Prince William has given a heartwarming speech during a visit to Al Noor mosque in Christchurch today, the first mosque attacked during the atrocity of March 15.
The Duke of Cambridge was greeted by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, minister Megan Woods, Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel and senior members of the Muslim community inside the gates of the mosque.
Inside the mosque the Prince gave a passionate and heartwarming speech telling the audience he couldn't believe the news when he'd first heard about the mosque terror attacks on March 15.
Opening his speech in Te Reo Māori, Prince William said he's had reasons to reflect on grief and sudden pain and loss in his own life and says while the act of violence was designed to change New Zealand, "instead the grief of a nation has revealed how deep your wells of empathy, compassion, warmth and love truly run," the NZ Herald reports.
He said you don't ever forget the sadness, shock and pain but that grief can help you live up to the values you hold and support.
"The forces of love will always prevail over the forces of hate," Prince William said.
"You showed the way we must respond to hate – with love."
He went on to say that when New Zealand looked like it may fall victim to those intent on promoting fear and distrust, New Zealanders and the Muslim community at Masjid Al Noor and Linwood Masjid showed they had other plans.
"In a moment of acute pain, you stood up and you stood together.
"And, in reaction to tragedy, you achieved something remarkable."
Prince William also praised New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, saying her extraordinary leadership was an example "to us all".
Following his speech the Prince went around the room to meet with families of the community.
Earlier today the Prince visited Christchurch Hospital where he met with survivors who were still receiving care following the attacks and later this afternoon the Prince will lay a wreath at Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake National Museum and do a brief walkabout.
The Duke of Cambridge began his two-day visit to New Zealand yesterday, arriving in Auckland where he attended the civic ceremony held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum to commemorate Anzac Day, where he laid a wreath on the war memorial cenotaph.
The Prince also paid a surprise visit to Auckland's Starship Hospital, where he met with a young survivor who suffered critical injuries during the mosque shootings, resulting in her falling into a coma, which she has just woken from earlier this month.
During his visit a heartwarming exchange was captured on video by Kensington Palace, where the five-year-old girl asks Prince William if he has a daughter.
"Yup. She's called Charlotte," Prince William replied.
"She's about the same age as you."
Prince William's two-day visit was announced in late March, to pay tribute to the solidarity and compassion New Zealand showed during the tragedy in Christchurch which killed 50 innocent people on March 15, 2019.
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