Queen: Royal fans in tears as they pay their respects at coffin
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On Thursday, September 8, Queen Elizabeth II died, leaving a nation – and a huge family – in mourning. The Queen had 12 great-grandchildren, including Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, who will have to come to terms with the loss of such an important figure. During a walkabout in Windsor after the Queen’s passing, Kate Middleton told royal fans that Louis had comforted her with the words: “Gan-Gan’s with Great-Grandpa”.
Award-winning coach for children Natalie Costa spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about the potential fallout.
She stated: “Undoubtedly, the children will be upset about the passing of their great granny.
“And what’s important is that they are given the space to feel and work through their big emotions (sadness, upset, worry).”
However, the sudden loss of a relative can also cause some confusion for youngsters.
Natalie suggested that the three children may find it difficult to navigate the reality of the situation and their emotions.
She explained: “It may also be that they don’t quite know what they’re feeling and so it’s important that the adults around them use clear language – explaining what’s happened.”
A parent may have to explain what death means to small children. Prince George and Princess Charlotte may have a better understanding as nine and seven-year-olds, respectively.
However, the youngest of the three, Prince Louis, is only four years old and may not yet totally understand the Queen’s death.
According to Child Bereavement UK, children between the ages of two and five will unlikely understand the idea that death is “forever”.
They might ask when the dead person is “coming back” or where they have gone.
It is only between the ages of five and seven that children will “gradually begin to develop an understanding that death is permanent and irreversible and that the person who has died will not return”.
For difficult conversations and to avoid misunderstanding, a parent, in this case Prince William and Kate Middleton, might say something like: “Granny has died.
“That means her body doesn’t work anymore and she’s not able to be here with us, no matter how much we want her here.”
Natalie stressed the importance of children being allowed to “feel their sadness”.
She suggested: “I often encourage parents to help their children create ‘feeling characters’, exploring where they notice the feeling on their body.
“Is it heavy or light, what colour/name would they give their feeling, etc?
“Allowing children to become curious about their feelings lets them know that they can feel their emotions but they are not their feelings.
“Allowing opportunities to talk about their granny and share happy memories is also helpful,” Natalie added.
Finally, something the Cambridge children may benefit from is some great-granny-inspired arts and crafts.
According to the expert, “creating a memory box/book files with momentos is another way to help children grieve”.
Natalie Costa is an award-winning coach for children and parents, and founder of Power Thoughts.
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