a global ambassador for the charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

The Duke of Sussex has written a moving letter to bereaved military children ahead of Remembrance Sunday in his new role as a global ambassador for the charity supporting them.

Harry sent words of support to youngsters who are members of Scotty’s Little Soldiers, telling them that grief was nothing to be ashamed of, but they also deserved to be happy.

The duke, whose mother Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car crash when he was 12, said: “Growing up, having a lost a parent, is immensely difficult.

“But being part of a such a strong and resilient community like Scotty’s can really help.”

He added: “Grief is nothing to be ashamed of; it’s normal to feel sadness from loss.

“But don’t you forget that you also deserve to feel happiness – your parent would want that, trust me”.

Harry, who saw frontline service in Afghanistan, was stripped of his prestigious royal patronages and honorary military roles by the late Queen after stepping down from royal duties.

His new role as Scotty’s first ever global ambassador brings him back closer to the British armed forces and is likely to be of great importance to him.

Armistice Day 2018
Armistice Day 2018 The Duke of Sussex during a Remembrance service at the Cenotaph (Victoria Jones/PA)

He has been involved with the charity since 2017 and last year recorded a surprise video message dressed as Spider-man for its children’s Christmas party.

Nikki Scott, founder of Scotty’s Little Soldiers, said: “We are really excited Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex is joining Scotty’s as a global ambassador.

“He’s supported Scotty’s for a number of years and having been bereaved as a child himself, and having served in the British armed forces, including deploying to Afghanistan, Prince Harry resonates with our members.

“They know he truly understands them and the challenges they face as bereaved military children.”

She added: “The duke is also able to use his profile to help raise awareness of the charity, meaning that we can reach and support more children and young people who have experienced the death of a parent who served in the British Armed Forces.”

Harry acknowledged that the events around Remembrance Sunday could be a “particularly difficult time” for the youngsters and their families.

“This is an incredibly important and emotional time of year, when so many come together to pay their respects to your military parents and our military family, for their service and their sacrifice,” he said.

He said it was an “honour” to be a “part of this community alongside you”.

In 2020 – the year of Megxit – Harry was refused his wish to have a poppy wreath placed at the Cenotaph – the focus of the UK’s Remembrance events – on his behalf.

On Monday, Harry and the Duchess of Sussex attended the opening of a new Navy Seal Foundation training centre for military veterans in San Diego.

The couple, both wearing red Remembrance poppies, joined a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Warrior Fitness Programme facility.

Invictus Games – Dusseldorf
Invictus Games – Dusseldorf The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during a medal ceremony at the Invictus Games (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

They watched and clapped as the foundation’s chief executive Robin King cut the red ribbon with an oversized pair of golden scissors.

Ms King said with a smile to the former working royals: “You’ve done this before, right?” causing them both to laugh.

Meghan offered her congratulations to the foundation.

The centre aims to help servicemen and women and veterans, with their families, transition to daily life mentally and physically after combat service.

Earlier on Monday, Harry and Meghan visited servicemen and women and veterans and their families at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, California.

King Charles III’s 75th Birthday
King Charles III’s 75th Birthday The King will celebrate his 75th birthday on Tuesday (James Manning/PA)

They spent time hearing about Operation Bigs – a mentoring programme for children of military families to share experience of the challenges faced by having a parent in the armed forces.

Harry’s father the King turns 75 on Tuesday and is said to be celebrating with a party for close family and friends at Clarence House.

It was reported Harry and Meghan turned down an invitation, but the couple’s team has insisted he was not invited.

A spokesperson for the Sussexes said: “In response to UK media headlines, there has been no contact regarding an invitation to His Majesty’s upcoming birthday.”