At the opening ceremony for the Invictus Games, Prince Harry once again proved that he has inherited his mother, the late Princess Diana’s sense of compassion and decency. During a ceremony in which he climbed the Sydney, Australia Harbour Bridge, he took time to comfort and share a tender moment with a woman who was grieving the loss of her veteran husband. Although he was pressured to move along, he refused, making sure that she had his full attention.
Gwen Cherne, 41, lost her husband, officer Peter J. Cafe of the Australian special forces, to suicide last year in February. She was one of a select group of people chosen to take part as Ambassadors in the ceremony to open the Invictus Games, raising the Invictus flag atop the bridge. She and the Duke of Sussex were accompanied by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and three veterans taking part in the games.
While making the steep climb, Cherne turned to the Prince and thanked him for including the families of veterans in the event. She then shared the story of her late husband. Harry gave her a tender hug and talked to her for about ten minutes. Harry’s staff apparently became impatient and asked him to move along, but that’s when he put his foot down.
ICYMI: Gwen Cherne, @DVAAus Widows, Veterans, and Families Advisor and TAPS Peer Mentor spoke with Prince Harry about mental health, grief, and loss while climbing #SydneyHarbourBridge with @InvictusSydney athletes. #GameOnDownUnder #tapsfam #IG2018 https://t.co/05pxMgMqMY
— TAPS (@TAPSorg) October 19, 2018
According to Cherne:
“He stopped and said, ‘I’m in a middle of a conversation, and I’m not going to leave this.'”
Prince Harry has been a champion for confronting mental health issues, having sought help himself after the death of his mother when he was twelve years old. Just days ago, he discussed how important it is for people to seek help for depression in rural Australia. He wasn’t about to hurry the conversation with the grieving widow.