Prince Harry shed a tear when he embraced the mother of a soldier who helped protect him in Afghanistan, but then took his own life after developing post-traumatic stress disorder.
Royal, 33, who completed two guard shifts against the Taliban in Helmand province, hugged Petty Officer Nathan Hunt's mother when they met last week at a charity concert in London.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were visibly moved when they heard Maria and Derek Hunt describe how they had struggled to reach an agreement with Nathan's death in January.
"Harry gave me a bear hug as soon as he saw me, just like Nathan used to do," said Maria, from Lincoln. "I spent a week practicing a little bow when I met Harry, but he did not give me the opportunity." He simply pulled me into his arms.
Petty Officer Nathan Hunt (in front of a circle) with Prince Harry (in a circle) with members of his battle group in deployment in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan in 2008
"When I looked up, Harry had a tear on his cheek, it was very emotional because he knew my son well, they went through a lot together, he is so warm and affectionate, and also Meghan.
"Derek and I, of course, were still afflicted by Nathan, but I really felt that Harry and Meghan appreciated what we were going through and that meant a lot to us." Harry remembered Nathan's sense of humor and praised his professionalism.Nathan found many Taliban bombs. , any of which could have killed Harry.
The death of WO Hunt, who served in a desert reconnaissance unit with Prince Harry in 2008 and was mentioned in dispatches for his work to find roadside bombs, inspired a Mail on Sunday campaign for a mental health service 24 hours a day The government bowed to the pressure of this newspaper and Lord Dannatt, former head of the British army, and established the helpline, which has since received hundreds of calls.
Prince Harry has a deep interest in mental health, including the work that Heads Together, a coalition of charities, does for current and former military personnel.
In June, The Mail on Sunday revealed how he had confided his fears about a recent increase in alleged suicides in a private letter to a decorated former war hero. The letter to color sergeant Trevor Coult, 43, a former NCO of the Royal Irish Rangers and a senior veteran affairs activist, requested that he gather details about the recent deaths on behalf of Prince Harry and relay any information.
The Hunts met with the Duke and Duchess during the 100 Days To Peace concert at Westminster Central Hall on Thursday. The event raised funds for charities Help for Heroes, Combat Stress and The Royal Foundation, which work to help soldiers and veterans with mental health problems.
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan attend a concert in central London last Thursday night. He met the mother of Petty Officer Nathan Hunt at the charity event in Westminster