After expressing her shock following the “act of barbarity” that claimed the lives of 22 victims at the Ariana Grande concert, Queen Elizabeth stepped out on Wednesday in a show of strength to mark a special anniversary.
The Queen and husband Prince Philip attended a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Order of the British Empire. The Queen is the sovereign of the Order of the British Empire and Philip is the Grand Master.
Almost 2,000 holders of the Order’s awards, from Knights and Dames to those who have received a CBE, OBE or MBE, attended the service at St Paul’s Cathedral.
King George V established the Order in 1917 to reward outstanding contributions during WWI. Today, it recognizes people’s contributions to the arts, science, charity and public service.
On Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth released a statement following the attack.
“The whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury in Manchester last night of so many people, adults and children, who had just been enjoying a concert,” she said. “I know I speak for everyone in expressing my deepest sympathy to all who have been affected by this dreadful event and especially to the families and friends of those who have died or were injured.”
And she praised those who rushed to help. “I want to thank all the members of the emergency services, who have responded with such professionalism and care,” her statement added. “And I would like to express my admiration for the way the people of Manchester have responded, with humanity and compassion, to this act of barbarity.”
The Queen and her family held a minute of silence at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday for the victims of the Manchester bomb attack.
They joined 8,000 guests at a palace garden party in standing silent in honor of the 22 dead and 59 injured at the Manchester Arena on Monday night.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said Tuesday that the country’s terror threat level was rising from “severe” to “critical.”
The move came less than 24 hours after a suicide bombing outside Manchester Arena at the end of an Ariana Grande performance killed 22 people and hospitalized 59 others, including multiple children and teenagers.
The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle was also been cancelled Wednesday, so that police and soldiers can be deployed elsewhere during the crisis.