Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tried to offer some virtual comfort to a family in Liverpool that had recently lost their daughter, who was terminally ill. In an email expressing their condolences, Harry and Meghan mourned Holly Smallman, who Harry first met at the WellChild Awards in 2015, People reports.
“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, and she clearly had an extra special relationship with her siblings,” Harry wrote in the message.
Holly’s parents, Hayley and Gary Smallman, were only able to invite up to 10 people to Holly’s memorial service because of concerns regarding the coronavirus. The service was held on March 27 in Aintree, Liverpool.
Holly, who was 18 when she died, had suffered from a number of complex conditions since her birth, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and chronic lung disease. She died peacefully in her sleep as the result of a cardiac arrest.
People reports that her parents, along with her siblings Josh, 21, and Ruby, 12, struggled to deal with Holly’s loss. It wasn’t until Hayley decided to catch up on her emails that she discovered that there was one from the Duke of Sussex.
View this post on Instagram
Yesterday, The Duke and Duchess surprised their neighbours in Windsor at a coffee morning for military families in a community centre located in the heart of the Army housing estate. Every year during the month of November we pause to remember and honour all those who have served their country here in the UK, across the Commonwealth and around the world. Their Royal Highnesses also wanted to show support for the families of service personnel who are currently deployed overseas. As we lead up to Remembrance Sunday, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will join Her Majesty The Queen and other Members of the Royal Family at various commemoration events, including the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall and the Cenotaph. During the visit yesterday, Their Royal Highnesses met with young families who shared their experiences as parents and as couples who are often apart from their loved ones for months at a time. A reminder that a life of service does not simply describe the person wearing the uniform, but the entire family. #Remembrance #Lestweforget
Harry spent time with Holly and Ruby during the WellChild Awards in 2015 when Ruby was the winner of the award for Most Caring Young Person. At the event, Harry met with Holly, and also spoke with Hayley and Gary.
WellChild is one of the charities closest to Prince Harry’s heart, and he has been an avid supporter of it for years. At the event, Ruby gifted the prince a handmade ceramic penguin — a gift that he still remembers. Harry also commended Hayley for her continued work with the charity.
He said that it had been great to run into her at other WellChild events and that he had heard how much she’d done for other parents who are trying to take care of their own children.
“Given everything you have both dealt with personally, this is truly selfless and inspirational. 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,” Harry wrote.
Harry concluded the letter by saying that he knew words likely wouldn’t be able to provide much comfort as they mourned the loss of their daughter. He added that both he and Meghan were sending their “most heartfelt condolences.”