Yesterday evening, Prince William recalled the hardship of losing his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, as he attended the 21st birthday dinner for charity Child Bereavement UK.
In front of 270 guests at Banqueting House, The Duke of Cambridge spoke of his mother and her work with the charity, but also of the pain of grief:
“Twenty-one years ago last month, my mother attended the launch of the Child Bereavement Charity.
“Fifteen years later, I was honoured 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 recognised 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.”
The charity was set up in 1994, by Jenni Thomas OBE and Founder Patron Julia Samuel. Samuel was a close friend of The Princess of Wales, and is now a godmother to Prince George.
CBUK helps support families who have suffered the loss of a child, or if a child loses a parent. Each year the charity trains almost 7,000 professionals, helping them to better understand and meet the needs of grieving families.
A parent of children under 18 dies every 22 minutes in the UK, showing the need for such an organisation.
“CBUK’s humanity is simply unparalleled, and it is deeply moving,” the Duke continued.
“As a father to two young children myself, I now appreciate it all the more.”
William met a number of the charity’s celebrity patrons and supporters, including Gary Barlow, whose wife gave birth to a stillborn daughter, Poppy, in 2012. Their family received support from CBUK and now shows its support for their work.
Earlier in the day, Prince William opened the School of Pythagoras Archive Centre at St John’s College, Cambridge University.