Prince Harry struggled to contain his emotions and reportedly shed a tear as he embraced the mother of a soldier who helped protect him in Afghanistan, but tragically later took his own life after battling Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Hero Warrant Officer Nathan Hunt, 39, has been credited with saving hundreds of comrades’ lives during his past two tours fighting the Taliban in Helmand province, and is said to have grown close to the prince after they fought alongside each other.
Now, his grieving mother Maria has recalled the emotional moment she met Harry, 33, recently at the 100 Days To Peace concert, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail. She revealed she was initially worried about how to act with the prince, but was immediately put at ease when he rushed straight over and gave her a “bear hug”.
“Harry gave me a bear hug as soon as he saw me, just like Nathan used to do,” Maria told the publication. “I’d spent a week practising a little bow for when I met Harry, but he didn’t give me the chance. He just pulled me into his arms.
“When I looked up, Harry had a tear on his cheek. It was very emotional because he knew my son well. They went through a lot together. He is so warm and caring and so was Meghan.”
Maria said Harry spoke to her about Nathan’s “sense of humour” and praised his professionalism while on tour, but admitted she and her husband Derek are still “grieving for our Nathan” after his death in January.
Harry has made no secret of his passion for helping service men and women suffering from physical and emotional wounds after returning from war. He has even hinted in the past that he’s had to deal with his own demons after returning from two tours of Afghanistan.
He previously visited wounded soldiers at a recovery centre in London, and speaking with Mike ‘Doris’ Day and Eddie Beddoes, who served in Afghanistan and Bosnia respectively, Harry raised an issue that many returned soldiers struggle with.
“Let’s be honest, if it wasn’t for this? Did you both turn to the bottle?” Harry asked them last year.
“I did when I got out, for quite a few years,” replied Eddie, “But then you settle down and have a family. But then there are the ups and downs associated with that.”
“Was one of the biggest struggles accepting that there was a problem in the first place?” asked Harry. “Not only accepting but realising that there was something wrong in the first place?”
“To be honest the most difficult thing was accepting that I would never get back the person I was before,” said Mike. “I was at the height of my career and knowing that I could never do that job again was a big shock, it still is.
“This place, just doing the woodwork and carving is so therapeutic. There is no one telling us what to do, it’s just as working as a team. I come up here once a month for four days and this place always being out the best in me.”