Charles and Camilla visit site of Manchester atrocity
Twenty-two people were killed in the attack on May 22 by suicide bomber Salman Abedi.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have visited some of the Arena staff on duty on the night of the Manchester bombing and praised their response to the horror suicide attack.
Both royals stood in the half light of the foyer area at the Arena, its glass panels above blown out, to view the spot where carnage unfolded on May 22.
They stood in silence as they were shown the spot on the tiled floor, now deeply pock-marked, where Salman Abedi detonated his suicide bomb killing 22 people at the end of the Ariana Grande concert on May 22.
They spent around 10 minutes in the foyer, as Bob Gallagher, forensic manager for the North West Counter Terrorism Unit talked them through what had happened.
Yards away gaping, ragged round holes made by flying shrapnel of nuts and bolts still marked the walls and exit doors and huge re-enforced glass panels, shattered from the blast, have been replaced by wooden hoardings.
No cameras were allowed inside the area for the royal visit, as it is still being treated as a crime scene.
Later the royal visitors met medical and crowd management staff employed by the Arena, to speak to them about their experiences on the night.
Charles and Camilla both listened intently as they asked about what had confronted the people working that night and how they had coped since the bombing.
Many of the 22 killed were children along with more than 100 people injured, many critically.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall meet staff who were first on scene immediately after the Manchester terror attack. pic.twitter.com/cTJj4cRNJN— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) June 26, 2017
Both royals spoke to the medical staff, who have other full-time jobs or are students, some as young as 18, who were working that night and first on the scene before 999 responders. None wanted to be named.
One woman in the medical control room was watching the arena on a laptop and saw the bomb explode, she told the Duchess.
One medic told her: “Nobody knew what was going to happen next. If there was another bomb. You can prepare on paper but…
“We heard the bang and saw the smoke. We knew where we needed to go and head to where it came from. We knew deep down what had happened immediately.”
Camilla told them: “It is important to talk to each other afterwards. I think you are all incredible. It must have been incredibly difficult for you. People have got a lot to thank you for. You did a fantastic job you should be proud of yourselves.”
Later the royals visited Manchester Town Hall, where Camilla had a private meeting with Freya Lewis, 14, who was badly injured in the bombing and is still recovering, along with her parents, Nick and Alison.
Charles also hosted a roundtable discussion with Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and other community leaders and young people about the impact of the recent terror attack and how the city united in the immediate aftermath.
Later the royal couple met medical staff from hospitals who dealt with the emergency response and gave fulsome praise to Manchester for the way it has dealt with the aftermath.
Charles said: “No-one should have to suffer the losses which you have endured; yet no-one, surely, could have endured them with greater fortitude.
“In the aftermath, we have watched with mounting admiration as those of all faiths and none have refused bitterness, and embraced belonging.
“In all this, Manchester is an example to the world.