Prince William gives royal fan the 'biggest surprise' during secret outing

Prince William laughing in a suit
(Max Mumby/Indigo)

Prince William made a special solo trip on Thursday to surprise fan Emma Webb during her campaign to raise funds for mental health charities.

The campaign, which involves a 160-mile sponsored walk, is incredibly personal for Emma as it's dedicated to her daughter Brodie, who tragically took her own life  in 2020 at age 16.

Brodie was a horse lover, and she and Emma would make an annual trip to the London International Horse Show. This year, Emma decided to raise money by walking all the way from Brodie's favourite showground, the David Broome Event Centre, in the Welsh town of Chepstow, to the International Horse Show's venue at the ExCel Centre in London – all while pulling a life-sized resin horse behind her.

Taking to social media, Emma shared a clip, which you can see below, of her astounding encounter with the Prince of Wales, who sweetly embraced her before engaging in a friendly conversation. At the time, Emma was between the town of Slough and Heathrow Airport Terminal 3, where she'll stay before completing the final two days of her challenge.

Sharing her surprise, Emma said: "So day 13…and this happened. How very, very kind and supportive. Keep watching for the biggest surprise."

HELLO! understands the Prince read about Emma's incredible challenge and wanted to join her in paying tribute to her daughter and raising awareness of young suicide.

Prince William launches Homewards in Belfast
Mental health is an important subject for Prince William (Getty)

Emma has been raising money for Riders Minds and also PAPYRUS (Prevention of Young Suicide), and you can learn more about the campaign by following this link.

Mental health has long been a passion for Prince William and his wife Princess Kate and, speaking exclusively to HELLO!, mental health campaigner Patrick Regan revealed how important an issue it was for the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Prince William attends the prize-giving after playing in the Out-Sourcing Inc. Royal Charity Polo Cup at Guards Polo Club, Flemish Farm on July 9, 2021
Emma spoke about her joy from the unexpected royal visit (Getty)

"The Prince and Princess were really passionate about mental health, which was great," Patrick explained. "Over the years, I have hosted lots of politicians and if I'm honest, sometimes it feels like they're there for the photo opportunity, but with William and Catherine they had such an interest in the topic, and they were obviously knowledgeable about the topic.

"With William, when you talk to a young person whose brother has been stabbed and when you talk about bereavement, the emotions, losing someone suddenly like that, is is frightening. That's what happened to him, one minute, his mum was there the next minute she wasn't and so I felt like empathy they had a lot of empathy."

William and Kate smile in the royal box at Royal Variety Performance 2021
The Prince's wife also campaigns on the issue (Getty)

Patrick continued: "Empathy isn't saying 'I know what it feels like to feel your pain' because no one's got the same DNA, the same genetics, the same upbringing. Empathy is saying 'I'm going to believe you what it's like when you describe your pain and I'm going to listen'. That's what they offered the young people, they didn't dream that someone of royalty would come to their estate and sit down, and ask them how they feel about life."

If you've been affected by this story, you can contact Samaritans for free by calling 116 123.

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