UK's Prince William and Kate unveil memorial to Manchester Arena victims

The memorial opened before the fifth anniversary of the atrocity that killed 22 people

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Prince William and his wife Kate have paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the Manchester Arena terror attack as they attended a service to officially open a memorial to the public.

More than 1,000 people were injured and 22 died when suicide bomber Salman Abedi exploded a bomb at the end of an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017.

On Tuesday, the Duke of Cambridge said that “as someone who lives with his own grief”, it matters that those we have lost are never forgotten, as he addressed families at the Glade of Light memorial.

William called the city an “extraordinary place” that had refused to “look back in anger”, but responded to hate with love.

He was accompanied by the Duchess of Cambridge to the ceremony. The royal visitors attended a short service, before William made his brief remarks and walked around the memorial, where the duchess laid a bouquet of flowers.

Relatives of the 22 who were killed wiped away tears and exchanged hugs as a choir sang Halo by Beyonce.

“For Catherine and I it is very important that we are with you here today, to remember the 22 lives so brutally taken," the prince said.

“To acknowledge the hundreds of lives that were irrevocably changed and to pay tribute to the resilience of this great city.

“I remember only too well the shock and grief on the faces of those I met when I visited Manchester in the days following the atrocity.

“Five years on I know that the pain and the trauma felt by many has not gone away. As someone who lives with his own grief, I also know that what often matters most to the bereaved is that those we have lost are not forgotten.

“There is comfort in remembering, in acknowledging that, while taken horribly soon, they lived. They changed our lives. They were loved, and they are loved. It is why memorials such as the Glade of Light are so important; why Catherine and I so wanted to be amongst you today.”

William said the memorial would be a place of solace for families and for all Mancunians.

Andy Thomson, memorial designer and director of BCA Landscape, and Joanne Roney, chief executive of Manchester City Council, speak with Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine as they attend the launch of the Glade of Light Memorial, outside Manchester Cathedral on Tuesday. Reuters

The couple also went to a private reception inside Manchester Cathedral to speak to some of the bereaved families and those from the emergency services who dealt with the aftermath of the attack.

Relatives who lost loved ones have already made private visits to the memorial, which was opened to the public earlier this year, before the official opening on Tuesday, 12 days before the fifth anniversary of the attack.

“This was an attack on an evening of music and it occurred in a city that has given the world so many songs to sing," the prince said.

“When the people of Manchester gathered to pay respects to the victims just days after the atrocity, you told the world that your music would not be silenced.

“Instead, you raised your voices together and you sang a song of love that was written by some of this city’s most famous sons.

“On that day you told each other that you would not look back in anger. And you showed the world the true heart of this extraordinary place. So, when we come to this memorial let’s look back with love for those we lost.

“Let’s look back with love for the people who cared for and protected this community and let’s look back with love for the ongoing strength of the great city of Manchester.”

Updated: May 10, 2022, 7:20 PM
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