Prince William shows his soft side as he comforts 100 year old Navy widow during war memorial unveiling

Prince William has unveiled a new memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, paying tribute to the Royal Navy's submariners and their families.

The Duke of Cambridge commended their "continued resilience" at the ceremony on Wednesday.

William, 39, gave a short speech in which he said: "You would be hard-pressed to find a more challenging environment to serve in."

He said the new monument represents "the struggles this life of service can lead to".

The Duke of Cambridge then cut a ribbon to officially unveil the new memorial.

During his visit to the Staffordshire site, William met with submariners, veterans, and some of their families, including widow Diana Mayes.

Diana, 100, lost her first husband Lieutenant Gordon Noll in May 1943. Gordon, who was Commanding Officer of HMS Untamed, was just 25 years old when he died alongside his crew in the Clyde.

William placed a comforting hand on Diana whilst he listened to her story.

He also met the family of Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux, who was murdered on HMS Astute after it docked in Southampton in April 2011.

The officer tried to tackle a junior ranking, who went on a murderous rampage onboard a nuclear-powered submarine, before he was sadly shot.

Gillian Molyneux, Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux's widow, said the unveiling of the memorial has been emotional.

Speaking at the event, William said: "The Submarine Service has, for over 120 years, been at the forefront of our nation's defence.

"However, to many it is an invisible force which is so often out of sight and out of mind.

"The risks and the sacrifices associated with such service are clear, and you would be hard-pressed to find a more challenging environment to serve in."

The Prince added: "All of you will in some way be familiar with the long periods of separation, the lack of contact with loved ones, and the uncertainty of what the next day holds.

"It is because of the continued resilience in the face of such challenges that we are gathered here now."

It is hoped the memorial will provide a focal point for today's submarine community, as well as acting as a tribute to those who have lost their lives.

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