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Prince Harry says pain of Princess Diana's death left 'a huge hole inside him' in foreword of book for children of health workers who have died during the pandemic

    Prince Harry has written a foreword of a book for children of late health workers
    Duke of Sussex wrote pain of his mother's death 'left a huge hole inside him'
    Added he didn't want to 'accept it' but was later filled with 'love and support'
    Comes as Duke and his brother Prince William are planning to unveil statue of their mother in London in July

By Bridie Pearson-jones For Mailonline

Published: 10:03, 20 March 2021 | Updated: 10:23, 20 March 2021

The Duke of Sussex has reflected on the pain of his mother's death in a foreword to a book for children of health workers who have died in the pandemic.  Prince Harry, 36, who is currently living in California with wife Meghan Markle, 39, wrote Princess  Diana's death in 1997 when he was aged 12 had left 'a huge hole inside of me' but that it was eventually filled with 'love and support', according to The Times.  The book, Hospital by the Hill, tells the story of a young person whose mother died working on the front line at a hospital during the Covid-19 crisis.  'If you are reading this book, it's because you've lost your parent or a loved one, and while 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,' the Duke writes.

'When I was a young boy I lost my mum. At the time I didn't want to believe it or accept it, and it left a huge hole inside of me.  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.'

Harry wrote he had found that while a lost loved one might be gone forever, they were 'always with you and you can hold on to them for ever'.

'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,' he wrote.

Written by Chris Connaughton and illustrated by Fay Troote, the book is being given to similarly bereaved children as part of the National Day of Reflection next week, a Government initiative to mark the anniversary of the start of lockdown.  Prince Harry has previously spoken of how he sought help for his grief after ignoring it and 'sticking his head in the sand'.  Speaking to Bryon Gordon's Mad World podcast in 2017, he said: 'I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12 and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but also my work as well.  I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions,' he added before praising his brother Prince William for 'huge support' and helping him to get professional help.

The book is also promoting three child bereavement charities, Simon Says, Winston's Wish and Child Bereavement UK, of which Prince William is the patron.  Harry was asked to do the book by Sally Stanley, founder of Simon Says after being introduced by a friend at the Invictus Games Foundation, according to People.  In a statement Sally said: 'The idea of a book for children and young people bereaved as a result of Coronavirus began in the Spring of 2020 when the number of frontline workers dying became very significant.'

'Being bereaved of a loved one is very difficult at any time in the life of a child or young person.  The restrictions that surrounded the close contact of family members during the pandemic make it much harder for them to say goodbye in the way that we are used to. I hope that this book will help children and young people to remember their special person whose work was to help others.'

Britain today saw Covid cases fall again, dropping by a quarter from last week to 4,802 positive tests in a day while deaths also dropped by 42 per cent to 101.   Two other weekly studies, by the Office for National Statistics and the Covid Symptom Study, showed cases are still coming down significantly, and the country had its best ever performance in the vaccination drive on Thursday when it administered a massive 660,276 jabs including 528,260 people getting their first.  But SAGE has warned that a resurgence of Covid in Europe could soon lead to a rise in infections in Britain, saying the country is at a 'more fragile point' than it was a few weeks ago.  Tuesday will mark one year since the UK first went into lockdown, with more than 146,000 deaths and 4.2million cases of the virus in the UK since the start of the pandemic.  It comes as Harry and his brother Prince William are planning to unveil a statue of their mother in London this summer.

The Duke of Cambridge last week became the first royal to address the string of allegations made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this month.  However royal editor Russell Myers said that the pair are still prepared to display a united front later his year in honour of the Princess of Wales.  Appearing on Lorraine last week,  Myers predicted a 'monumental period' for the two brothers, whose rift was laid bare once again following claims made by Harry and Meghan in their explosive interview.  He said: 'William is still committed, as is Harry, to get together on July 1st for the unveiling of the Princess Diana statue at Kensington Gardens.  So this could be a monumental period for these two brothers. We've spoken about this rift for so long, but this would see them coming together for the greater good and I'm sure everyone will be delighted if that happens .'

The brothers will reunite once more when they reveal the commissioned statue of their mother Princess Diana on July 1 at Kensington Palace, on what would have been her 60th birthday.