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Duke and Duchess of Sussex surprise favourite Aussie, Daphne, on her 99th birthday

Daphne Dunne’s special relationship with Prince Harry warmed hearts when he showed the world how special she was to him, by introducing her to his new bride, Meghan, during their Royal tour to Australia last year.

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The Duchess of Sussex embraced Daphne with a big warm hug before telling her “It’s fantastic. I’m so happy to finally meet you. I’ve heard so much about you,”

So, when he found out his favourite Aussie would be spending her 99th Birthday in hospital, Harry did not let her down.

Daphne received a letter from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, sending her ‘warmest wishes’ and hoping she spent her day surrounded by loved ones and managed to escape hospital.

The letter came as a complete surprise to Daphne, who earlier told the Today Show that ‘he wouldn’t even think of it’.

The whole letter read;

Dear Daphne,

My wife and I send our warmest wishes to you on the occasion of your 99th birthday on Friday.

We hope you have a wonderful celebration surrounded by family and friends and that you’ve managed to escape hospital. Congratulations on reaching this important and impressive milestone before your centenary year next year.

Happy birthday, Daphne.

Best wishes,

Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Michelle Haywood, Daphne’s daughter, told the Today Show that a friend had contacted the Prince by email and they were “so excited” to receive a reply overnight.

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The war widow first came to Prince Harry’s attention during a walkabout at the Sydney Opera House following a month-long secondment to the Australian Army in 2015.

Spotting her among the crowd of royal fans, Harry noticed she was wearing a Victoria’s Cross medal, which is the military’s highest award for acts of bravery, and he made a beeline to meet her.

At the time, Daphne told the Daily Telegraph, ‘He asked me about the Victoria Cross — he said he recognised that and wanted to know all about it.’

The medal was awarded posthumously to Daphne’s first husband, Lieutenant Albert Chowne, one of the famous Rats of Tobruk.

He and Daphne had been married for less than a year when he was sent to New Guinea. On the 25th of March, 1945, he was involved in an attack on the Japanese. Seeing the leading platoon in his company run into trouble, he displayed superb heroism when he left his position of safety and charged.

Despite significant injuries, he saved many lives by knocking out two machine guns before being killed.

In September 1945, Daphne told the Sydney Morning Herald: ‘I would rather he had remained just ordinary and was alive. He was a wonderful man and a grand husband.’

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Harry also greeted Daphne in the crowd when he was in Australia in 2017. Each time he meets her, he makes time for a special hug, and the cheeky Grandma always asks for a kiss – a request Harry happily obliges.

Meghan’s parting words to Daphne were “Hopefully next time we see you we’ll have a little one with us.”

With baby Sussex due any day, let’s hope the couple are planning their next trip to Australia soon.

About author

Kylie is a journalist whose words have appeared in some of Australia and New Zealand's best selling magazines including Woman's day, Girlfriend, OK and that's life! and online at Daily Mail Australia. She has a strong interest in anything to do with the Duchess of Cambridge, the Duchess of Sussex, Princess Diana or Grace Kelly. Kylie's personal wardrobe contains over 100 of the same dresses, shoes and clutches, seen on the Duchess of Cambridge. When not writing, you'll find her searching for Sydney's best brunch spot. Follow her on Instagram @theladywallace