The Duke of Sussex has opened up about the joys of fatherhood, four days after his wife Meghan gave birth to their little boy, who has been named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. During his engagement in The Hague for the Invictus Games in 2020, Prince Harry said Archie has "given him a new focus and goal" in his life and how becoming a father has made him feel the loss of his mother. Dennis van der Stroom, 31, a former soldier who hopes to compete for The Netherlands Invictus team, described his conversation with Harry as "amazing and emotional".
Prince Harry spoke about his son in The Hague on Thursday
Once away from the cameras, Dennis revealed Harry had opened up about his new son and spoke of how becoming a father poignantly reminded him of his late mother, Princess Diana. "At a certain moment, we just got connected on this level," explained Dennis. "We talked about how my wife, Mireille, is 20 weeks pregnant with our first child, a girl, and he told me how special it was that his son has just been born."
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"Harry talked about how having a small child was his new focus and new goal and I told him how a couple of months ago, I was struggling with my mental health but my wife's pregnancy has given me a goal," he added. "Above all he said he was just amazed by the miracles in the world, and how his child has made a lot of people happy. He also told me he's really happy that his son is so far very quiet. But he also told me not to make too many plans and that there's no way you can plan for when the baby arrives."
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The royal couple became parents on Monday
Dennis was a Corporal First Class [check Netherlands army terminology for accuracy] and served on operations in Uruzgan, Afghanistan, during 2008 and 2009. "I was involved in a couple of IED strikes and though nobody was wounded, the whole experience was like living with 24/7 anxiety and stress," he shared. Dennis left the army in 2011 and started to train as a nurse the following year. However, in 2014 his mother, Marion, died aged 58 from chronic lung disease, and in 2015 he was diagnosed with PTSD.
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"I told Harry about my mother and we talked about our shared experience of missing a mum," he continued. "He said missing a mother is like missing some kind of security, how you need that as a son and it falls away when you lose your mother. He said he meets a lot of people in his work who have lost a mother, father, sister, brother or relatives and when he hears their story, as he heard my story, he said he doesn’t feel so alone."
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