"You Will Never Be Forgotten:" Prince William Pays Tribute To The 2017 Manchester Bombing Victims
The Duke of Cambridge led the deeply emotional remembrance of the victims of the May 22, 2017 Ariana Grande Manchester concert bombing.
For those who noticed the absence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Prince Charles' advanced 70th birthday celebration, worry not. The couple was just away fulfilling other royal duties, including the city-wide service held in Manchester led by the Duke. The Duchess, on the other hand, was not at the scene as she is understood to be tending to her newborn, one month-old Prince Louis.
As the Duke and Duchess of Sussex kept things cheerful at Prince Charles' Buckingham Palace garden party, Prince William maintained a solemn aura as he provided support to the families of the victims of the tragedy, some of which he met with privately.
Prince William was accompanied by Prime Minister Theresa May and other spiritual and civil leaders at the multi-faith service in a show of solidarity with the city that has been praised for its resilience and unshaken sense of community. At the center of the service were 22 candles lit to represent the 22 lives lost.
Staged at the Manchester Cathedral, the service had Prince William deliver a Bible passage to warm the hearts of his thousand-strong audience. His words, which focused on the value of unending love, were followed up with performances by the Manchester Survivors Choir, Parrs Wood High School's Harmony Group, and other choirs who sang at the Manchester Together - With One Voice show at Albert Square.
Singing a mix of Ariana Grande covers and classic church hymns that brought tears to the eyes of many watching, the choirs encapsulated Manchester's approach to healing: joyful in spite of trials and positive amidst great sadness. The singer herself sends out her love to those who participated at the commemoration.
thinking of you all today and every day ?? I love you with all of me and am sending you all of the light and warmth I have to offer on this challenging day— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) May 22, 2018
Prince William concluded his visit to Manchester by hanging a hand-written message on the "Tree of Hope," a handmade tower of messages dedicated to everyone affected by the tragic attack. The message read, "To all those affected you will never be forgotten. And to the people of Manchester, my admiration for your display of strength, decency and community in the face of this unparalleled tragedy."
Survivors of the attack, their friends and family, and anyone who felt deeply about the incident shared their agreement with Prince William on social media.
So 1 year ago today I was involved in a devastating and unreal event where so many beautiful lives were lost at my feet???? RIP to those angels????#ManchesterBombing pic.twitter.com/3USTojAF4L— KayleighAustin (@KayleighAustin1) May 22, 2018
Thinking of those who lost there lives today #ManchesterBombing ?? always in our hearts x— Tom Essex (@ItsTomEssex) May 22, 2018
Thinking of everybody how lost their lives one year ago today. #Manchesterbombing pic.twitter.com/dAAaZBVsA3— Charley Boorman (@charleyboorman) May 22, 2018
The bombing took place at the Manchester Arena immediately after an Ariana Grande concert in May last year. A suicide bomber, 22-year-old Salman Abedi, detonated a homemade device at the venue's foyer that injured at least 300 people and killed 22.
Many of those who were hurt or lost their lives were teenagers and children, or their parents who accompanied them to the concert or were waiting to pick up their children. The bomber was believed to have ties with terror group ISIS, and the event is considered to be the worst terror attack that UK had witnessed since the 2005 London underground bombings.
Cover and content image from @kensingtonroyal