Prince William Honors New Zealand's Fallen Soldiers and Terrorism Victims in Emotional Ceremony
William's trip in Auckland began on Anzac Day, the anniversary of the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli during World War I
Prince William is showing his respect for those who lost their lives in New Zealand and in service of the country.
The royal, 36, arrived in the country on Thursday (local time) for the start of a short two-day visit, made on behalf of the Queen and at the request of the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern.
William’s trip in Auckland began on Anzac Day, the anniversary of the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli during World War I which serves as a day to remember the men and women who have served in the two countries’ armed forces.
Upon his arrival, William was welcomed by Ardern and in a very emotional moment, the two greeted each other with a hongi — a traditional Maori greeting where people press their noses and foreheads together.
He then joined the prime minister for a civic service at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, where he wore a navy suit with a matching red and navy striped tie. William also displayed two medals of honor and a red pin on his jacket pocket.
As Auckland’s mayor Phil Goff read the Anzac requiem during the service, William and Ardern sat with other dignitaries and somberly listened. Local church leaders also led prayers for the victims of the recent Christchurch and Sri Lanka terror attacks.
At one point, William got up to place a wreath at the bottom of the monument in honor of all the fallen soldiers, where he stood for a moment to bow his head in respect.
On the decorative wreath, William left a note that read, “We will never forget the sacrifice of the Anzacs. With deep gratitude, William,” according to stuff.co.nz.
He was then followed by Ardern and a number of veterans before there was a flyover of WWI and WWII planes.
The service wrapped up with the playing of the Australian and New Zealand national anthems and “God Save the Queen” before William left alongside Ardern and the group of dignitaries.
Shortly after the ceremony, Kensington Palace tweeted about William being in New Zealand on behalf of the Queen.
“On #AnzacDay The Duke of Cambridge attended the Civic Service at @AucklandMuseum in New Zealand, as we remember the servicemen and women of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who have served their nation in times of war. #LestWeForget” the tweet read.
Later on Thursday, William flew into Christchurch — the New Zealand city where the mosques terrorist attack occurred back in March.
He arrived just after 3:30 p.m. local time alongside Ardern and greeted a line of officials waiting for him outside of his private plane. The royal then hopped into a car and headed to the Justice and Emergency Services Precinct.
While there, William spoke to police, who briefed him on their response to the March tragedy that killed 50 people. As he engaged with the locals inside, a crowd of people waited outside of the precinct in hopes to catch a glimpse of the Duke of Cambridge.
On Friday, the prince is scheduled to do a brief walkabout and meet members of the public. He will also spend time meeting the survivors of the Christchurch terrorist attack, along with their families, first responders, and Muslim community leaders.
In the wake of the mass shooting tragedy in New Zealand that left 50 dead, Kensington Palace issued a joint statement on behalf of William, Kate, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry where the royal couples referred to the “senseless attacks” as a “horrifying assault on a way of life that embodies decency, community, and friendship.”
Meghan and Harry made a surprise visit to New Zealand House in London a few days after the attack to sign a book of condolences for the victims.
Meghan wrote: “Our deepest condolences. We are with you.” Harry signed his name with “Arohanui,” which is Maori for “best wishes.”