Kate Middleton paid tribute to Manchester today as she wore earrings with the city’s bee emblem teamed with grey Michael Kors coat she first wore in 2014 as she and Prince William visited the Glade of Light memorial to honour terror attack victims.
The Duke, 39, and Duchess of Cambridge, 40, were sombre as they arrived at the structure, which is a white marble ‘halo’ bearing the names of those killed in the attack, alongside Manchester Cathedral today.
Families of those who lost loved ones in the May 2017 atrocity have been able to make personalised memory capsules, containing mementos and messages embedded inside the halo of the ‘Glade of Light’ memorial.
The Duke and Duchess attended the service taking place alongside the memorial where Prince William went on to make a short speech, in which he spoke of his own grief for his mother, Princess Diana.
Prince William said: ‘As someone who lives with his own grief, I also know that what often matters most to the bereaved is that those we have lost are not forgotten. There is comfort in remembering. In acknowledging that, while taken horribly soon, they lived. They changed our lives. They were loved, and they are loved. It is why memorials such as the Glade of Light are so important. Why Catherine and I so wanted to be amongst you today.’
The royal couple then took a short walk around the memorial garden, where Kate lay a bouquet of white and blue flowers.
Prince William and Kate went on to join a private reception inside Manchester Cathedral, where they spoke with some of the bereaved families and those involved in the response effort.
Hundreds of people were injured alongside the 22 who died, who included six children under 16, the youngest aged just eight, in the attack by suicide bomber Salman Abedi at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.
Kate Middleton, 40, joined Prince William, 39, in Manchester today as they attended the official opening of the Glade of Light Memorial to commemorate the victims of the 2017 terrorist attack
The Duchess of Cambridge ent on to lay a bouquet of white and blue flowers during the memorial service earlier this afternoon
During the visit to Manchester today, the Duke of Cambridge made a short speech to the families of the victims who had died in the suicide bomb attack in May 2017
During the speech, the royal father-of-three spoke of living with his own grief, and said he found a ‘comfort in remembering’ those who have died
Meanwhile in a touching nod to the city, the Duchess opted to wear a set of dangling earrings which featured a bee, the emblem of Manchester (pictured)
The Glade of Light memorial site, which the couple are visiting today, was created to provide a ‘tranquil place’ of ‘remembrance and reflection’ for families and friends of those who tragically lost their lives
The tribute is conceived as a living memorial – a peaceful garden space for remembrance and reflection, featuring plants which grow naturally in the UK countryside and have been selected to provide year-round colour and echo the changing seasons
The Duchess was elegant for the occasion, rewearing an old Michael Kors coat dress for the occasion, which she paired with navy accessories.
She first wore the coat dress during her first royal tour of Australia in 2014 but has since gone on to wear it on a number of occasions.
The mother-of-three also opted for the outfit when she opened the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace on May 4, 2016.
Kate wore the outfit for a third time when she joined members of the Royal family including William, Harry, and the Queen to unveil a war memorial in Victoria Embankment Gardens in 2017.
The Duchess was elegant for the occasion, rewearing an old Michael Kors coat dress for the occasion, which she paired with navy accessories
The Duchess, who attended a reception to meet bereaved families after the memorial, could be seen carrying a bouquet of flowers (left and right)
The Duchess also wore a pink wristband during the outing today, which featured the words ‘We choose love’ on it in black font
The Duchess waved to crowds of people as she and the Duke left the memorial service earlier this afternoon
Members of the public were desperate to catch a glimpse of the Duke and Duchess outside Manchester Cathedral this afternoon
The Duke and Duchess attended the event at the Cathedral where they met families of the victims before leaving Manchester
The couple appeared in good spirits following the memorial service earlier this afternoon, before leaving Manchester
Prince William and Kate went on to join a private reception inside Manchester Cathedral, where they spoke with some of the bereaved families and those involved in the response effort
After leaving the reception, the Duchess crouched down to chat with one young boy Scout who presented her with a bouquet of flowers (left and right)
The memorial designer Andy Thomson, left, and the chief executive of Manchester City Council Joanne Roney, right, showed Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate around as they attend the launch of the Glade of Light Memorial garden
Both the Duke and Duchess appeared sombre as they observed the flowers laid at the Glade of Light memorial in Manchester earlier today (left and right)
The Duchess carefully laid her flowers down onto a platform at the memorial earlier today as she and Prince William remembered the victims of the attack
The mother-of-three laid a bouquet of white and blue flowers onto a plinth at the Glade of Light memorial in Manchester
Following Prince William’s speech, Kate carried a large bouquet of white and blue flowers to place on at the memorial while the Duke watched on (left and right)
During a brief speech, the Duke remembered visiting Manchester in the weeks after the terror attack, recalling the ‘shock and grief’ of those whom he met
Meanwhile in a touching nod to the city, she also opted to wear a set of dangling earrings which featured a bee, the emblem of Manchester.
