Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have shared their condolences to the grieving country of New Zealand, a country which welcomed them with open arms during their first official royal tour as a married couple.
Clad all in black and walking hand-in-hand, the couple, who are currently expecting their first child (coming late April/early May), made a surprise visit to New Zealand House in London on Tuesday afternoon to sign a book of condolences for the victims of Friday’s terrorist attack in Christchurch, where almost 50 people lost their lives and a dozen more were injured after a gunman opened fire on two mosques. The person behind the attack was a 28-year-old man who has been charged with murder.
Meghan wrote: “Our deepest condolences. We are with you.” Harry signed his name with “Arohanui,” which is Maori for “best wishes.”
On Friday, Kensington Palace issues a joint statement on behalf of Prince William, Kate Middleton, Harry and Meghan, where the royal couple publicly condemned the “senseless attacks”, describing them as “horrifying assault on a way of life that embodies decency, community, and friendship.”
Both of the royal couples have visited and spent time in Christchurch, where the two mosques were attacked. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were last there in 2014, while the Duke and Duchess visited it last year in October when they were on a 16-day royal tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga.
“Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the people who lost their lives in the devastating attack in Christchurch,” the lengthy statement began, alongside a photo of the New Zealand flag.
“We have all been fortunate to spend time in Christchurch and have felt the warm, open-hearted and generous spirit that is core to its remarkable people,” they wrote. “No person should ever have to fear to attend a sacred place of worship.”
“This senseless attack is an affront to the people of Christchurch and New Zealand and the broader Muslim community. It is a horrifying assault on a way of life that embodies decency, community, and friendship,” the royal foursome continued.
“We know that from this devastation and deep mourning, the people of New Zealand will unite to show that such evil can never defeat compassion and tolerance.”
Wrapping up their heartfelt note, the royal couples said they were sending thoughts and prayers to the people of New Zealand and finished with “Kia Kaha” — a Māori phrase that means “stay strong,” which is often used by New Zealanders as an affirmation.