Harry pays surprise visit to charity event for bereaved military children

The Duke of Sussex chatted and played games with bereaved military children as he made a surprise visit to a charity event.

Harry spent the afternoon with 50 children and young people, aged between six and 22, who have experienced the death of a military parent.

He took part in games – including one which saw the duke use a straw to transport Smarties as quickly as possible – and spoke to the youngsters as part of the fun-filled event hosted in London by Scotty’s Little Soldiers.

The Duke of Sussex during a visit to an event in London hosted by Scotty’s Little Soldiers
The Duke of Sussex during a visit to an event hosted by Scotty’s Little Soldiers (Paul Tibbs/Scotty’s Little Soldiers/PA)

Harry also spent time talking to nine members from Scotty’s Council, a group of young people who represent the charity’s other members, who discussed their experiences of growing up without a parent.

The duke, 39, completed two tours of Afghanistan between 2007 and 2013 as a forward air controller and an Apache helicopter pilot, having flown countless training missions in the UK, US and Australia.

He said: “It was an honour to meet so many of the wonderful families Scotty’s Little Soldiers supports.

“I have long believed in the mission of this charity, and I truly believe the work they do to foster community and create space for young people to connect, grieve, but also have fun together is life-changing.

“I am a huge supporter of their work, and very proud to be their first global ambassador.”

The charity – for which the duke became a global ambassador in November – was one of seven which had been nominated by Harry and Meghan to benefit from donations marking the couple’s wedding ceremony in 2018.

Harry has been involved with the charity since 2017 and recorded a special video message in 2022 dressed as Spider-Man for its children’s Christmas party.

Georgia Paterson, 16, said it was “amazing” to speak to the duke about the experience of losing a parent growing up.

The Duke of Sussex during a visit to an event in London hosted by Scotty’s Little Soldiers
The Duke of Sussex has been involved with Scotty’s Little Soldiers since 2017 (Paul Tibbs/Scotty’s Little Soldiers/PA)

She said: “Prince Harry was the best person to share that experience with because he’s been through it and understands better than anyone.

“It was really moving to see how vulnerable he was with us, which encouraged us to open up as well.”

Georgia added: “It felt really connecting because when your parent served, they served for the country, and one of the most important things for the country is the royal family.

“Speaking with someone who is part of that made me feel more connected to my Dad. It was amazing to be connected to him in that moment.”

Nikki Scott, who founded the charity in 2010 following the death of her husband during a tour in Afghanistan, said: “It was amazing to see all the smiles in the room when Prince Harry walked through the door.

“The Duke of Sussex has supported Scotty’s for a long time, which means a lot to our members because they know he understands what it’s like to experience the death of a parent and the challenges they face.

The Duke of Sussex during a visit to an event in London hosted by Scotty’s Little Soldiers
The Duke of Sussex is a global ambassador for Scotty’s Little Soldiers (Paul Tibbs/Scotty’s Little Soldiers/PA)

“It’s important to our members to maintain their connection to the military community, which Prince Harry is also passionate about.

“Events like these are so valuable to our members because it enables them to develop friendships with others in a similar situation, as well as have lots of fun.”

Scotty’s Little Soldiers currently supports more than 670 bereaved military children and young people up to the age of 25, offering one-to-one bereavement support, guidance to parents and carers, fun activities such as holidays and group events, and learning assistance.