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Prince Harry Details ‘Hardest Thing’ About Dealing With Grief as a Kid

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Prince Harry was overcome with emotion while speaking with the founder of a charity that helps bereaved military children.

In a video uploaded Thursday, June 27, Harry, 39, sat down with Nikki Scott, who founded Scotty’s Little Soldiers after her husband, Corporal Lee Scott, was killed while serving in Afghanistan. The video was released ahead of the U.K.’s Armed Forces Day, which honors those actively serving, veterans and their families each year on the last Saturday in June.

“What you’ve done is incredible,” Harry told Nikki, who launched her organization in 2010. “It is truly inspirational. I know that word gets thrown around a lot, but it is. And to see the difference in some of the kids here … you can see that they’re still processing their grief, but this community of support is everything. It’s amazing.”

The Duke of Sussex acknowledged the pain that comes with losing a loved one, noting, “You convince yourself that the person you’ve lost wants you, or you need, to be sad for as long as possible, to prove to them that they’re missed, but then there’s this realization (of), ‘No, they must want me to be happy.’”

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Both Harry and Nikki were on the verge of tears as she recalled the day she was told about her husband’s death in 2009. At the time, Nikki faced the challenge of breaking the news to her son, Kai, who was 5. (The pair’s daughter, Brooke, was 7 months old.)

Prince Harry Overcome With Emotion in Candid Conversation About Grief
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“It was the worst. How do you tell a 5-year-old this?” Nikki said. “Because I literally just shattered his world. … He knew that life was never ever going to be the same.”

Nikki noted it felt “so corny” for one of her first thoughts to be about how many other children were experiencing a similar loss, but Harry insisted, “There’s nothing corny about that.”

Nikki explained that she told her son the news just hours after she found out. “He’s autistic as well, so I knew I had to be really clear and not confuse him, but you also wanna protect your children,” she said, claiming that Kai “knew” something was wrong when he got home from school that day.

Harry, a global ambassador for the organization, praised Nikki for doing “the best that you could” in a difficult situation. “It’s a conversation I will never forget,” she added.

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When it comes to grief, Harry said “the hardest thing” for young kids to do is be open about their feelings. “(They think), ‘I don’t want to talk about it because it will make me sad.’ … If you suppress this for too long, you can’t suppress it forever, it is not sustainable and it will eat away at you inside,” he said.

Scotty’s Little Soldiers helps more than 650 kids in need with the goal of supporting “at least 1,000 children annually” by 2030. Harry first connected with Nikki at a Buckingham Palace event in 2017, and her cause hit close to home given his own experience with losing a parent.

Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997 when he was 12 years old. Through the years, he’s been candid about the lasting impact of his mom’s death and her public funeral. In a 2023 interview with Anderson Cooper, Harry confessed that it took more than 10 years for him to fully accept her death.

“For a long time. I just refused to accept that she was gone. Part of (it was) she would never do this to us. But also, part of it maybe (felt like) this is all part of a plan,” he said on 60 Minutes. “For a time (I believed she was alive) and then she would call us, and we would go and join her. … I had huge amounts of hope.”

Harry described his desire to find more “proof” about Diana’s death, a feeling Nikki related to during their conversation. “Back then, it was really important that I knew every single piece of the puzzle … I was like, ‘I need to know everything that happened,’” she explained in the video.

Nikki eventually came to accept that Lee “didn’t die for nothing,” and she’s imparted that same message on her kids. Near the end of their conversation, Harry praised Nikki for “making a difference” in the military community.

“(Your husband) would be super proud of you,” he told Nikki, who replied, “I hope so.”

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