Chris Jackson/Getty Images Prince Harry
Prince Harry is connecting with military children who have experienced the death of a parent who served in the British Armed Forces.
In honor of Remembrance Sunday, the Duke of Sussex penned a letter to Scotty's Little Soldiers, a U.K. charity for bereaved military children and young people. Having lost his mother Princess Diana at age 12, Prince Harry said, "We share a bond even without ever meeting one another, because we share in having lost a parent. I know first-hand the pain and grief that comes with loss and want you to know that you are not alone."
He continued, "While difficult feelings will come up today as we pay tribute to heroes like your mum or dad, I hope you can find comfort and strength in knowing that their love for you lives and shines on. Whenever you need a reminder of this, I encourage you to lean into your friends at Scotty's Little Soldiers. One of the ways I've learned to cope has been through community and talking about my grief, and I couldn't be more grateful and relieved that you have amazing people walking beside you throughout your journey. We all know some days are harder than others, but together those days are made easier."
— Scotty's L Soldiers (@CorporalScotty) November 13, 2022
"Today and every day, I admire and respect all the men and women who have given their lives in service of us — especially those in your family," Harry said. "I am also incredibly proud of you for being the best example in remembering them."
On Sunday, 55 members of the Scotty's Little Soldiers and their parents marched in the National Service of Remembrance parade in London, sporting yellow and black scarves.
"When you march together in today's parade, wearing your yellow and black scarves, I know it will be hard, but equally important to do," Prince Harry wrote. "Today you will bring new awareness to young people, just like you, who will benefit from this community of support. I salute you for serving others in need, in the most honourable memory of your parent."
He signed the letter, "With my deepest respect, Harry."
Every child in a yellow & black scarf in the Remembrance parade is a bereaved military child who has experienced the death of a parent who served.
Every day is Remembrance Day for a bereaved military child.https://t.co/a7NegcFvLy#WeWillRememberThem #RemembranceSunday @BBCOne pic.twitter.com/ctM7H6DOFT
— Scotty's L Soldiers (@CorporalScotty) November 13, 2022
Scotty's Little Soldiers said on their website, "Prince Harry knows November can be a proud but emotional time for bereaved British Forces children, and he understands what it is like to experience the death of a parent. He has been involved with the charity for several years, and today he wrote this special letter for our members at Remembrance."
Scotty member 14-year-old Samuel Hall, who was only 3 years old when his dad Lt Cdr Andrew Hall died by illness in 2012, said: "It's comforting to know Prince Harry understands how we feel and cares about us. It was great to receive the letter. Remembrance is a difficult time and being with Scotty's helps me and the other members know people are there for us."
Georgia Paterson, a 14-year-old girl whose father Cpl Norman Stevenson died when she was 7 years old, said: "It's amazing knowing someone as important as Prince Harry has reached out to us. To know he's thinking about us and our parents means a lot. I feel able to relate to him as he understands what we have been through."
The charity was set up by war widow Nikki Scott in 2010 following the death of her husband Corporal Lee Scott in Afghanistan the previous year.
"We are so grateful to Prince Harry for his continued support," Scott said in a statement. "Our members know that he truly understands what it's like to grow up without a parent and it means so much to them to know his thoughts are with them. To receive his letter on Remembrance Sunday has given them a huge boost on a proud but difficult day."
The Duke of Sussex met Nikki and some of the charity's members at 2017's Party at the Palace. When Prince Harry married Meghan Markle in 2018, Scotty's was selected as one of the charities to benefit from donations to mark the couple's wedding.
Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Princess Diana and Prince Harry
Prince Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, marked Veterans Day in the U.S. and Armistice Day in the U.K. on Friday by sharing a new post on their Archewell Foundation website. The couple shared a photo by Chris Allerton, their wedding photographer, where they face military personnel, including one holding an American flag.
"On this Veterans Day and Remembrance Day, we honor service members across the world," they wrote. "These brave men and women, as well as their families, have made tremendous sacrifices and embody duty and service. We are proud to work with so many organizations that support veterans and military families, including: The Invictus Games Foundation, The Mission Continues, Team Rubicon, Scotty's Little Soldiers and The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation. Today and every day, thank you for your service."
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Last year, Meghan and Prince Harry made a surprise visit to a New Jersey military base to mark Veterans Day after attending the 2021 Salute to Freedom gala at the Intrepid Museum in New York City. In a speech at the gala, Prince Harry discussed the isolation service members often feel when returning home and stressed the importance of supporting veterans.
"My experience in the military made me who I am today, and I will always be grateful for the people I got to serve with — wherever in the world we were," said Harry, who served a decade in the British army and undertook two tours in Afghanistan. "But in war, you also see and experience things you hope no one else has to. These stay with us, sometimes like a slideshow of images."
He went on to welcome the 2021 Intrepid Valor Award honorees, who he said "are part of an everlasting bond. You are part of the team of teams. And we will always have your backs. You are not alone."