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Harry and Meghan grieve for Aussie Daphne


FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018 file photo, Britain's Prince Harry is embraced by 98-year-old Daphne Dunne during a walkabout outside the Opera House in Sydney, Australia. Prince Harry and his wife Meghan the Duchess of Sussex plan to write to the family of an elderly war widow who was among his biggest fans after she died in Australia. The royal couple is described as deeply saddened by the death of Daphne Dunne at the age of 99. (Paul Edwards/Pool via AP, File)

Prince Harry and wife Meghan are planning to write to the family of elderly Australian war widow Daphne Dunne after her death aged 99.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were described as deeply saddened by the death of Dunne, who was among Harry's biggest fans.

Her family said on social media on Tuesday that their mother and grandmother "passed away peacefully" on Monday.

She had met Harry three times during his visits to Sydney and had recently received a letter from Harry and Meghan on her birthday. Harry had introduced Dunne to Meghan on his most recent visit.

Dunne spoke at length with the expectant parents and patted Harry's face affectionately as she congratulated the couple on their exciting news.

"I wished them well with the baby on the way and said this is what Harry has been waiting for for so long ... I got a cuddle too," she told AAP.

The Sydney grandmother, who also spent much of her life advocating for women of the Australian Army, died after a short battle with illness.

Dunne first came to prominence in 1945, when her first husband Lieutenant Albert Chowne was posthumously awarded a Victoria Cross for bravery in New Guinea in the Second World War.

"She was a truly special lady who will be greatly missed by so many," her family posted to Instagram on Tuesday.

"The simple act of stopping Daphne in the street and holding her hand meant more to Daphne than anyone could ever imagine."

© AP 2019