'Britain at Its Best': Prince Charles and Camilla Meet with Terror Victims and Heroes
"Everybody seemed to work together as a team," Camilla said during a hospital visit Tuesday
While touring the Metropolitan Police’s special operations room, the royals met a police officer who tried to save Canadian victim Christine Archibald as she lay dying on London Bridge.
Police Constable Liam Dolphin told Charles and Camilla how he gave Archibald CPR – and later hugged her distraught fiancé Tyler Ferguson after he learned she had died.
Dolphin, who was among a group of officers at the royal visit, said he believed he and his colleague Steven Morgan were the first officers on the scene, arriving within 90 seconds of the first emergency call.
They thought they would be turning up to a traffic accident.
But when Dolphin reached the scene he found members of the public trying to help the Canadian charity worker, who had been hit by the van on the bridge. “I was giving her CPR,” he said. “I left her when the medics came.”
When he came across her fiancé Tyler Ferguson among the walking wounded, “he was quite distressed,” the police officer added. “He told me she had been pronounced dead. I was just hugging him for a while. He had a bit of a difficult time.”
The royal couple also met officers from British Transport Police who told how they went to the aid of a colleague who was stabbed in the eye by the attackers.
“We thought we were going to a fight,” said Police Constable Leon McLeod. But as they started treating the wounded on the bridge, “the naughty guys came back” and the officers started fighting the terrorists, he told reporters.
It was during that confrontation that a BTP officer was stabbed in the eye.
“I could see blood was coming out of his face, near the eye. But I couldn’t see where,” said Police Constable Alfred Iswa who arrived at the scene.
McLeod chased after the attackers and Iswa, who stayed behind looking after the injured officer, said, “I was trying to help him and he pointed his baton towards the attacker and said, ‘Get him.’ Even when injured he was trying to fight.”
McLeod said the severity of the incident never really sank in, “not even when the bullets started going.”
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The period from the first call to the shooting of the terrorists “felt like forever,” he said. But when he checked the time, he realized it had only been eight minutes. “I thought, ‘Is that it?’ ”
Later, Charles and Camilla headed to the Royal London Hospital to meet injured patients and staff who have been treating them since Saturday. They met some of the six patients who underwent surgery after being brought into the hospital and are now recovering in the Adult Critical Care Unit.
Camilla, 69, hailed the public’s response to the attacks as “Britain at its best” as she heard how passersby sat on the bridge with injured victims, keeping them talking to avoid losing consciousness, while doctors and ambulance workers treated them.
“Everybody seemed to work together as a team. It’s Britain at its best, isn’t it?” she said. “There doesn’t seem to be any panic. Everybody gets on and does their job.”
Twelve patients were admitted after Saturday night’s rampage. “They were in very, very, very good hands — the best possible hands they could be in,” Camilla added.
Charles, 68, told doctors, nurses, and other staff: “I have so much admiration for all you are doing. It’s a fantastic team.”
Among those the victims they met at the hospital: hero Geoff Ho, the business editor of the Sunday Express, who is a martial arts expert. He was stabbed in the neck after taking on one of the assailants in an effort to protect a bouncer at the Southwark Tavern in Borough Market.
After their meeting, Camilla told reporters, “The man from the Express was just so very brave. I asked him how he was and he seemed very positive but he couldn’t really speak because of his injuries.”
Earlier, Britain fell silent for a minute at 11 a.m. as people around the country paid tribute to those who died or were injured in the attacks. Clocks chimed and emergency service workers stood with heads bowed as public buildings continued with flying flags at half-staff on Tuesday.