Royals

Duchess Of Cambridge Tells Bereaved Forces Families To Be 'Proud' Of Their Bravery

Prince William and Kate have spoken, via video call, to serving personnel and families of those who lost their lives.

The Duchess of Cambridge has spoken with bereaved military families, telling them they should feel "proud" of their achievements and "the sacrifice and the bravery that they've shown".

Kate spoke to women who have mourned the loss of partners or immediate family, hearing about the support they have been given by the Royal British Legion.

During a video call on Monday, the Duchess said: "I'm sure you spend your time every day remembering your loved ones but it's so important that the nation comes together and really spends time thinking about those who have lost their lives and the families that have been impacted.

"It's been a real honour to speak to all of you and I think I speak for the whole nation when I say just how proud you should be of your loved ones, and for the sacrifice and the bravery that they've shown.

"I'll certainly be thinking of you this difficult week and will be for many years to come."

Chantelle Wynn, from Tamworth, became a widow in 2015 when her husband took his own life.

He had struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a posting in Afghanistan, where he worked for six months as a medic in the Territorial Army.

The couple had been together since they were 16 and were married for 17 years. They have two daughters, Rosie and Daisy.

Both the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took part in the calls during Remembrance (Picture: Kensington Palace).

Ms Wynn told the Duchess: "Obviously, this time of year is always really bad and with his anniversary the day before Remembrance Day, this week is really significant.

"But we plod on and we've got family who support us so we get through."

She explained she did not really know about the work of the Royal British Legion (RBL) until she needed it, outlining how it provided her with vital financial and emotional support.

With a poppy pinned to the black collar of her white blouse, the Duchess asked what Remembrance Day meant for her and her family.

"We've always gone out and gone to the parades, which we still do now with the children just to show them that you have got to remember those who fought and those who have got invisible injuries and burdens – it's not just those servicemen who died while they have been over there," Ms Wynn said.

Kate agreed: "It's the physical and mental impact."

Prince William, meanwhile, spoke to deployed representatives from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, and told British personnel serving around the globe the nation was "grateful" for their sacrifices.

Personnel told the duke about the importance of Remembrance in their lives, reflecting on lives lost, and thinking about the physical and mental sacrifices that personnel make for their country.

Top row: (L-R) Flight Sergeant Gemma Thomson, Leading Physical Instructor Damon Bell; bottom row: (L-R) Corporal Jiwan Kumar Thapa during the call with the Duke of Cambridge (Picture: Kensington Palace).

His Royal Highness also heard about their stories of overseas service, the operational duties being carried out, and work being done to support the health and wellbeing of those on deployment.

About 11,000 members of the UK military are currently deployed on operations across the globe, from North America to the Gulf, protecting international communities and promoting the UK’s interests overseas.

During the call, Prince William said: “I hope that you know that we are still thinking about all of you and the important job you’re all doing and that everyone is very grateful.

“I hope that over Remembrance Sunday we can remind people just how committed and determined, and how brilliant all the people we have in the Forces are around the world.” 

The RBL offers lifelong support to anyone who has served in the UK military and their families. It also provides help to bereaved families, including assistance with funeral costs, ongoing emotional support, and connecting people to specialist services such as counselling or mental health support.

Cover image: Top row: (L-R) Chantelle Wynn, Serena Alexander; bottom row: (L-R) the Duchess of Cambridge, Charlton Taylor and Sonia Fleming (Picture: Kensington Palace)