During Prince Harry's visit to a Bristol boxing club, he had the room cleared so he could privately speak with a grieving young man
Prince Harry knows what it’s like to lose a parent – and the royal took time to talk to a boy who was grieving the death of his father.
During a visit to Bristol’s Empire Fighting Chance charity on Friday, Harry asked everyone to leave the room so he could privately comfort the 12-year-old boy, who got emotional while speaking about his father’s death seven years ago.
Harry, who lost his mother Princess Diana when he was 12, spent 10 minutes talking to Iestyn Jones about coming to terms with his grief, telling him, “The same thing happened to me.”
“It just got a bit emotional because he mentioned something. He knew some stuff about me and the same thing happened to me. We had a chat for about 10 minutes,” Iestyn, from Kingswood near Bristol, told reporters. “When we had a group picture at the end he made sure I was standing next to him. They were lovely people. I didn’t expect them to be like that. They were amazing people.”
Harry has spoken about how boxing gave him an outlet for aggression while he was struggling to cope with his grief. Like the 34-year-old royal, Iestyn has found help through the sport.
Based at a boxing club that trains amateurs and has produced professionals, Empire Fighting Chance uses boxing to help troubled young people drifting into a life of unemployment or crime.
The charity was started in 2006 by Martin Bisp and Jamie Sanigar after they spotted two youths dealing drugs outside their boxing club and invited then into box to get them out of trouble.
“Within six weeks we had 50 kids coming in twice a week,” Bisp said.
They now run programs for 350 young men and women each week, combining non-contact boxing with therapy, numeracy classes, and other courses designed to instill discipline, self control, and respect while building self confidence and improving physical and mental health.
The charity has spread to South Wales and is currently in talks with the Saudi authorities about taking boxing out to the Gulf as a way of empowering women.
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Before they left, he and Meghan were each presented with a pair of boxing gloves inscribed with their royal titles.
A delighted Harry smiled at his pregnant wife and told her, “We can spar, we can train. That’s amazing.”