Saturday 19 August 2017

'Left to die here by all of you' - The Queen heckled as she visits victims of Grenfell Tower tragedy

Lord Lieutenant of greater London Ken Olisa (right) greets Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Cambridge as they arrive to meet members of the community affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower in west London during a visit to the Westway Sports Centre which is providing temporary shelter for those who have been made homeless in the disaster. Picture: David Mirzoeff/PA Wire
Lord Lieutenant of greater London Ken Olisa (right) greets Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Cambridge as they arrive to meet members of the community affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower in west London during a visit to the Westway Sports Centre which is providing temporary shelter for those who have been made homeless in the disaster. Picture: David Mirzoeff/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Britain's Queen Elizabeth was heckled when she visited the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Visiting the site of the tragedy with Prince William, she was initially welcomed by residents.

William said the tragedy was "one of the most terrible things I have ever seen" during the visit to the Westway Sports Centre, where families from Grenfell Tower have found shelter.

The Queen listened to stories about how the community had worked together in the time of tragedy and said their response had "come over very strongly".

During their 45-minute visit, which they made with minimal security, The Queen and William also spoke to members of emergency services and the Red Cross.

Harrowing cries could be heard inside the main hall of the rest centre, where evacuated families and locals have been gathering, as a group consoled one another.

As they left, a man holding a poster of two siblings who have been missing since the fire called out for the William and The Queen to go over.

Please come here,” he begged. Clutching a missing poster for two children, Firdaws and Yahya, Rami Mohamed said he was a friend of their family.

"What about our children," and, "Queen! Come here! We want to see you," could be heard among the cries.

The Queen climbed into a Range Rover as Prince William apologised and promised to return to the Westway centre.

According to reports in the Guardian, Mr Mohamed said they were “left to die in that tower”, adding: “Where was the Queen before this? Where was the government? Where was the media? You only come now! Left to die here by all of you."

William responded that he had to leave, but shouted: "I'll come back, I'll come back."

Britain's Queen Elizabeth meets members of the community affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower in west London during a visit to the Westway Sports Centre which is providing temporary shelter for those who have been made homeless, in north Kensington, West London. REUTERS/Dominic Lipinski/Pool
Britain's Queen Elizabeth meets members of the community affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower in west London during a visit to the Westway Sports Centre which is providing temporary shelter for those who have been made homeless, in north Kensington, West London. REUTERS/Dominic Lipinski/Pool

Meeting volunteers in front of tables stacked with donated goods, William discussed the tragedy with one, saying: "Things like that you never want to see."

He told another: "That's one of the most terrible things I have ever seen."

A strong campaigner on mental health, the Duke said it was important that those affected talked about the trauma they had witnessed and urged volunteers to get the right support.

Loubna Aghzafi, a local resident, told him that many people she had spoken to were unable to share their experiences.

He replied: "They may want to eventually. They must talk about it."

Ms Aghzafi, 4(42), who has been helping translate for Moroccan families caught up in the fire, told the Press Association: "I said to him 'I was thinking about you yesterday when a woman told me her children are very traumatised'.

"I said 'I need to get them some support'.

"He gave me the name of a contact of one of the charities so I need to contact them and get them to come down.

"He said 'Please make sure to tell people that they need to talk about it'."

The Queen and William signed a book of condolence in front of a wall plastered with missing posters describing those feared lost in the fire.

Outside, crowds applauded members of the London Fire Brigade, Metropolitan Police and London Ambulance Service as they lined up to be thanked for their bravery by the royal visitors.

On Thursday the Queen paid tribute to the ''bravery'' of firefighters who battled the blaze and praised the ''incredible generosity'' of volunteers offering their support.

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