"The appalling events in Christchurch have affected me deeply," are the first words of Queen Elizabeth II's statement. The British monarch is reacting to the attacks on two New Zealand mosques on Friday night, in which a total of 49 people were killed and many more injured. Her thoughts and prayers, along with those of her husband Prince Philip, are with the families and friends of those who have lost their lives at this tragic time. Since 1986 New Zealand has had a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.
William, Kate, Harry and Meghan join forces
Prince William and Duchess Kate as well as Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan are no strangers to New Zealand. They have all been "lucky enough to spend time in Christchurch" in the past few years. In their joint statement, they like to remember "the warm, open-minded and generous spirit" that the people there would carry in their hearts. The four condemned the attacks on the places of worship as "senseless" and "an offense to the people of Christchurch, New Zealand and the broader Muslim community".
"No one should ever have to be afraid to visit a holy place of worship," continued their official message, which was also published on Twitter. They are all certain "that the people of New Zealand will unite from this devastation and deep sadness to show that this evil can never defeat compassion and tolerance". Her statement ends with the words "Kia Kaha", a Maori expression meaning "Stay strong".
In addition to Queen Elizabeth II and the young royal generation, Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla also spoke out about what they saw as "barbaric attacks". They condemn the act as "appalling cruelty" that affects not only the people of New Zealand. Instead, it is an attack on all "those who value religious freedom, tolerance, compassion and community". Nevertheless, the heir to the throne is certain: "The people of New Zealand will never let hatred and division win over these things."