By Stephanie Nolasco
Published May 10, 2019
Prince Harry is still feeling the loss of his beloved mother, especially now after the arrival of his firstborn.
The British royal traveled to the Netherlands on Thursday to launch the official countdown to the Invictus Games in The Hague next year, and he opened up to a friend, former soldier Dennis van der Stroon, during a bike ride.
Van der Stroon, 31, who hopes to compete for The Netherlands Invictus team, revealed his conversation with Harry was “amazing" and “emotional,” as the pair cycled together around the site for next year’s Invictus Games. People magazine reported on Friday that van der Stroon shared the 34-year-old opened up about his new son and how his mother, the late Princess Diana of Wales, has been on his mind.
The two veterans (Harry served in the Army for 10 years) lost their mothers. In 2014, van der Stroon’s mother died from chronicle lung disease. In 2015 he was diagnosed with PTSD.
“I told Harry about my mother and we talked about our shared experience of missing a mom,” said van der Stroon. “He said missing a mother is like missing some kind of security, how you need that as a son and it falls away when you lose your mother. He said he meets a lot of people in his work who have lost a mother, father, sister, brother or relatives and when he hears their story, as he heard my story, he said he doesn’t feel so alone.”
Van der Stroon also shared that his wife Mireille is 20 weeks pregnant with their first child, a girl.
“He told me how special it was that his son has just been born,” he claimed. “Harry talked about how having a small child was his new focus and new goal and I told him how a couple of months ago, I was struggling with my mental health but my wife’s pregnancy has given me a goal.”
“Above all he said he was just amazed by the miracles in the world, and how his child has made a lot of people happy,” he continued. “He also told me he’s really happy that his son is so far very quiet. But he also told me not to make too many plans and that there’s no way you can plan for when the baby arrives.”
Just three days after the birth of his first child with Markle, 37, Harry left the country to support veterans.
People magazine previously reported he arrived in the Netherlands early Thursday to herald the next round of his Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style event honoring veterans and serving armed forces members who have been injured or wounded.
The outlet reported Harry spent the day learning about the preparations already underway, meeting some of the potential competitors and their families, as well as discussing next year’s launch, which will run from May 9 through May 16, 2020.
According to the outlet, the Invictus Games utilizes the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women. The Netherlands was chosen to host the 2020 games and will commemorate 75 years since the end of World War II and the city being rebuilt in 1945.
He continues to honor his servicemen and promotes support for wounded men and women as they adapt to life post-injury.
In 2013, The Guardian reported Harry, who was a commander of the army’s most sophisticated attack helicopter, fired at the Taliban during operations to support ground troops, as well as rescued injured Afghan and NATO personnel.