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Prince William reflects on loss of mother Diana during visit to Christchurch massacre sites

Prince William has reflected on the loss of his mother Diana in a visit with survivors of the Christchurch mosque shootings today, saying grief ‘will reveal depths you did not know you had.’ 

He made the emotional speech on the second day of his trip to New Zealand which included a visit to the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, where 42 people lost their lives on March 15.

While there he reflected on his own grief and loss following the death of his mother in 1997, saying: ‘I’ve had reason myself to reflect on grief, sudden pain and loss in my own life.

‘What I’ve realised is that of course grief can change your outlook, you don’t forget the shock and sadness or pain, but I do not believe grief changes who you are.’

The Duke of Cambridge, who rarely speaks about his mother’s death, revealed just how much of an impact the loss had on him, occurring when he was just 15 years of age.  

He said: ‘Grief, if you let it, will reveal who you are. It can reveal depths you did not know you had.

‘This is what happened here. An act of violence was designed to change New Zealand, but instead the grief of a nation revealed just how deep your wells of empathy, compassion, warmth and love truly run.’ 

Prince William spoke of the loss of his mother Diana during a visit to the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand today

The Duke of Cambridge meets a young Muslim community member and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (second-right), during a visit to the Al Noor mosque today

The Duke of Cambridge meets a young Muslim community member and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (second-right), during a visit to the Al Noor mosque today

Prince William (pictured with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern) has met with survivors of the Christchurch mosque shootings ahead of speaking with the city's Muslim community

Prince William (pictured with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern) has met with survivors of the Christchurch mosque shootings ahead of speaking with the city’s Muslim community

Britain's Prince William is greeted by Imam Gamal Fouda at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch

Britain’s Prince William is greeted by Imam Gamal Fouda at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch

The Duke of Cambridge gave a moving speech inside the mosque, saying 'we must unite' to combat extremism

The Duke of Cambridge gave a moving speech inside the mosque, saying ‘we must unite’ to combat extremism

Canterbury District Commander John Price holds hands with Mushabab Saad Aiban as they wait for Britain's Prince William to arrive at the Al Noor mosque

Canterbury District Commander John Price holds hands with Mushabab Saad Aiban as they wait for Britain’s Prince William to arrive at the Al Noor mosque

William was greeted by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as he arrived at the mosque, who was wearing a cream headscarf.

He gave a moving speech inside the mosque, saying ‘we must unite’ to combat extremism. ‘You showed the way we must respond to hate – with love,’ he said.  

‘I stand with you in gratitude to what you have taught the world in these past weeks.

‘I stand with you in optimism… I stand with you in grief. I will support those who survive. 

‘May the forces of love always prevail over the forces of hate.

‘In a moment of acute pain you stood up and you stood together and in reaction to tragedy you achieved something remarkable.

‘I do not believe grief changes who you are. Grief – if you let it – will reveal who you are.’

The Duke also praised Ms Ardern’s response, saying she had led by example and shown sympathy to those affected by the shootings. 

A pile of tributes and flowers that have been building up since the attack adorned the mosque’s gates, while heavily-armed police stand guard and a crowd of a few dozen gathered across the road. 

Farid Ahmed’s wife Husna died in the attacks, and he spoke before William.

Prince William met with survivors of the Christchurch mosque shootings ahead of speaking with the city's Muslim community

Prince William met with survivors of the Christchurch mosque shootings ahead of speaking with the city’s Muslim community

He gave a moving speech inside the Al Noor mosque, saying ‘we must unite’ to combat extremism

William was greeted by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (right), who was wearing a cream headscarf, outside the Al Noor mosque

William was greeted by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (right), who was wearing a cream headscarf, outside the Al Noor mosque

He said those present needed to ‘keep up hope and not surrender to hatred’. 

A man in the crowd at the mosque greeted William with a cry of ‘kia ora’, which is ‘hello’ in the Maori language, the New Zealand Herald reported. 

