The United Kingdom has been the scene of a terrorist attack three times this year, and yet the British Royal Family has remained largely quiet, leaving many wondering why. In March a terrorist attack took place near the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the British Parliament. Four people were killed, and over 50 were injured when the attacker drove a car into pedestrians on the pavement. A service of hope was attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, while Prince Charles thanked doctors.
In May a suicide bombing occurred at Manchester Arena in Manchester after a concert by Ariana Grande and 23 people were killed, and 119 were injured. Her Majesty The Queen decided to not cancel the planned garden party later the next day and appeared at the event in a bright yellow dress, although a minute of silence was held. After the obligatory statements were released, it took three days before Her Majesty visited people in hospital in Manchester, where she described the attack as “very wicked.” It seems a silly way to describe a horrific nail bomb that killed 23 people, and the distance between Her Majesty and the victims can be sensed from the photos.
Then came the attack on 3 June when three men drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge and then stabbed people after the van had come to a stop. Eight people were killed, and 48 were injured. So far, the only member of the British Royal Family to publicly speak of this attack was Prince Harry who commented, “Our hearts go out to the victims, their friends and families,” during a visit to Australia. However, as condolences and messages of solidarity poured in from all over the world and from other royal families, I cannot help but ask, “where is The Queen?”
As a Dutch person, I remember the 2009 attack on the Dutch Royal Family only too well, where a man drove his car at high speed into a parade, which included most of the Dutch Royal Family. He drove through people lining the streets, which resulted in the deaths of eight people and ten injuries. The Royal Family remained unharmed. Just a few hours after the attack a visibly shaken Queen Beatrix addressed the nation in a video message.
What started out as a beautiful day has ended in a terrible tragedy that has shocked all of us. People who were standing nearby, who saw it happen on television, all those who witnessed it, must have been watching in astonishment and disbelief. We are speechless that something so terrible could have happened. My family, myself, and, I think, every person in the country feels for the victims, their families and friends, and all who have been affected by this incident.
Also, after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down with 193 Dutch citizens (from a total of 298 victims) on board, the Dutch King and Queen were at the airport meeting with the victims’ families as the first bodies were flown to the Netherlands for identification. A national day of mourning was declared for 23 July 2014.
The Queen, instead, choose to continue her daily work after the attacks in the UK, which although admirable, leaves me wondering where the outrage is. To be able to move on from events like this, a time to mourn, to be angry must be a part of that process.
Overall, the lack of public response to the terrorist attacks has been limited and has failed to unite the country behind the one thing that is supposed to bind the people, the crown.