The prince spoke about how becoming a father poignantly reminded him of his late mother
The new royal dad traveled to The Netherlands on Thursday — while wife Meghan Markle and their newborn son stayed home in Windsor — to launch the official countdown to the Invictus Games in The Hague next year. During a bike ride around the park, Harry, 34, opened up to Dennis van der Stroon, 31, a former soldier who hopes to compete for The Netherlands Invictus team.
Dennis revealed his conversation with Harry was “amazing and emotional,” as the pair cycled together around site for next year’s Invictus Games. He said Harry opened up about his new son and spoke about how becoming a father poignantly reminded him of his late mother.
“At a certain moment, we just got connected on this level,” Dennis said. “We talked about how my wife, Mireille, is 20 weeks pregnant with our first child, a girl, and he told me how special it was that his son has just been born.
“Harry talked about how having a small child was his new focus and new goal and I told him how a couple of months ago, I was struggling with my mental health but my wife’s pregnancy has given me a goal.”
“Above all he said he was just amazed by the miracles in the world, and how his child has made a lot of people happy. He also told me he’s really happy that his son is so far very quiet. But he also told me not to make too many plans and that there’s no way you can plan for when the baby arrives.”
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In addition to both being veterans (Harry served in the Army for 10 years), the two both experienced the loss of their mothers. In 2014, Dennis’ mother, Marion, died from chronic lung disease, and in 2015 he was diagnosed with PTSD, triggering what he described as a “domino effect” of mental health issues.
“I told Harry about my mother and we talked about our shared experience of missing a mom,” Dennis shared. “He said missing a mother is like missing some kind of security, how you need that as a son and it falls away when you lose your mother. He said he meets a lot of people in his work who have lost a mother, father, sister, brother or relatives and when he hears their story, as he heard my story, he said he doesn’t feel so alone.”