Prince William gave Dame Deborah James' children some "powerful" advice about coping with grief.
The Duke of Cambridge met the podcaster and her family just a month before she passed away from bowel cancer in June, and her widow Sebastien Bowen has praised the 40-year-old royal - who was just 15 when his own mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash - for his interaction with their children, Hugo, 14, and 12-year-old Eloise.
Sebastien said: "There was the time I opened the door to Prince William, who had come to give Deborah a damehood. He felt like a friend but he was the future king. That was bizarre.
"He was so relaxed; he came and sat down in the garden and had champagne with the family. Deborah had a glass of champagne, a glass of wine and a glass of sherry in front of her. She hadn’t been allowed a drink for months and the first thing William said was, ‘I’m glad to see you are triple parked.’ That was an immediate ice-breaker.
"He’s obviously been through similar grief with the loss of his mother so he gave powerful advice to the children that will stay with them for ever.”
Deborah, who was nicknamed Bowel Babe, received a damehood in honour of her charity work but was only told of the honour a day before William visited their home because she was too sick to travel, leading the family to "manically tidy" ahead of their royal visitor.
Sebastien recalled to The Times newspaper: “I had a call from Number 10 the day before. They explained the formal way to tell her, and I was so nervous she thought something terrible must have happened.
"She looked at me and said, ‘I’m about to die. What else could possibly go wrong?’ Then she was like, ‘Shut up, you’re making it up,’ and then, ‘Are we going to the palace?’ We had to manically tidy when I said the Duke of Cambridge might be coming here.”
Following Deborah's passing, William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, paid tribute to the "unfalteringly brave" 'You, Me And the Big C' presenter.
They wrote on Instagram: "We are so sad to hear the heartbreaking news about Dame Deborah. Our thoughts are with her children, her family and her loved ones. Deborah was an inspirational and unfalteringly brave woman whose legacy will live on. W, C."