Prince Harry was filled with emotion as he opened the Mamohato Children's Centre on Thursday (Nov. 26), which was built by his charity Sentebale. Following the death of his mother, Princess Diana, the prince said he found perspective in 2004 visiting the children of Lesotho, whose "lives had been shattered" by loss, extreme poverty and illness.
"Although our situations couldn't have been more different, I felt an overwhelming connection to many of the children I met," Harry said. "They were far younger than me, and of course, their situation was a great deal more challenging than my own. Nonetheless, we shared a similar feeling of loss, having a loved one, in my case a parent, snatched away so suddenly.
"I, like them, knew there would always be a gaping hole that could never be filled."
The prince explained that his experiences in Lesotho had inspired him to launch Sentebale along with his friend Prince Seeiso, in memory of their late mothers. The charity has now been running for 10 years and helped thousands of vulnerable children to get the support they need to lead happy and healthy lives.
There is one child in particular who Harry has struck up a close relationship with over the past decade – Mutsu Potsane – a 14-year-old who first met the prince when he was just four. The pair have met on many of Harry's visits to Lesotho and were reunited on Thursday afternoon at the opening of the residential children's centre.
Lesotho's Prince Seeiso revealed that Harry had been "delighted" to see Mutsu again at the event.
"Mutsu was very happy, too, but he was a bit shy and a bit intimidated," Prince Seeiso explained. "He told Harry he was doing fine at school. Harry asked him if he had passed his exam and he said, 'I think so'."
Meanwhile, the teenager was equally happy to see Prince Harry again. Speaking partly in English and partly through an interpreter, Mutsu said, "I felt very happy, very excited. I'm very comfortable around Harry; he is very comfortable around me. We click."
He added that as well as taking his hat, Harry had teased him about how big he was getting. "He said to me I've grown up."
Harry is on a week-long tour to Lesotho and South Africa. Royal correspondent Emily Nash is with prince every step of the way, and will share all of the details and regular updates in a travel diary on HELLO! Online.