'No person should ever have to fear attending a sacred place of worship'
Last week saw the tragic Christchurch mosque shootings, leaving 50 people dead and prompting an outpouring of love and messages of support for New Zealand from around the world.
Among those to pay tributes were Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, with the royal couple holding the country close to their hearts after their visit last year.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made a joint royal appearance this week to visit London’s New Zealand House, where they paid their respects, each laying flowers and signing a book of condolence, which is now open for the public to sign too.
‘Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the people who lost their lives in the devastating attack in Christchurch,’ Kensington Palace announced on behalf of both the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after news broke of the attack.
‘We have all been fortunate to spend time in Christchurch and have felt the warm, open-hearted and generous spirit that is core to its remarkable people. No person should ever have to fear attending a sacred place of worship. This senseless attack is an affront to the people of Christchurch and New Zealand, and the broader Muslim community.’
And they weren’t the only royals to pay their respects, with the Queen releasing a statement on behalf of her and Prince Philip.
‘I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today. Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives,’ the Monarch announced.
‘I also pay tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who are providing support to those who have been injured. At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders. Elizabeth R.’
Prince Charles also released a statement on behalf of himself and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
‘Both my wife and I were utterly horrified to hear of the most barbaric attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, which resulted in the cruel and tragic loss of so many people’s lives,’ he announced. ‘It is beyond all belief that so many should have been killed and injured at their place of worship and our most special and heartfelt sympathy goes out to all the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives.
‘This appalling atrocity is an assault on all of us who cherish religious freedom, tolerance, compassion and community. I know that the people of New Zealand will never allow hate and division to triumph over these things they hold dear. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families, the first responders, the people of Christchurch and all New Zealanders at this most heartbreaking of times.’
Our thoughts are with those affected by the tragic New Zealand attack.