Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sent their love to the heartbroken parents of Holly Smallman, who passed away at the age of 18 last month. Harry met the terminally-ill teen back in 2015 when her younger sister Ruby won the “Most Caring Young Person” honor at the WellChild Awards, which he has been a Patron of since 2007. The grieving family received a surprising pick-me-up from the royal, who took the time to send them a very personal note.
Holly‘s parents, Hayley and Gary Smallman, told the DailyMail that it’s been more difficult to come to terms with everything due to the coronavirus lockdown. For one thing, they were asked to invite only ten people to the funeral. Their other children, Ruby, 12 and Josh, 21, have been struggling to come to terms with the death and, because of social-distancing, have not been able to surround themselves with loved ones for comfort. Then, one day, mom Hayley found a bit of brightness while checking her inbox.
“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. His email began by saying: “I feel so fortunate to have met Holly in 2015 when her sister Ruby received a WellChild Award.”
“Holly was evidently a very special and happy girl, despite her significant challenges,” he wrote, “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!”
The famous father-of-one went on to praise the mom, saying: “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,” he continued. “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.”
“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.” He then concluded by saying: “Meghan and I send our deepest and most heartfelt condolences.” His personal sign-off was: “Harry.” Despite stepping down from senior royal duties, Harry will continue work with patronages like WellChild.