Queen Elizabeth II has praised the “bravery and resilience” of the Manchester terror attack survivors in her Christmas speech.
The monarch’s annual recap of the year was broadcast on British television earlier today (December 25), and saw her reflect on attacks in Manchester and London, and the devastation of the Grenfell Tower fire, as well as natural disasters abroad.
“This Christmas I think of London and Manchester, whose powerful identities shone through over the past 12 months in the face of appalling attacks,” she said. “In Manchester, those targeted included children who had gone to see their favourite singer.”
She then recalled visiting hospitals in Manchester after the attack, which took place as fans were leaving an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena. The Queen said she describes those visits as a privilege “because the patients I met were an example to us all, showing extraordinary bravery and resilience.”
“Indeed, many of those who survived the attack came together just days later for a benefit concert,” she continued. “It was a powerful reclaiming of the ground, and of the city those young people call home.
“We expect our homes to be a place of safety – sanctuary, even – which makes it all the more shocking when the comfort they provide is shattered. A few weeks ago, the Prince Of Wales visited the Caribbean in the aftermath of hurricanes that destroyed entire communities, and here in London who can forget the sheer awfulness of the Grenfell Tower fire? Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who’ve died, and those who lost so much, and we are indented to members of the emergency services, who risked their own lives this year saving others.”
The terror attack at Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017 claimed 22 lives. Weeks later, Ariana Grande hosted the One Love Manchester benefit concert, which raised nearly £3 million for the victims’ fund. Grande was later made an honorary citizen of Manchester by the city council, while the Arena reopened in September with the We Are Manchester charity concert.