The Royals Respond to the New Zealand Terror Attack
On Friday, March 15, 50 people were killed and 20 more were injured in a mass shooting that took place in two mosques in the Soth Island city of Christchurch.
“The terrorist attack appeared to have been carried out by a white nationalist who posted a racist manifesto online and streamed live video of the killings on Facebook,” reports The New York Times.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the incident “an extraordinary act of unprecedented violence” and “New Zealand’s darkest day.”
“It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” said Ardern. “From what we know, it does appear to have been well planned.”
The suspect, 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant, has been charged with murder.
“The United States strongly condemns the attack in Christchurch. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with the people of New Zealand and their government against this vicious act of hate,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement to People.
Kensington Palace’s statement on the shooting
“Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the people who lost their lives in the devastating attack in Christchurch.
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. It is a horrifying assault on a way of life that embodies decency, community, and friendship.
We know that from this devastation and deep mourning, the people of New Zealand will unite to show that such evil can never defeat compassion and tolerance.
We send our thoughts and prayers to everyone in New Zealand today.
Kia Kaha [a Māori phrase that means “stay strong”],” read the statement on Instagram.
The royal family’s history with New Zealand
The royal couples have both visited Christchurch on separate visits to New Zealand before. The Sussexes were there recently, in October in 2018, as part of their 16-day Royal Tour. The last time the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Christchurch was in 2014. William has also visited the region on solo trips in 2011 and 2005, before his and Kate’s wedding.
“New Zealand is part of the Commonwealth, an alliance of 53 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire. Queen Elizabeth II has led the Commonwealth for 66 years and last fall, named her son Prince Charles, William and Harry’s father, as her successor,” reports E! Online.
The Queen released her own statement about the mass shooting, in addition to the Sussexes and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
“I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today,” she said. “Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives. 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.”
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