Prince Harry is sharing new insight into how his mother's death affected him when he was just 12 years old.
The Duke of Sussex wrote a heartbreaking and personal letter as a foreword for the charitable book Hospital by the Hill, which is intended to comfort children who lost someone close to them due to COVID-19.
Harry wrote that Princess Diana's death in 1997 "left a huge hole inside of me," according to the foreword obtained by E! News.
"At the time I didn't want to believe it or accept it," he wrote. "I know how you feel, and I want to assure you that over time that hole will be filled with so much love and support."
The 36 year old, now a father of his own, explained, "We all cope with loss in a different way, but when a parent goes to heaven, I was told their spirit, their love and the memories of them do not. They are always with you and you can hold onto them forever. I find this to be true."
He then passed along his touching advice for how to handle loss, writing, "You may feel alone, you may feel sad, you may feel angry, you may feel bad. This feeling will pass. And I will make a promise to you—you will feel better and stronger once you are ready to talk about how it makes you feel."
The illustrated book will be released on March 23 for National Day of Reflection in the U.K. The founder of Simon Says Child Bereavement Support charity orchestrated the publication of the book, which will reportedly be handed out to children in Britain that have lost a loved one to the coronavirus pandemic. The story by Chris Connaughton is about a young kid whose mom died after serving as a frontline hospital worker.
Chris reflected on the project in a statement obtained by E! News, reading, "I wanted it to provide a connection, support and hope through the hard and horrible times of bereavement. It's also a tremendous honour—and a service to young people—to have The Duke of Sussex support this project and share his open, heartfelt and honest words with kids across the country."
In his note, Harry also empathized with kids who may be suffering and called each of them "special" like their family members were.
"I wish I was able to hug you right now, I hope this story is able to provide you comfort in knowing that you're not alone," he continued. "Now, I never met them, but I know this person was special to you, and they were someone incredibly kind, caring and loving because of where they chose to work. Helping others is one of the most important jobs anyone can ever do."
The book promotes the charities Simon Says, Child Bereavement UK and Winston's Wish.
In the nearly 25 years since Diana's death, Harry has followed in her footsteps in many ways, including by embracing charity work.
He spoke to Oprah Winfrey this month about how he has felt Diana's "presence throughout this whole process" of leaving England for America. He said, "I think she saw it coming," adding, "I think she would feel very angry with how this has panned out, and very sad... But ultimately, all she'd ever want is for us to be happy."