Al Noor mosque Imam Gamel Fouda, Ms Ardern, MP Megan Woods and Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel welcomed the Duke at the mosque.

He shook hands with senior members of the city’s Muslim community and spoke briefly with a young boy wearing a poppy. 

Prince William waved to the crowd as he left the mosque following his speech. 

A group of Mongrel Mob bikie gang members were seen talking with police near the mosque during Prince William’s visit. 

Earlier, the Duke was also greeted by cheers from about 30 members of the public waiting outside the hospital’s emergency department, Stuff reported.

Prince William has met with survivors of the Christchurch mosque shootings and spoken to the city’s Muslim community

The second day of the Duke of Cambridge's trip to New Zealand included a visit to Christchurch Hospital

The second day of the Duke of Cambridge’s trip to New Zealand included a visit to Christchurch Hospital

He will also travel to the Al Noor and Linwood mosques - the sites of the terror attacks

He will also travel to the Al Noor and Linwood mosques – the sites of the terror attacks

He was met outside by Canterbury Health Board chairman Dr John Wood, the hospital’s director of surgery Greg Robertson, general manager Pauline Clark and nursing director Lynne Johnson. 

About 10 police officers were present on William’s arrival at the hospital, and a police helicopter circled overhead. 

Members of the bomb squad checked the outside area of the hospital for explosives before William arrived.

William also made a hospital visit on Thursday, meeting a five-year-old girl in Auckland who was injured in the terrorist attack and recently woke from a coma. 

With New Zealand still on alert, security during the visit has been tight, with little of the fanfare that usually accompanies royal visits.

However, organisers have promised Christchurch residents a chance to meet William during a public walkabout on Friday afternoon.

Members of the bomb squad checked the outside area of the hospital for explosives before William's arrival

Members of the bomb squad checked the outside area of the hospital for explosives before William’s arrival

About 10 police officers were present on William's arrival at the hospital, and a police helicopter circled overhead

About 10 police officers were present on William’s arrival at the hospital, and a police helicopter circled overhead

The Duke’s first day in New Zealand began with a tribute to Australian and New Zealand soldiers at an Anzac Day service in Auckland, alongside Ms Ardern.

He also met police and ambulance staff in Christchurch, some of whom were the first on the scene after the shootings.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush told reporters William had left staff ‘overwhelmed’ with his messages of support.

The Prince previously visited Christchurch following the deadly 2011 earthquake and last visited with wife Catherine, who hasn’t joined him this week, in 2014.

A large crowd gathered outside the Al Noor mosque ahead of William’s visit.

A large crowd has gathered outside the Al Noor mosque ahead of William's visit

A large crowd has gathered outside the Al Noor mosque ahead of William’s visit

About 10 heavily armed police officers are standing at the entrance to the building

About 10 heavily armed police officers are standing at the entrance to the building

At the mosque, William and the crowd of about 160 people will be addressed by Fahid Ahmed, a survivor of the March 15 attacks

At the mosque, William and the crowd of about 160 people will be addressed by Fahid Ahmed, a survivor of the March 15 attacks

About 10 heavily armed police officers are standing at the entrance to the building.

At the mosque, William and the crowd of about 160 people will be addressed by Fahid Ahmed, a survivor of the March 15 attacks.

William is then expected to give a 10-minute speech.

Ms Ardern arrived at the Al Noor Mosque on Friday morning wearing a cream headscarf. 

The Duke waved to a crowd of about 60 people as he left Christchurch Hospital. 

William also made a hospital visit on Thursday, meeting a five-year-old girl in Auckland who was injured in the terrorist attack and recently woke from a coma

William also made a hospital visit on Thursday, meeting a five-year-old girl in Auckland who was injured in the terrorist attack and recently woke from a coma

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wore a headscarf as she joined William in speaking with those recovering

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wore a headscarf as she joined William in speaking with those recovering

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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