Sadness and admiration are the central planks of the message that the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have sent to the President of France following the fire which devastated Notre Dame Cathedral on April 15th 2019. Elizabeth II has also told Emmanuel Macron that her ”thoughts and prayers” are with the French people as they reflect on the damage done to the church.
The statement, issued on the morning of April 16th 2019, says:
“Prince Philip and I have been deeply saddened to see the images of the fire which has engulfed Notre-Dame Cathedral.
I extend my sincere admiration to the emergency services who have risked their lives to try to save this important national monument.
My thoughts and prayers are with those who worship at the Cathedral and all of France at this difficult time.”
Fire broke out at Notre-Dame de Paris in the early evening of April 15th 2019 and within hours, the famous spire and much of the roof had been destroyed by the flames. Fortunately, the statues around the spire had been removed a week earlier as much needed renovation work got under way.
Firefighters worked as darkness fell to save the medieval church which was begun in 1163 during the reign of King Louis VII of France. At one point, flames were seen in one of the famous towers on the western facade but the hard work of the emergency services ensured the iconic landmark was saved.
The cause of the fire is not yet known.