Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Grenfell Tower memorial

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·Lifestyle Writer, Yahoo Life UK
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Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (C) lay a wreath at a memorial service at the foot of Grenfell Tower in London, on June 14, 2022, the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire where 72 people lost their lives. - The names of the 72 people who perished in Britain's worst residential fire since World War II were read out on June 14, 2022 at a church service marking the fifth anniversary of the blaze. Survivors and families of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire gathered at Westminster Abbey for the first of a day of events to remember the tragedy. (Photo by PETER NICHOLLS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PETER NICHOLLS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge lay a wreath at a memorial service at the foot of Grenfell Tower in London, on June 14, 2022. (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined Grenfell survivors and the bereaved at a memorial service in London on the fifth anniversary of the fatal tragedy.

Kate and William's attendance has been called "huge" for the community and showed they "shared that feeling" of mourning, according to a local resident.

The royal couple were among those who observed a 72-second silence at the bottom of the tower in north Kensington in London on the evening of 14 June, in memory of the 72 men, women and children who lost their lives in the fire half a decade ago.

The pair laid a wreath in tribute to those who died and listened to speeches at the service, which included calls for the arrests of those responsible for the fatal fire, as well as criticism of the government's Rwanda immigration policy.

Kate and William chatted with attendees before taking their seats for the multi-faith service.

This followed a private meeting earlier in the day with those directly affected by the fire.

Read more: Grenfell Tower tribute: 'I still have survivor's guilt'

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge speak with survivors and bereaved children at a memorial service at the foot of Grenfell Tower in London, on June 14, 2022, the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire where 72 people lost their lives. - The names of the 72 people who perished in Britain's worst residential fire since World War II were read out on June 14, 2022 at a church service marking the fifth anniversary of the blaze. Survivors and families of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire gathered at Westminster Abbey for the first of a day of events to remember the tragedy. (Photo by PETER NICHOLLS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PETER NICHOLLS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The royal couple speak with survivors and bereaved children on the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire where 72 people lost their lives. (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Mother-of-five Muna Hussain said her children went to the same school as five of those who lost their lives, with her household evacuated shortly after the devastation.

On William and Kate's appearance at the service, Hussain, 50, told PA news agency, "I was happy.

“I was glad to see at least they know how we are feeling as a community, and they shared that feeling.

“It makes me very happy. It’s massive, it’s huge for us. It makes you feel better.”

Hussain said she and her son, just 13 years old at the time, witnessed the fire, and had visited the tower and memorial every day since being allowed back home.

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (C) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (L) attend a memorial service at the foot of Grenfell Tower in London, on June 14, 2022, the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire where 72 people lost their lives. - The names of the 72 people who perished in Britain's worst residential fire since World War II were read out on June 14, 2022 at a church service marking the fifth anniversary of the blaze. Survivors and families of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire gathered at Westminster Abbey for the first of a day of events to remember the tragedy. (Photo by PETER NICHOLLS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PETER NICHOLLS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The names of the 72 people who lost their lives in Britain's worst residential fire since World War II were read out. (AFP via Getty Images)

Father Gerard Skinner, parish priest of St Francis of Assisi church in Notting Hill, was among those to speak. He said Grenfell Tower has become a “symbol of suffering” for those who died, their loved ones, survivors and the community, and a “symbol of shame” for liars and deceivers.

Many of those at the service wore green scarves and clothing, similar to that of the green hearts on the wall, and on the tower, which have come to symbolise the tragedy, with Grenfell thought to be an adaptation of the words 'green field'.

During the service, 18 green balloons were released to remember the children who lost their lives, while there were also choir performances, prayers, readings and the unveiling of a white heart sculpture made of hands.

The wider community were able to watch live on nearby screens.

In a moving moment, Ayeesha, eight, who survived the fire, recited a poem she wrote called 'Never Forget'.

“We will stay strong, we will rise up as a community, we will fight for justice together, we will always remember our friends and our neighbours, we will always remember our home," she said.

“We can’t change the past but we can change the future. Never forget.”

Read more: Play about Grenfell Tower fire set to air on Channel 4

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (C) attend a memorial service at the foot of Grenfell Tower in London, on June 14, 2022, the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire where 72 people lost their lives. - The names of the 72 people who perished in Britain's worst residential fire since World War II were read out on June 14, 2022 at a church service marking the fifth anniversary of the blaze. Survivors and families of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire gathered at Westminster Abbey for the first of a day of events to remember the tragedy. (Photo by PETER NICHOLLS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PETER NICHOLLS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The service service called for the arrests of those responsible for the tragedy. (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

She smiled while ending the poem, with the duke and duchess smiling back as they joined in the applause.

The royal couple and the London Mayor Sadiq Khan laid floral tributes at the base of the tower at the end of the service, with Kate laying down a wreath with white flowers, William looking on, before bowing their heads and standing for a moment of reflection.

As they left in a black car, Kate waved to onlookers from inside as they were driven down Grenfell Road.

On the day, politicians also attended a Westminster Abbey service, and music artists like Big Zuu and Lowkey marched a silent two-minute circuit led by those directly affected by the fire.

Five years on since the 72 people lost their lives in the fire, nearly 10,000 tower blocks still have unsafe cladding or other associated fire risks, making the service one of remembrance and one still demanding both justice and safe homes.

Additional reporting PA.

A banner with a green heart is wrapped around the Grenfell Tower one year on since the blaze, which claimed 72 lives. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Forever in our hearts. (PA Images via Getty Images)
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