Christa Ackroyd: Why Prince Harry deserves every second of his happiness

The Duke of Sussex speaking at Windsor Castle in Berkshire after the Duchess of Sussex gave birth to a baby boy  Steve Parsons/PA WireThe Duke of Sussex speaking at Windsor Castle in Berkshire after the Duchess of Sussex gave birth to a baby boy  Steve Parsons/PA Wire
The Duke of Sussex speaking at Windsor Castle in Berkshire after the Duchess of Sussex gave birth to a baby boy Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Harry Windsor this week you made me cry. And not for the first time.

Cynics and republicans beware. This column is not for you. It is for every parent, or those who want to become one, who identify with a young couple welcoming a new baby into the world and who were, on Monday, immediately reminded of that feeling of incredulity that he, or she, is finally here. And safe.

Who cares whether the best laid plans to have the perfect birth went awry. That will all be forgotten now and the details are for them and them alone.

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I know many a mum who envisaged a serene, controlled experience with birthing pools and soft music who ended up in a very different scenario, just as Meghan reportedly did.

No wonder Prince Harry praised his wife. Childbirth is often as big a shock to witness for a new father as it is to experience for a first time mother. At least she often feels she has some semblance of control.

And yes Prince Harry is absolutely right to say it is beyond comprehension to witness women doing what they do, as he put it.

We are amazing, let’s be honest and thankyou for recognising that fact Sir. But no matter whether Meghan,or you or I, gave birth at home or in hospital, from that moment your life has changed forever, for the better. That is what we saw this week. And that is what made me cry.

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It is that overwhelming sense of relief and joy that made Harry change his mind in an instant about facing the cameras. What we saw was simply a man who was desperate to share his joy.

What he said were the words of a new father not a prince of the realm.

So forget his so called life of privilege. He had just witnessed the greatest privilege of all, becoming a daddy. And he wanted to tell the world.

And not for the first time I loved him for his almost naive astonishment of what he had just experienced.

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So if you can’t say anything good about a man who as a young boy suffered his grief in public, say nothing at all now he has something wonderful to shout about. He deserves every second of happiness.

I have always been fond of the two Princes. I was lucky enough to see them up close up and in a relaxed environment on a number of occasions, not least as the guest of the wonderful Prince of Wales Hospice in Pontefract, when their father as patron organised a charity polo match where his two teenage sons played.

What we witnessed was very different from what you may expect.

Harry was the shy one, encouraged by his brother to step into the limelight. He was far from comfortable taking centre stage preferring to stand behind William.

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It brought back memories of that lost little boy walking behind his mother’s coffin, a moment that tarnished his life for years to come. He did his growing up in the full glare of the media spotlight, so no wonder that until this week his relationship with the press had always been tense.

His wedding day for me will always be deeply personal. My memories of it will forever be intertwined with our own family crisis when our children flew from halfway round the world as my husband lay in intensive care awaiting lifesaving surgery. I watched it on catch up throughout the night, a beacon of light in what was for us a dark day. That Harry is now happy and my husband survived is a double blessing.

It was a very different Prince Harry that met the press this week. But then parenthood changes everything.

It puts things into perspective and as he told us, in an instant you experience the very different love a parent has for a child. In one moment you become protector and guide and as Harry said you immediately know you would die for that little being. If not then there is something wrong with you.

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Prince Harry was right when he described it as amazing ... the most incredible experience anyone could ever have imagined.

Never have I seen him more comfortable, more deliriously happy, since those wonderful arms outstretched family photographs with his own late mother.

No matter what is his station in life, if you can’t be glad for him and his wife, then you have no soul.