Queen hears Westminster Bridge attack stories at opening of new Met Police HQ
An officer told her Pc Keith Palmer, stabbed to death by the terrorist, was his best friend.
The Queen heard first-hand how officers dealt with the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack when she opened the new multimillion-pound headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service.
Pc Shaun Cartwright told the Queen his experiences of the day and said Pc Keith Palmer, stabbed to death by the terrorist who had mowed down pedestrians on the bridge, was his best friend.
The officer, who has been with the Met Police for almost 30 years, had been due to relieve Pc Palmer of his duties at the Palace of Westminster when another officer raised the alarm.
He reflected on the day after briefly chatting to the Queen as she toured the New Scotland Yard building and said: “I sometimes wonder if I’d got there five minutes earlier, I might have been able to help.
“I explained to the Queen, Keith was also my friend and not just someone I worked with and I miss him dearly – he was my best friend for 10 years.”
The official launch of New Scotland Yard was due to take place on March 23 but was postponed following the Westminster Bridge attack the day before.
Three people died when Kent-born Khalid Masood drove a car into unsuspecting pedestrians on the bridge, before fatally stabbing Pc Palmer, 48, in the Palace of Westminster’s forecourt.
A fourth pedestrian knocked into the River Thames died more than two weeks later.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were greeted by the sight of two police horses and two historic police cars when they arrived at the £81.9 million Curtis Green building on Victoria Embankment.
On display was a former patrol car – a Rover SD1 V8 automatic from 1983 – believed to be the only surviving vehicle of its type, and a Morris Minor 1000 from 1969 which was used as a supervisor’s car to check on local beat officers.
The royal couple were welcomed by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick and Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey.
The former Met Police building has been sold to an investment company for £370 million.