After the tragic terror attack in Orlando, Florida, on 12 June 2016, royals from across Europe have sent their condolences to President Obama and the American people.
King Harald of Norway: “I was shocked and saddened on hearing the news about the tragic shooting attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in the early hours of Sunday morning, resulting in the loss of so many innocent lives. On behalf of myself and the Norwegian people I extend my condolences and my sympathy to you, Mr. President, and ask you to convey my condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims, to those injured, and to the people of the United States of America at this difficult time.”
King Carl Gustaf of Sweden: “With profound sadness I have received information of the tragic and brutal event in Orlando. Together with The Royal Family I extend our sincere condolences and our heartfelt sympathies to the families of the victims and to the American people.”
Prince Albert of Monaco: “I learned with consternation the heinous massacre in Orlando. I bow before the memory of the victims, the grief of their families, the sufferings of the wounded. Hate will be defeated. Mister President, please accept the assurances of my deep sadness and of my highest consideration.”
Her Majesty The Queen: “Prince Philip and I have been shocked by the events in Orlando. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected.”
Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall: “Our hearts go out to all those who have lost loved ones and to those who have been injured in this unspeakably barbaric attack. You are in our special prayers.”
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge: “With our deepest condolences and with our thoughts and prayers to all those affected.” They both signed the condolence book at the U.S. Embassy in London this morning.
King Felipe of Spain called President Obama, as well, to extend his sympathies and to say that he “stands in solidarity with the victims and family members after the brutal attack”. Both he and Queen Letizia signed the condolence book at the United States Embassy in Madrid today.
Queen Letizia of Spain: “This morning, I condemn the murders of at least 50 people in Orlando a few hours ago. As stated by the King in the words sent to President Obama, this attack is contrary to our way of living and there is only one way to fight it: working united and firmly.”
Queen Margrethe of Denmark: “Mr President, I was deeply shocked to learn about the tragic and terrible events in Orlando early Sunday morning and express my most sincere condolences and sympathy to you and the American people. My thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims.”
King Philippe of Belgium in a speech at the opening of the Brussels Asia Society Dialogue: “Firstly, Belgium was hit recently by terrorist attacks, as were the US so grievously in Orlando last Saturday. And so were many other countries in a near past, too. These tragic events prove that, more than ever before, we too may feel the effects of civil wars and disorder occurring in faraway countries. In order to avoid more such acts, either in Europe, Asia or the US, we need to foster stronger international cooperation, to address the root causes of extremism and to develop a greater sense of openness to otherness.”
The Royal Palace in Amsterdam was lit up in rainbow colours in a show of solidarity with the victims, as well. A photo was posted to the Dutch royal family’s Facebook page saying, “Out of solidarity with the victims of the attack in Orlando is the Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam lit in the colours of the rainbow.”
Early in the morning of 12 June, Omar Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Florida, entered the Pulse nightclub and began his rampage. During the attack, he called 911 pledging his allegiance to the Islamic State, according to a United States official. 49 were killed and at least 53 wounded in the deadliest mass shooting in American history and is the nation’s worst attack since 9/11. He was known to authorities and had been interviewed by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 but was deemed to not be a threat, according to CNN.
President Obama said in an address to the American people Sunday afternoon, “We know enough to say this was an act of terror and act of hate. This is an especially heartbreaking day for our friends who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.” Pulse is a gay bar in Orlando. Mateen was well organised and prepared for his assault. He was killed in a shootout with the police inside the nightclub.
The motive has not yet been identified. However, the Islamic State’s Amaq news agency reportedly said the attack “was carried out by an Islamic State fighter.” Whether or not Mateen was inspired by the group or was directed by the Islamic State has not been determined.