Prince William brought back memories of his mother’s death on Wednesday as he comforted a 14-year-old boy who lost his own mother last summer.
“Time makes it easier,” he told grieving Ben Hines during a visit to the Keech Hospice in Luton, England some 35 miles north of London. “I know how you feel. I still miss my mother every day – and it’s 20 years after she died.”
Ben and his brothers Thomas and Richard lost their mom Alexandra to cancer in June of last year. Thomas and Richard spoke of how the hospice had helped since her death, including giving counseling and music therapy, while Ben described how “lovely” their mother was.
On Mother’s Day, he said, she would insist they have a Chinese meal for a treat, even though she could not eat it herself. “I miss her so much,” he said.
The boys’ father Gary Hines, 48, a gardener from Luton, said, “I was getting all choked up towards the end when Ben was talking about his mum.”
At one point, William rested his hand on Ben’s shoulder to comfort him, telling the family, “Promise me that you will talk to each other.” Men, he said, are not “great sharers.”
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Gary told reporters, “He gave Ben his absolute attention. You could see that it struck a chord with him.”
The visit to the Keech Hospice also saw Princess Kate bond with a 6-year-old boy who lost his older brother two years ago.
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Ethan Coniam, whose brother Kieran died at the hospice at age 10 in October 2014, shared a special moment with the royal mom.
Mom Fiona, a palliative care nurse, told reporters, “Ethan said, ‘Excuse me Kate, can I have hug?’ She said, ‘Yes of course – I love cuddles.’ Then she asked Jamie if he would like a hug as well.”
Ethan’s 10-year-old brother Jamie said, “My little brother asked for a hug, and I got one out of the blue.”
The royal couple was also given “memory jars” – bottles of colored sand, which are used as a tool by the hospice pre-and post-bereavement to help patients and their families.