Prince Harry ‘Saddened’ That Superfan Daphne Dunne Died

Prince Harry is mourning the loss of one of his biggest fans, Daphne Dunne, who died at age 99 this week. Dunne had met Harry on multiple occasions and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex recently surprised her on her 99th birthday with a special greeting.

Prince Harry and Daphne Dunne during a meet and greet at the Sydney Opera House on October 16, 2018 in Sydney, Australia
Prince Harry and Daphne Dunne | Paul Edwards – Pool/Getty Images

Prince Harry always had time for Dunne

Dunne, a royal fan from Australia, first met Prince Harry in 2015, when she caught his eye in the crowd wearing her late husband’s war medals, including the Victoria Cross, which he stopped to ask her about. Dunne sat in the pouring rain in 2017 for the chance to see Harry again and he remembered her from their first meeting. Both times, Harry shared a kiss and hug with his superfan.

Prince Harry introduced Meghan Markle to Dunne in 2018 outside the Sydney Opera House while the couple were doing a tour that encompassed Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga.

Dunne was a Meghan Markle fan as well

Markle told Dunne at the time: “Oh my goodness, is this Daphne?  I’m so happy to finally meet you. I’ve heard so much about you.” Prince Harry’s fan was thrilled to meet Markle, who had recently announced her pregnancy.

Dunne told the couple: “It’s wonderful, the two of you. Congratulations, it’s just what Harry needs. He will be a marvelous dad. He won’t let anything stand in his way and he will be so gentle and loving.”

Getting to meet Markle was a thrill for Dunne as well and she was pleased to have had the opportunity, as she told AAP later: “She said she had heard all about me, she’s so beautiful.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle surprised Dunne on her birthday

Dunne’s status as a superfan wasn’t lost on Prince Harry and Markle who, upon hearing that her 99th birthday was approaching, surprised her with a special greeting.

Australia’s Today Show filmed the moment when they read the special message from the royals. The letter from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex 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.”

It was signed: “Best wishes, Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.”

Dunne’s daughter shared how their special surprise was helpful in keeping her mother’s spirits up while she was sick in the hospital. She noted: “Meghan and Harry have gotten mum through this terrible illness she’s had. She’s still very unwell and I think the card they’ve sent means so much. I think it will be the thing that gets her through.”

Prince Harry was ‘saddened’ by the news that Dunne died

According to a report from the BBC, Dunne died in her home on Monday at age 99.

A royal source told PEOPLE that Prince Harry and Markle plan to write Dunne’s family a letter of condolence and sympathy and that they are “deeply saddened by the news and they are thinking of Daphne’s family at this time.”