boston explosions 2013 prince william s friend peregrine hood my fiancee serena nikkhah ran for her life

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  • Peregrine Hood was running to the finish where his girlfriend Serena Nikkhah, 29, was waiting to greet him
  • She fled for her life while Londoner Mr Hood, 38, said he had a 'ghastly feeling something was wrong'
  • Couple, who are friends with Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, spent half an hour looking for each other in panicked throng

By Harriet Arkell

PUBLISHED: 10:24 EST, 16 April 2013 | UPDATED: 06:38 EST, 17 April 2013

A friend of Prince William has told how his girlfriend sprinted to safety as two bombs exploded yards from where she was waiting for him at the Boston marathon finishing line yesterday.

Peregrine Hood, 38, had nearly finished the race and was running towards his waiting fiancee Serena Nikkhah when the deadly explosions tore through the crowds waiting to greet the finishers.

Mr Hood, a foreign exchange dealer from London, said Miss Nikkhah, 29, was caught up in panicked crowds and fled for her life as the shockwaves from first one blast and then the next hit.

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Serena Nikkhah, who fled for her life when the Boston bombs went off, was hysterical when she finally spoke to her fiance, Peregrine Hood

Serena Nikkhah, who fled for her life when the Boston bombs went off, was hysterical when she finally spoke to her fiance, Peregrine Hood

He said: 'She literally ran for her life.  I was getting ready to finish when I heard a bang. 

'The headphones were on, the euphoria was setting in and then I got a ghastly feeling that something was wrong.

'Then there was massive confusion, people running, so I just stopped and started moving away.'

Mr Hood, son of the 4th Viscount Bridport, said his first reaction was: 'Oh God, my girlfriend's in the finishers' box.'

He said he was 60ft from one explosion and started to move away from the scene of the blast, panicking about where Ms Nikkhah was.

It was an agonising half-hour looking for his girlfriend and trying to call and email her before he got an email through to her and she finally replied.

Runners continue to race towards the finish line in Boston as an explosion erupts on the sidewalk

Runners continue to race towards the finish line in Boston as an explosion erupts on the sidewalk

Peregrine Hood is an old friend of Prince William's, and even better friends with the Duchess of Cornwall's son, Tom Parker Bowles

Peregrine Hood is an old friend of Prince William's, and even better friends with the Duchess of Cornwall's son, Tom Parker Bowles

Mr Hood said when he spoke to Miss Nikkhah she was hysterical.

Ms Nikkhah, a fashion editor at Vogue who previously worked for Marc Jacobs and Armani, later wrote on Twitter: 'I could not be more grateful Peregrine and I are safe.

'My prayers go out to those just across the stands from me who were in the blast.  Such an awful tragedy.'

She added: 'We are very lucky'.

Mr Hood has long been a friend of 30-year-old Prince William, and is also close friends with the Duchess of Cornwall's son, food writer Tom Parker Bowles.

Mr Hood was running in aid of Jumpstart, an American charity that works with preschool children in deprived areas, preparing them to start school.

He and Miss Nikkhah, whom he met while on a family holiday to Mustique, are getting married in June at Mr Hood's family home, Charlton Park, near Malmesbury, Wiltshire.  Miss Nikkhah, who is half-Iranian and half-American, accepted Mr Hood's proposal last year after he proposed with a diamond he bought in South Africa. 

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