William reveals challenge of dealing with grief in air ambulance charity booklet

The Prince of Wales has written about the difficulties of dealing with the sudden loss of a loved one despite the passing of time in a new booklet designed to help grieving families.

William, whose mother Diana, Princess of Wales, died tragically in a car crash nearly 30 years ago when he was just a teenager, penned the foreword for a moving bereavement resource compiled by London’s Air Ambulance Charity.

The heir to throne, who is patron of the organisation, said he hoped the booklet would provide some “comfort and support”.

The Prince of Wales has written the foreword for the new bereavement booklet by the London’s Air Ambulance Charity (LAAC/PA)
The Prince of Wales has written the foreword for the new bereavement booklet by the London’s Air Ambulance Charity (LAAC/PA)

He told the bereaved who might be reading it and “whose world is now very different” that his thoughts were with them.

“No two experiences of bereavement are ever the same. The sudden and often unexpected loss of a loved one can be profoundly difficult to process, even with the passing of time,” the prince wrote.

The free 85-page booklet features 12 heart-rending tributes to lost loved ones from their families who recounted their experiences, and William thanked them for sharing their “most precious of memories”.

Among those featured are Saffie-Rose Roussos, the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena bombing, and 17-year-old Shaquan Sammy-Plummer, who was killed after being knifed in the chest while being chased down the street in London in 2015.

The Duke of Cambridge attends Air Ambulance gala
William with consultants and paramedics at London’s Air Ambulance Charity gala (Chris Jackson/PA)

William added: “Some solace can be found through the sharing of experience.

“The families who have contributed to this booklet have shared the most precious of memories, thoughts, and feelings.

“I would like to thank them for opening up and allowing us into their very personal journey.

“I hope that this booklet will provide some comfort and support, and that you might find it useful.

“For those reading this who are bereaved, and whose world is now very different, my thoughts are with you.”

The charity said on its website: “We are so thankful to HRH The Prince of Wales for this personal and insightful contribution.”

William worked as a helicopter pilot with both East Anglian Air Ambulance and RAF Search and Rescue.

The booklet will be offered free to anyone who might benefit from it, at a time that is right for them either as an individual, a family, a friend or a professional, the charity said.

London’s Air Ambulance is the only helicopter emergency medical service caring for the 10 million people who live, work and travel in London every day.

William's foreword
William’s message in the London’s Air Ambulance Charity booklet (LAAC/PA)

Founded in 1989, it has treated more than 45,000 critically injured people and attended most major incidents in London including the July 7 bombings, the Grenfell Tower fire and London Bridge terror incident.

It costs around £10 million a year to deliver the service, 96% of which comes from public donations.

The charity also employs two dedicated patient liaison nurses to provide support to bereaved families beyond frontline care

Dr Anna Dobbie, lead clinician for the LAA, said: “This booklet allows us to extend the care we offer these patients beyond the ‘roadside’ to try and support their families who have to navigate through the unimaginable pain of losing a loved one suddenly and unexpectedly.”