Princess Kate Had a Heart-Wrenching Moment Meeting the Mother of a Teenage Rugby Player Who Died by Suicide

Sarah Renton gave the princess some very meaningful earrings.

The Princess Of Wales Visits Maidenhead Rugby Club
(Image credit: Photo by Samir Hussein / Getty)

CW: suicide, depression

On Wednesday, Princess Kate met rugby players and staff at the Maidenhead Rugby Club, on behalf of her Shaping Us project for early childhood development.

While the conversation on the day centered around how dads contribute to their children's development, the Princess of Wales also met Sarah Renton, the mother of a teenage rugby player named Issy Phipps, who sadly died by suicide earlier this year. Renton coaches under-14 boys at Maidenhead.

Issy's mother presented the princess with a pair of star-shaped earrings made by her cousin. Part of the proceeds from these 18k gold-plated earrings benefit the charity Brave Mind, which works to improve the mental health of rugby players. You can purchase your own pair on the Earsass website.

Princess Kate warmly embraced Renton and promised her that she would wear the earrings in tribute to Issy.

"Mental health is such an important issue," Renton said after meeting Kate (via the Daily Mail).

"She was wonderful, Issy, a real breath of fresh air.

"She had wonderful, wonderful friends, surrounded herself with the best people. She was owning life, doing so well in her A levels [exams British kids take at the end of high school], she was going to do an elite rugby program, she played touch rugby for England and got a gold medal in the summer."

Unfortunately, Issy was also experiencing difficulties with her mental health.

"But she was also struggling with depression. Everything was harder than it was a supposed to be," her mother said.

"We thought she was obviously doing better than she was. But I think one of the things we are looking at is GPs, medication and lack of support.

"She got herself in a bit of a vacuum. It’s affected a lot of the parents and children here at the club but we are getting through it together."

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal ideation, please visit the National Alliance on Mental Health website for information and support.

Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.