Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have reached out to the heartbroken parents of Holly Smallman, 18, from Liverpool, after the terminally-ill teenager passed away last month.
Holly, who had been seriously ill since birth, met Prince Harry back in 2015 when her younger sister Ruby won the Most Caring Young Person Award at the WellChild Awards. The Prince has been a patron for WellChild since 2007.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Holly's parents, Hayley and Gary Smallman, revealed that because of the coronavirus lockdown, it's been more difficult to come to terms with Holly's sad passing. Not only were they asked to invite just ten people to the funeral but her children, Ruby, 12 and Josh, 21, have been struggling to come to terms with the death and have not been able to surround themselves with friends and other family members to help them cope.
Prince Harry with Ruby and mum Hayley
But all soon changed for the family, as whilst checking her emails, mum Hayley stumbled upon one from Prince Harry.
"For Prince Harry to find the time to send this email, to know that Holly made that impact on him and that he cares so much, even in all this private turmoil he's going through, just meant the world to us," she said before revealing the contents of the email.
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"I feel so fortunate to have met Holly in 2015 when her sister Ruby received a WellChild Award," Prince Harry's email began, making reference to their encounter.
"Holly was evidently a very special and happy girl, despite her significant challenges, and she clearly had an extra special relationship with her siblings. It was a great privilege to spend time with you all, particularly Holly, and I can still remember the amazingly creative handmade penguin that Ruby gave me – complete with red hair!" he continued.
Prince Harry remembered the penguin that Ruby gave him back in 2015
Praising Hayley for her continuous work with his patronage, Harry added: "Hayley, I know since then you have been an avid WellChild supporter and ambassador; it’s been a pleasure to see you again on a few occasions. I’ve heard just how much you’ve done for other parents caring for children with complex needs, helping to push forward programmes and campaigns that provide support to these families.
"Given everything you have both dealt with personally, this is truly selfless and inspirational. I am so grateful to you, as I know many other people and families will be too. Huge respect for juggling so many plates and always being able to put a smile on people's faces."
The email continued: "I imagine words cannot really hope to provide much comfort to you and your family at this most difficult of times, but I wanted you to know that you, and your daughter Ruby and son Josh, are all in my thoughts and prayers."
The father-of-one concluded by saying, "Meghan and I send our deepest and most heartfelt condolences," before signing off with "Harry."
Despite stepping down from royal duties last month, Prince Harry has kept his patronages, which includes WellChild.