Prince William was just 15 when he lost his mother, Princess Diana, in a tragic car crash that shocked the world. Now, 20 years later, he is using that experience to connect with others who have been through similar losses.
While visiting Keech Hospice in Luton, England yesterday, Prince William met 14-year-old Ben Hines. Like William, Hines also lost his mother at a young age. His mom, Alexandra, passed away from cancer in June of last year, leaving behind Ben and his brothers, Thomas and Richard. Keech Hospice proved to be a saving grace for the boys in their time of need, offering counseling and music therapy to help them work through their emotions.
While sitting down with Ben, Prince William connected with the boy on a personal level — opening up about his own experience and reassuring him that while it will always be hard to have lost a parent, it will get better.
“Time makes it easier,” Prince William told Ben. “I know how you feel. I still miss my mother every day — and it’s 20 years after she died.” According to PEOPLE, “William rested his hand on Ben’s shoulder to comfort him, telling the family, ‘Promise me that you will talk to each other.’ Men, he said, are not ‘great sharers.'”
The sentiment was similar to one expressed by his brother Prince Harry last month. While at a Kensington Palace barbecue for the royal family’s mental health charity, Heads Together, Harry said his one regret was not talking about the death of his mother sooner. “It is OK to suffer, but as long as you talk about it. It is not a weakness. Weakness is having a problem and not recognizing it and not solving that problem,” he said at the time.
Ben’s father, Gary Hines, told PEOPLE it made him emotional to hear his son talk about his late wife. “I was getting all choked up towards the end when Ben was talking about his mum … [Prince William] gave Ben his absolute attention. You could see that it struck a chord with him.”