William gives personal tribute to Manchester bombing bereaved as memorial opens

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The Duke of Cambridge has given a deeply personal tribute to the still grieving loved ones of the 22 people murdered in the Manchester Arena terror bombing as the public memorial officially opened in the city.

William said that “as someone who lives with his own grief” it matters that those we have lost are never forgotten, as he addressed families at the Glade of Light memorial, a short distance from the Manchester Arena.

The duke called the city an “extraordinary place” which had refused to “look back in anger” but responded to hate with love.

William, who in the morning accompanied his father the Prince of Wales to the Queen’s Speech in Parliament, was accompanied by the Duchess of Cambridge to the ceremony, which comes ahead of the fifth anniversary of the terror attack on May 22 2017.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend the official opening of the Glade of Light memorial (Jon Super/PA)

(PA Wire)

The royal visitors attended a short service, before William made his brief remarks and walked around the memorial, where the duchess laid a bouquet of flowers.

Relatives of the 22 who were killed wiped away tears and exchanged hugs as a choir sang Halo by Beyonce, which includes the refrain, ‘I can feel your halo’.

William told the families: “For Catherine and I it is very important that we are with you here today. To remember the 22 lives so brutally taken.

“To acknowledge the hundreds of lives that were irrevocably changed and to pay tribute to the resilience of this great city.

“I remember only too well the shock and grief on the faces of those I met when I visited Manchester in the days following the atrocity.

“Five years on I know that the pain and the trauma felt by many has not gone away.

The Duke of Cambridge gives a speech during the official opening of the memorial (Jon Super/PA)

(PA Wire)

“As someone who lives with his own grief, I also know that what often matters most to the bereaved is that those we have lost are not forgotten.

“There is comfort in remembering. In acknowledging that, while taken horribly soon, they lived.

“They changed our lives.

“They were loved, and they are loved. It is why memorials such as the Glade of Light are so important. Why Catherine and I so wanted to be amongst you today.”

The duke said the memorial would be a place of solace for families and for all Mancunians.

He added: “And we remember the entirety of the Manchester community who responded in the most heart-warming and life-affirming ways possible to support those affected.

“This was an attack on an evening of music. And it occurred in a city that has given the world so many songs to sing.

“When the people of Manchester gathered to pay respects to the victims just days after the atrocity, you told the world that your music would not be silenced.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend the official opening of the Glade of Light memorial (Jon Super/PA)

(PA Wire)

“Instead, you raised your voices together and you sang a song of love that was written by some of this city’s most famous sons.

“On that day you told each other that you would not look back in anger. And you showed the world the true heart of this extraordinary place. So, when we come to this memorial let’s look back with love for those we lost.

“Let’s look back with love for the people who cared for and protected this community.

“And let’s look back with love for the ongoing strength of the great city of Manchester.”

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