HE WAS only 12 years old when his mother was killed in a car crash that shocked the world.

Now Prince Harry has written the foreword to a new book which aims to help the children of key workers who have died during the pandemic.

Hospital by the Hill has been written by Ringwood-based actor and author Chris Connaughton, 58.

Prince Harry refers to the tragic events of August 31 1997, when his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, was fatally injured in Paris.

He says: "If you are reading this book, it’s because you’ve lost your parent or a loved one, and while I wish I was able to hug you right now, I hope this story is able to provide you comfort in knowing you’re not alone.

“When I was a young boy I lost my mum.

"At the time I didn’t want to believe it or accept it, and it left a huge hole inside of me. I know how you feel and want to assure you that over time that hole will be filled with so much love and support.

"I know this person was special to you and they were someone incredibly kind, caring and loving because of where they chose to work.

"Helping others is one of the most important jobs anyone can ever do.

"You may feel alone, you may feel sad, you may feel angry, you may feel bad. This feeling will pass. And I will make a promise to you – you will feel better and stronger once you are ready to talk about how it makes you feel.

"I hope this book helps remind you of just how special your parent or loved one was. And how special you are too."

Chris was asked to write the book by the Simon Says children’s charity.

It was launched this week to mark a national day of reflection that was staged to mark the anniversary of the first lockdown.

Chris said: "When we discovered Prince Harry had been informed about the book, and wanted to be involved in some way, it was a huge honour.

"I am extremely grateful for his support and for giving his time so generously.”

Illustrated by Fay Troote, Hospital by the Hill is the story of a young person struggling to cope with the death of their mother, a hospital nurse.

The book is free to any child who has suffered a similar loss. To order a copy visit hospitalbythehill.com.