In an unannounced tour of the area, the Queen, 91, and her grandson, 34, went to the Westway Sports Centre close to the tower where authorities now say 30 people died in Wednesday’s fire. That figure is likely to rise, police say. The BBC has reported that there could be as many as 76 people missing.
The venue has been a focal point for efforts to support those affected by the fire which engulfed the apartment tower in a matter of minutes.
The royals met with first responders from the Emergency Services, as well as local residents and community representatives. William described it as “one of the most terrible things I have ever seen,” according to the Daily Mail.
On Thursday, the Queen and husband Prince Philip expressed sympathy to the families of the those who lost their lives, in a statement signed “Elizabeth R.”
“My thoughts and prayers are with those families who have lost loved ones in the Grenfell Tower fire and the many people who are still critically ill in hospital,” the monarch said. “Prince Philip and I would like to pay tribute to the bravery of firefighters and other emergency services officers who put their own lives at risk to save others.”
“It is also heartening to see the incredible generosity of community volunteers rallying to help those affected by this terrible event,” the Queen continued.
“The tragedy at Grenfell Tower has left a number of local people in need of urgent assistance,” a spokesman for the three royals at Kensington Palace said. “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are pleased the Evening Standard’s Dispossessed Fund has immediately swung into action. As residents of the local area they are keen to offer their immediate support.”
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Meanwhile, at an event honoring young people’s writing held by BBC Radio 2 at the Tower of London, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall led a tribute to the victims.
Speaking live on the radio before she handed out gold awards in the 500 words contest, Camilla said, “I’m sure all of you here today would like to join me in sending our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the victims, their families and friends, who were so tragically involved in the horrific fire in North Kensington.”
She was speaking as she took her place as Honorary judge in the annual competition that works to encourage literacy and a love of writing and reading stories.