Prince Charles pays tribute to late progeria sufferer
Britain’s Prince Charles has paid tribute to a progeria sufferer who passed away earlier this month aged 17.
The 66-year-old royal wrote a letter to the parents of Hayley Okines, who died after her battle with the rare genetic disorder that meant she aged eight times faster than normal, that was read out at her funeral in East Sussex yesterday (15.04.15).
He wrote: “My wife [Duchess Camilla] and I just wanted you to know how very much our hearts go out to you following the agonising tragedy of losing your beloved, daughter Hayley.”
The Prince of Wales first met Hayley – who defied doctors who said she would not live past the age of 13 – at the annual Women’s Own Children of Courage Awards at Westminster Abbey in 2004 and said at the time how impressed he was by her “incredible spirit and infectious love of live”.
The letter continued: “I know that she was an inspiration to millions in the way in which she dealt with the unimaginable challenge of progeria … You must be so very proud of the way that she used her brief life to make such a difference to the lives of others through her charity work and I do hope you can take some comfort, despite all the anguish you must be suffering, in her truly astounding achievements.”
Hayley’s mother Kerry – who announced the news that her daughter had passed away on her Facebook page earlier this month – told mourners how she’d loved her daughter’s “sarcasm, dry sense of humour and pure stubbornness”, with Hayley’s father Mark adding that his daughter “never had a bad word to say about anybody”.
Charles ended his letter, writing: “It is all the most tremendous credit to the unfailing love and care which I know your family gave her. I fear that under such unspeakably sad circumstances, mere words are hopelessly and utterly inadequate.
“So although I realise only too well that it will be if no consolation whatsoever, all we can do is hold you in our most special thoughts and prayers at such a heartrending time. With the greatest sympathy, Charles.”