Prince Harry comforted widow Gwen Cherne as they climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge to kick off the Invictus Games celebrations Friday.
Cherne, 41, spoke to People about how Harry listened intently as she spoke to him about her late husband, Australia special forces officer Peter J. Cafe, who committed suicide in February 2017, aged 48.
Cherne, who is an adviser for widows, veterans, and families for the Australian Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as being an Invictus Games 2018 ambassador, said how Harry also seemed genuinely interested in her children; Emily, 6, Lachlan, 3, and stepson Tom, 19.
Cherne, who was picked as part of a select group to meet the royal, explained: “Lachlan is the spitting image of my husband. Harry said something like the children must remind you of him, or live on in him. And I said my son is so much like him. It was comfortable and thoughtful.”
She added of Harry being just 12 years old when his mother, Princess Diana, passed away: “He understood what I meant. When you understand loss, I think it’s obvious. He did ask me if I was getting the support I need from the Defense and ex-servicemen and veteran community.”
Cherne also said of Harry’s entourage trying to hurry them up, “He stopped and said, ‘I’m in a middle of a conversation, and I’m not going to leave this.’ We were talking about my story and mental health and how difficult it is still, in our society, to talk about grief and loss and suicide. And how important things like the Invictus Games are to shedding light on, and allowing people to start to have these conversations that are great to have.”
She continued, “The fact that he and Meghan are shining their light on the Invictus Games, highlighting for so many people the service and sacrifices the serving members and their families – and highlighting the families – gives people hope.”
Harry and his pregnant wife, Meghan Markle, landed in Australia for their 16-day royal tour earlier this week.