Yesterday, Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall visited the Manchester Arena to meet staff who helped the victims of the 22 May bombing, saying that the city had made the UK ‘proud’ thanks to its reaction of unity to the attack.
The royal couple stood in solemn silence in the foyer where the bomb was detonated, viewing the broken glass panels and other damage caused. The terrorist attack, which took place at an Ariana Grande concert, killed 22 people – many of them children – with another 119 people injured.
Prince Charles and Camilla also spoke with Bob Gallagher, the forensic manager of the North West Counter Terrorism unit. During the visit, Gallagher explained the events of the attack and pointed out the deep pockmarks in the exact location of the bomb’s detonation.
The Prince of Wales and his wife praised the quick response of the arena’s medical and security staff, with Camilla saying: “You did a fantastic job, you should be proud of yourselves”.
In a short address to the workers, the Prince said: “My wife and I have been moved by what we have seen today of how, in the face of the most painful of tragedies, the people of Manchester, of all ages, have responded so magnificently.
“No-one should have to suffer the losses which you have endured, yet no-one, surely could have endured them with greater fortitude.
“You are not looking back in anger, but looking resolutely forward, knowing that what you have suffered will only make you stronger and all the more determined to succeed as an international city that welcomes people from all over the world.
“It is little wonder that young and old, you came out to proclaim, ‘We love Manchester’.
“In the aftermath, we have watched with mounting admiration as those of all faiths and none have refused bitterness, and embraced belonging.
“In all this, Manchester is an example to the world. Much has been said of how Manchester has always been famous for making things: from manufacturing to music. Perhaps you will permit me to add one more thing to the list – you have made us proud.
“That is why I wanted to come here today: to express that pride publicly and to pay tribute to your resilience.”
The Prince and The Duchess were given bee lapel pins by Manchester Arena staff.
?The bee symbolises Manchester’s hard-working past. pic.twitter.com/Hbho89b72F
— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) 26 June 2017
Arena staff presented the future King and Queen with lapel pins in the shape of a bee. This insect is associated with Manchester, as it represents the hard-working past of this industrial city.
Additionally, the royal duo signed the book of condolence for the victims in Manchester Town Hall, with Prince Charles writing ‘With our deepest sympathy’.
After leaving the arena, Charles and Camilla travelled to the Town Hall, where they met with mayor Andy Burnham and other community leaders. The royal couple then took part in a roundtable discussion regarding the consequences of the Manchester bombing on the city and its residents. Camilla also met with 14-year-old Freya Lewis, who attended the Ariane Grande concert and is still recovering from her injuries.
This is the second royal visit to Manchester in the aftermath of the bombing. Just days after the attack, The Queen visited victims in Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. The Countess of Wessex also signed a book of condolence.