Queen Elizabeth and Prince William Mourn Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Following Assassination

The Queen said she had "fond memories" of meeting Shinzo Abe and his wife during their 2016 visit to the U.K.

Shinzo Abe, Queen Elizabeth
Shinzo Abe and Queen Elizabeth. Photo: DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty; JANE BARLOW/POOL/AFP via Getty

Queen Elizabeth shared a message of condolences mourning former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who died after sustaining gunshot wounds during a campaign speech on Friday.

"My family and I were deeply saddened to hear the news of the sudden and tragic death of former Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe," the monarch said in the statement released by her office at Buckingham Palace. "I have fond memories of meeting Mr. Abe and his wife during their visit to the United Kingdom in 2016. His love for Japan, and his desire to forge ever-closer bonds with the United Kingdom, were clear."

The Queen, 96, added, "I wish to convey my deepest sympathy and condolences to his family and to the people of Japan at this difficult time."

The note was signed "Elizabeth R.," the monarch's standard signature (the "R" stands for "regina," which means "queen.")

Queen Elizabeth II greets the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and wife Akie
Shinzo Abe and Queen Elizabeth. John Stillwell - WPA Pool /Getty

Prince William also shared a personal tweet remembering Abe as a "true statesman and committed leader."

"I'm deeply saddened to learn of the death of Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe," he said. "A true statesman and committed leader. I won't forget the warmth and generosity he extended to me during my visit to Japan in 2015. My thoughts are with his family and the people of Japan."

The note was signed with his first initial, indicating the personal nature of the message.

Prince William and Japan' Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Yomiuri Shimbun/AP Images

Prince Charles is the most recent member of the royal family to meet with Abe. The two men were together at the 2019 festivities surrounding the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with Britain's Prince Charles
Prince Charles and Shinzo Abe. Kyodo via AP Images

According to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in Tokyo, Abe was shot in the right side of his neck at around 11:30 a.m. local time while speaking at a campaign rally ahead of Japan's Upper House elections on Sunday, Japan's public media organization NHK, reported.

He then collapsed and was immediately rushed to Nara Medical University for treatment, the outlet said.

CNN reported that a team of 20 medical professionals immediately began treating him. Doctors at Nara Medical University said Abe was struck by a bullet "deep enough to reach his heart" at the press conference Friday, but surgeons had found it impossible to stem the bleeding.

Police arrested Yamagami Tetsuya in connection with the attack, NHK confirmed.

Abe, 67, held the title of prime minister from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020, having also served as president of the Liberal Democratic Party for the latter time.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) hosts a private audience with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and his wife Akie
Akie Abe, Shinzo Abe and Queen Elizabeth. JOHN STILLWELL/AFP via Getty

British Prime Minister Boris Johnsonwho resigned from 10 Downing Street on Thursday — said in a tweet that he was "Utterly appalled and saddened to hear about the despicable attack on Shinzo Abe. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones."

"Incredibly sad news about Shinzo Abe. His global leadership through unchartered times will be remembered by many," Johnson wrote. "My thoughts are with his family, friends and the Japanese people. The U.K. stands with you at this dark and sad time."

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