The bee, which was added to Manchester’s coat of arms in the mid 19th century and represents the industrial heritage of the region, has been used as a symbol of strength following the Manchester Arena attack in May 2017.
The Duchess wore her long brunette locks down for the occasion, sweeping them behind her ear to reveal her poignant choice of earrings.
Meanwhile she kept her makeup muted for the outing, pairing a sweep of eyeliner with a nude lipstick.
Later today, the royal couple will then join a private reception inside Manchester Cathedral to speak to some of the bereaved families and those involved in the response effort
The royal couple appeared to share a smile with members of Manchester Cathedral’s clergy as they arrived at the memorial earlier today (left and right)
The Duchess beamed as she spoke with members of the clergy ahead of the official opening of the memorial earlier this afternoon
The Duke and Duchess smiled as they spoke with members of the public ahead of the memorial service and official opening of the structure today
The moment the Duke of Cambridge spoke of his own grief for his mother Princess Diana during poignant speech in Manchester
Thank you Joanne. For Catherine and I, it is very important that we are with you here, today. To remember the twenty-two lives so brutally taken. To acknowledge the hundreds of lives that were irrevocably changed and to pay tribute to the resilience of this great City.
I remember only too well the shock and grief on the faces of those I met when I visited Manchester in the days following the atrocity. And the rawness of emotion at the Commemoration Service, held at your Cathedral just here, a year later. Five years on I know that the pain and the trauma felt by many, has not gone away.
As someone who lives with his own grief, I also know that what often matters most to the bereaved is that those we have lost are not forgotten. There is comfort in remembering. In acknowledging that, while taken horribly soon, they lived. They changed our lives. They were loved, and they are loved. It is why memorials such as the Glade of Light are so important. Why Catherine and I so wanted to be amongst you today.
A memorial is a physical statement that the memory of those who died lives on. It is a focal point for commemoration and reflection. A place of solace for the families, the injured and all those affected. A place for Mancunians and visitors alike to acknowledge what the City went through. It is a counter to the violence and hateful disregard for human life that caused this tragedy.
I hope that this beautiful, tranquil space which, for all the challenges, I know many of you were involved in shaping, will provide all of this and more for generations to come.
Catherine and I know that the atrocity’s impact will last a lifetime and beyond, and that the healing process is still on-going. We want to assure all of you who are struggling that you are very much in our thoughts. We stand with you as you continue on that difficult journey.
Alongside the bereaved, I also want to acknowledge all the lives changed that day. The injured, physically and mentally. The First Responders. NHS Staff. Those who were in or around the vicinity of the Arena, and who provided care and first aid. And we remember the entirety of the Manchester community who responded in the most heart-warming and life-affirming ways possible to support those affected. This was an attack on an evening of music. And it occurred in a city that has given the world so many songs to sing.
When the people of Manchester gathered to pay respect to the victims just days after the atrocity, you told the world that your music would not be silenced. Instead, you raised your voices together and you sang a song of love that was written by some of this city’s most famous sons. On that day you told each other that you would not look back in anger. And you showed the world the true heart of this extraordinary place.
So, when we come to this memorial let’s look back with love for those we lost. Let’s look back with love for the people who cared for and protected this community. And let’s look back with love for the ongoing strength of the great city of Manchester.
The Duke gave an emotional speech at the memorial, in which he spoke of previously visiting the city of Manchester and seeing the ‘shock and grief’ following the terror attack.
How the ‘worker bee’ symbol became synonymous with Manchester
The bees symbolise the workers of Manchester during the industrial revolution, when the city’s hundreds of mills thrived.
Workers were often compared to busy bees in their hives as the city churned out mass production of cotton and other materials.
Now, the insects represent the hard work and togetherness of the city’s residents – qualities that were particularly apt in the wake of the devastating tragedy.
Taxi drivers offered free lifts in the aftermath of the deadly blast, hotels opened their doors to anyone trapped and emergency service personnel are still offered refreshments as they carry on their work.
The city was united in grief across a number of emotional vigils that saw thousands turn out to pay their respects.
Examples of the bee can be found on many Manchester landmarks, such as a bee-tiled mosaic floor at Manchester Town Hall, bee notches for each hour on the clock face at the Palace, as well as engravings above Lloyds bank and Links of London.
They are also commonly found on bins and, planters and and bollards.
In the wake of the terrorist attack, hundreds of Mancunians queued up to to get their city’s symbolic worker bee tattooed on them.
