Prince Harry Tears Up During Emotional Visit in Brazil With Children Who Lost Parents, Recalls His "Own Experiences"

By Natalie Finn
|  Thursday, Jun 26, 2014  |  Updated 2:32 PM PDT
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Prince Harry visits the ACER Charity for disadvantaged children on June 25, 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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Prince Harry let his emotional side show Wednesday--and we'll bet that he helped more than a few kids feel less alone while doing so.

In the middle of his seven-day trip to South America, the 29-year-old royal met with children and their families Wednesday during a visit to ACER, the Association of Support for Children at Risk, in Brazil.

The group aids children who have lost one or both parents, be it due to death, abandonment, incarceration or any other reason that resulted in the kids being in need.

And Prince Harry, who was 12 when his mother, Princess Diana, was killed in a car crash, could relate to growing up without a parent.

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"There are two little girls--I'm quite emotional--just looking at them I wanted to talk about my own experiences," Harry told reporters in São Paolo, talking about two sisters who were being raised by their grandmother, their mother having been murdered and their father in jail on drug charges. "But there is no point because it is just so far removed.

"The bravery of them looking at me, smiling at me... I wanted to use my own experiences in a very small way to try to give them a bit of understanding about the fact [that] I see what [they're] going through. But you hear the stories and think that's nothing to what they have been through."

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Afterward, Harry said about the harrowing stories he heard during his visit, "I was completely overwhelmed and shocked. I've never blubbed in public as far as I can remember but I was pretty damn close. It was amazing to hear those stories."

Regarding the children who were being cared for by extended family members, one of ACER's goals in aiding these kids, he noted, "It seems ridiculous for me to say to these kids how lucky and fortunate they are considering their situation.

"Obviously they are far from that. But I am only too aware by listening to their stories how many other kids there are like this that aren't as fortunate as them."

The mood had lightened by the time Harry, who has football fever along with the rest of the nation and took in several World Cup matches during his Brazil trip, started kicking around a soccer ball with some of the delighted kids for a 20-minute round-robin match.

Harry also visited Cota, a small village in the Atlantic Rainforest, which surrounds the Brazilian capital of São Paolo, where he got down in the dirt to plant saplings and discussed local efforts to preserve the area's delicate ecosystem.

Overheard being asked if he was enjoying himself, Harry--whose father, Prince Charles, is a proponent of sustainable farming in Britain--smiled and said, "Planting trees. It's what we do."

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