Ms Aldridge, who cannot work because she suffers from hypermobility syndrome, is heartbroken because her son’s dying wish was for the money to pay for his brothers’ education.  She fears that William’s money will run out before George,  nine, and Archie, seven, are old enough to go to university.  Rifleman William Aldridge was aged 18 years 47 days when he was killed by a Taliban mine in Sangin, Helmand province,  in July 2009.

Edward is the Royal Colonel  of William’s unit, the 2nd Battalion, the Rifles, and has visited British soldiers in Afghanistan.

Ms Aldridge, of Bredenbury, Herefordshire, said last night:  ‘I was relieved and delighted to receive the Prince’s letter.

‘My son did not die in order  to put food on my table or pay my rent.

‘A death-in-service payment should not have any impact on  a family’s ability to claim income support or benefits.’

When ruling on Ms Aldridge’s entitlement to housing benefit or income support, the DWP drew no distinction between her son’s estate and a windfall such as a National Lottery win.

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