Page last updated at 01:44 GMT, Friday, 13 March 2009

Prince reveals Mother's Day pain

Prince William: 'I still feel the emptiness on such a day as Mother's Day'

Prince William has spoken of the "emptiness" he has felt on Mother's Day since the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, 12 years ago.

He spoke powerfully about the impact of losing his mother at a reception for the Child Bereavement Charity, of which he has just become a patron.

Diana was associated with the organisation at the time of its launch.

The prince, 26, said the word "mummy" was, for him, "really just a word - hollow and evoking only memories".

The charity, based in Buckinghamshire, educates professionals and supports families when a young person dies or is bereaved.

It was launching its Mother's Day campaign, aimed at raising awareness of the problems of parents who have lost children and youngsters who no longer have a mother.

I too have felt - and still feel - the emptiness on such a day as Mother's Day
Prince William

William told the London event on Thursday evening: "My mother Diana was present at your launch 15 years ago.

"Today I am incredibly proud to be able to continue her support for your fantastic charity, by becoming your royal patron.

"What my mother recognised then - and what I understand now - is that losing a close family member is one of the hardest experiences that anyone can ever endure.

"Never being able to say the word 'mummy' again in your life sounds like a small thing.

"However, for many, including me, it's now really just a word - hollow and evoking only memories.

"I can therefore wholeheartedly relate to the Mother's Day campaign as I too have felt - and still feel - the emptiness on such a day."

Mothering Sunday falls on 22 March this year.

'Heartfelt'

BBC Royal Correspondent Peter Hunt said: "This was a heartfelt and moving speech by a young man who at the age of 15 walked behind his mother's coffin while the world watched and millions mourned."

The prince met families including the Mays, from Lane End, near High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

Lilli May, 47, showed William photographs of her son Benny, 12, who accidentally hanged himself in a looped kitchen towel in 2007.

The prince chatted to her other children Joe, 18, Eddie, 16, Anna, 12 and Jacob, eight, who the charity has helped to express their feelings.

"He's lost his mother. He was saying you can't ignore it, there comes a point when you have to address issues, and find time to do that," Mrs May told reporters afterwards.

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