The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were in Manchester yesterday to pay tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena on 22 May.
The couple observed a moment of silence while standing at the scene of the attack in the arena foyer, the blown out glass roof panels a striking reminder of the devastation that unfolded there, which claimed 22 lives and injured 119 others.
North West Counter Terrorism Unit forensic manager Bob Gallagher talked the royal couple through the events of the night, showing them the exact spot where the home-made bomb was detonated and the ragged holes that still riddle the walls and doors.
The royal couple met with medics and arena staff to hear about their experiences during and in the aftermath of the incident, and Prince Charles praised them saying: “In all this, Manchester is an example to the world.”
One of the medics, who saw the bomb explode while watching the arena via a laptop in the medical control room, told the Duchess of Cornwall: “Nobody knew what was going to happen next. If there was another bomb. You can prepare on paper but…
“We heard the bang and saw the smoke. We knew where we needed to go and head to where it came from. We knew deep down what had happened immediately.”
Camilla told the team members and staff: “I think you are all incredible. It must have been incredibly difficult for you. People have got a lot to thank you for…You did a fantastic job you should be proud of yourselves.”
From the arena, Charles and Camilla travelled to Manchester Town Hall to attend a roundtable discussion with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and other community leaders. Prince Charles participated in the formal talks about the impact of the attack, and the Duchess met with 14-year-old Freya Lewis, who was injured in the attack and is still recovering, and her parents.