The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were saddened to learn that Diamond Marshall – an inspirational young Canadian girl long battling cancer – has passed away. Diamond melted hearts around the world when she was photographed timidly hugging the duchess in Calgary in 2011 while the royal couple were on their first official tour of Canada.
Exchanging a few words with the charmed princess, the sick little girl beamed proudly in her pretty pink dress as she handed the future queen a colourful bouquet of flowers and wrapped her arms around her.
“She told me she liked the flowers,” the then-six-year-old cutie told reporters after the encounter. “She was beautiful.”
“That hug had a lot of meaning,” Diamond’s dad, Lyall Marshall, said. “We’re very thankful for that meet-and-greet for her, and [for] the whole community rallying behind her.”
Earlier that year, Diamond had written Kate a note from her hospital bed where she had tuned in to watch the royal wedding. It had been her dying wish to meet a “real princess," a goal that the Children’s Wish Foundation helped make come true.
Her Royal Highness even sent Diamond a note of congratulations when her cancer went into remission just before Christmas in 2011.
Sadly, nine-year-old Diamond lost her lifelong battle with undifferentiated sarcoma three years later. On Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, she passed away peacefully, surrounded by friends and family.
News of Diamond’s passing was relayed to William and Kate while they were visiting New York this week. “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were sad to learn this news,” said a spokesman for Kensington Palace.
“We are incredibly thankful for the time we had with Diamond and we will cherish the memories we made with her,” wrote Diamond’s family in a statement released on Tuesday. “In her fight against cancer, Diamond was a warrior but she carried herself with the grace and dignity of a princess. She touched many people along the way and her story inspired so many.”