The city’s coat of arms, which dates back to 1842, even has seven bees buzzing around on it.
Manchester Art Gallery, the city’s cathedral and the Printworks all have produce their own honey from rooftop hives.
Some mill owners even named their buildings ‘Beehive Mills’.
Prince William also urged attendees of the memorial to ‘look back with love’ at those ‘we have lost’ as well as ‘those who cared for the community.’
The Duchess went on to lay a bouquet of flowers, appearing emotional as she brushed hair from her hair, while her husband watched on.
The Glade of Light memorial site was created to provide a ‘tranquil place’ of ‘remembrance and reflection’ for families and friends of those who tragically lost their lives.
The tribute is conceived as a living memorial – a peaceful garden space for remembrance and reflection, featuring plants which grow naturally in the UK countryside and have been selected to provide year-round colour and echo the changing seasons.
Around the anniversary every year, May 22, the white flowers of a hawthorn tree planted at its centre will bloom.
The site initially was opened to the public in January, when Figen Murray, mother of Martyn Hett, who was killed in the attack, said it ‘would be right up his street’ and that her son would ‘love’ the people of Manchester to visit it.
Speaking to Sky News at the time, Mrs Murray said: ‘I think a memorial is really important after a huge event like the arena attack because it’s not just important for the people who died and the bereaved families.
‘It’s important for the injured, for the people who have been psychologically damaged and for the people of Manchester because this is such a huge thing that happened in Manchester, it should never be forgotten. It’s also a place for future generations to come and remember, so that they are reminded of what happened that day, it’s part of the city’s history and it’s a really important memorial for that reason, and for all those reasons really.’
Mrs Murray said that she had placed a USB stick, some photographs and ‘a few special items that I am sure he would appreciate’ into the capsule in memory of her son.
Prince William previously paid tribute to the people of Manchester for their ‘strength and togetherness’ nearly a fortnight after the terror attack.
The Duke spent the morning meeting first responders and members of the local community to thank them ‘for their strength, decency and kindness’ after the attack on May 22.
In a book of condolence at the city’s cathedral, the Duke of Cambridge wrote during his visit: ‘Manchester’s strength and togetherness is an example to the world. My thoughts are with all those affected.’
Earlier today, the Duke supported his father Prince Charles as he stepped in for his mother at the 11th hour to read the Queen’s Speech after the 96-year-old monarch was forced to watch the historic moment on TV at Windsor Castle due to ongoing mobility problems.
The heir to the throne, 73, gazed at the crown before he announced 38 of Boris Johnson’s Bills for the coming year including new laws to properly punish eco hooligans, capitalise on Brexit, better regulate landlords and ensure Britons can pay their soaring bills.
Today was a highly symbolic and historic moment for the British monarchy where the Prince of Wales took on his closest role yet to that of king.
He had addressed the House of Lords after the monarch, 96, obeyed doctor’s orders to miss the State Opening of Parliament for the first time in 59 years.
Prince William, who will one day sit on the throne himself, arrived at his first ever State Opening of Parliament around five minutes before his father.
The two future kings were specifically given power to jointly act on Her Majesty’s behalf so that the ceremony could go ahead.
The Duchess, who opted for natural makeup during the outing today, was pensive as she spoke with members of the public ahead of the memorial
The Duke and Duchess were perfectly coordinated in their outfits as they arrived at the memorial service today in Manchester
The royal couple spoke with members of the public and clergy ahead of the official opening of the memorial earlier this afternoon (pictured)
The Duchess was elegant for the occasion, rewearing an older Michael Kors coat dress for the occasion, which she paired with navy accessories
The mother-of-three appeared pensive as she arrived at the memorial this afternoon alongside her husband the Duke, who coordinated with her in a navy suit with a blue tie (left and right)
The Duchess, who is known for her love of thrifty fashion, opted to rewear a grey Michael Kors coat dress for the outing today, which she first wore in 2014
Prince William earlier today attended his first ever State Opening of Parliament alongside his father before setting off to Manchester where he joined his wife (pictured)
The Glade of Light, a memorial to the 22 people murdered in the Manchester Arena terror attack, is to be officially opened by the royal couple today
What happened on the night of the Manchester attack?
Twenty-two people were killed and over a 100 injured when a bomb went off in the foyer of the Manchester Arena on May 22 2017.
Suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated his home-made device at 10.31pm as 14,000 people streamed out at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.
Officers from British Transport Police were on scene one minute later and declared a major incident by 10.39pm.
However, a recent report found that a mix-up between police and the fire and rescue service meant the valuable assistance of fire crews was delayed by two hours and six minutes after the bombing.
Two weeks after the attack, Ariana Grande organised a One Love Manchester benefit concert to support the victims of the bombing.