Shooting victim’s sweet encounter with Prince William. Picture: Kensington Palace
Shooting victim’s sweet encounter with Prince William. Picture: Kensington Palace

William’s heartfelt words about grief

Prince William has spoken of grief and defeating hate with love as he addressed Christchurch's Muslim community in one of the city's mosques.

"I do not believe grief changes who you are. Grief - if you let it - will reveal who you are," the Duke of Cambridge on Friday told those gathered at the Masjid Al Noor, where 42 of the March 15 attack's victims were killed.

"In a moment of acute pain, you stood up and stood together."

During the heartfelt speech this morning he called for extremism of all forms to be defeated and praised the compassionate approach the community, country and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had taken in the aftermath of the shootings.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge arrives at Al Noor Mosque. Picture: Hannah Peters/Getty Images
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge arrives at Al Noor Mosque. Picture: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

"You showed the way we must respond to hate: with love," he said.

"I stand with you in gratitude to what you have taught the world in these past weeks. I stand with you in optimism."

Joined by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the Duke of Cambridge was greeted by imam Gamal Fouda at the Masjid Al Noor.

This morning and yesterday William paid a visit to different hospitals to meet the survivors of the attacks.

Between public engagements on Thursday, he met a five-year-old girl in Auckland who was critically injured in the shooting and recently woke from a coma.

Alen Alsati was shot multiple times during the attack and when she woke from the coma earlier this month she was unable to see, speak or eat by herself.

Before arriving in Christchurch, William met four-year-old Alen Alsati at Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland. Picture: Kensington Palace
Before arriving in Christchurch, William met four-year-old Alen Alsati at Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland. Picture: Kensington Palace

With the help of staff at Auckland's Starship Children's Hospital she has started to make small steps towards recovery.

A video tweeted by the palace shows William at the child's bedside, with Alen quizzing the prince about his family.

"Do you have a daughter?" she asked.

"Yes I do," said William. "She's called Charlotte - she's about the same age as you."

William also met with Alen's father, Wasseim, who was transferred to Auckland from Christchurch while still wounded to be by his daughter's side.

The second day of the Prince's sombre and low-key visit to New Zealand began with an appearance at Christchurch Hospital, where a five of those injured in the attack are still in care.

He spoke briefly with senior doctors, nurses and hospital officials as they led him in.

With New Zealand still on alert, security during the visit has been tight, with little of the fanfare that usually accompanies royal visits.

William laid a wreath as he attended the ANZAC Day Civic Service at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Picture: Phil Walter/Getty Images
William laid a wreath as he attended the ANZAC Day Civic Service at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Picture: Phil Walter/Getty Images

 

Jacinda Ardern greeted the prince with a Hongi, a traditional Maori greeting. Picture: Mark Tantrum/The New Zealand Government via Getty Images
Jacinda Ardern greeted the prince with a Hongi, a traditional Maori greeting. Picture: Mark Tantrum/The New Zealand Government via Getty Images

However, organisers have promised Christchurch residents a chance to meet William during a public walkabout this afternoon.

William's first day in New Zealand began with a tribute to Australian and New Zealand soldiers at an Anzac Day service in Auckland, alongside Ms Ardern, who earlier greeted him with a hongi, a traditional Maori welcome that involves the pressing together of noses.

He also met police and ambulance staff in Christchurch, some of whom were the first on the scene after the shootings.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush told reporters William had left staff "overwhelmed" with his messages of support.


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