The Duke and Duchess Officially Open Manchester’s Glade of Light Memorial

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The Duke and Duchess traveled to Manchester in northwest England today to participate in the official opening of the city’s Glade of Light Memorial.   

NOTE: The post contains coverage of the May 2017 terrorist bombing in Manchester, England, for anyone sensitive to that topic. 

This was the Duke’s second engagement of the day. Earlier, Prince William and the Prince of Wales took part in the State Opening of Parliament.

This is the first time the Duke of Cambridge has attended the annual event. More via this Telegraph story by Hannah Furness. 

The Duke and the Prince of Wales jointly opened the new session of Parliament as the Queen deploys them as Counsellors of State to deputise for her.

While Prince Charles will be reading the Queen’s speech, two Counsellors of State are required to be present in order to be constitutionally sound. On Monday night, the Queen deployed both in the role, using the mechanism of Letters Patent.

….the Duchess of Cornwall was also present at the State Opening alongside her husband, but took no official role in proceedings.

Inside the House of Lords, Prince Charles sat center stage to deliver the Queen’s Speech (but not on the Queen’s throne, which had been removed), per the BBC. Prince Charles read the Queen’s speech to Parliament.

This is the first time in almost 60 years HM did not attend the opening. The issue today is the same as for other recent events: mobility challenges. 

Now to the Manchester engagement, where the Duke and Duchess arrived mid-afternoon as scheduled.

The couple was there to officially open the Glade of Light Memorial in Manchester. The memorial honors the twenty-two people killed and hundreds injured at an Ariana Grande concert when a 22-year-old Manchester man detonated a suicide bomb he had hidden in his backpack. 

This is not the Duke’s first time taking part in events related to the bombing.  In June 2017, he visited Greater Manchester Police headquarters, where he met those involved in response to the attack at the Arena.

In 2018, he attended the National Service of Commemoration at Manchester Cathedral on the attack’s first anniversary.

Below, concertgoers being escorted from the arena.

More from The Chronicle.

The victims ranged in ages with the youngest being just eight as families lost loved ones who were cherished schoolchildren, students, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, devoted men and women.

Six of those killed were under the age of 16.

The public outpouring of grief and support was immense. Below, a carpet of flowers and cards at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester five days after the bombing.

The Queen, Prince Philip, and guests observe a moment of silence at a May 23 garden party. 

Support came from within the UK and around the world. Below, in London’s Trafalgar Square.

In Hong Kong.

In Belfast. 

In front of the British embassy in Kyiv.

In Paris, the lights on the Eiffel Tower were turned off.

In Zagreb, Croatia.

In Melbourne. 

And back in Manchester.

Below, a vigil in the city.

This was May 23, a day after the bombing.

A month after the attack, Ariana Grande returned for her ‘One Love Manchester’ concert and television broadcast, a fundraiser for victims and families.

Variety reported that $2.6 million was raised during the three-hour live event, with the British Red Cross reporting a total of $13 million in donations for the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund. 

We return to today’s events and another image of the royals as they arrived. On the left, the Bishop of Manchester, Dr. David Walker.

An aerial view of the memorial, a white marble halo.

A video of the Duke, Duchess, and others arriving for today’s commemoration. 

A wide shot of the location shows its proximity to the iconic Manchester Cathedral. 

As explained on the city’s site, “The Glade of Light was designed to be a living memorial, a tranquil garden space for remembrance and reflection. Its peaceful surroundings are intended as the setting for commemorative events in the city relating to the attack.”

Family members of the twenty-two people killed were at today’s event.

Today those gathered for the ceremony heard the Manchester Survivors Choir and the Parrs Wood high school choir. 

Prince William delivered remarks at the ceremony. 

From those remarks: 

As someone who lives with his own grief, I also know that what often matters most to the bereaved is that those we have lost are not forgotten. There is comfort in remembering. In acknowledging that, while taken horribly soon, they lived. They changed our lives. They were loved and they are loved. It is why memorials such as the Glade of Light are so important. Why Catherine and I so wanted to be amongst you today.

The Duke also noted:

I remember only too well the shock and grief on the faces of those I met when I visited Manchester in the days following the atrocity…and the rawness of emotion at the Commemoration Service, held at your Cathedral just here, a year later. Five years on I know that the pain and the trauma felt by many, has not gone away.

From The Telegraph’s piece by Hannah Furness. 

The Duke, who attended the opening of the Glade of Light memorial at Manchester Cathedral with the Duchess, urged those present to “look back with love” at those they had lost, in reference to the moving moment when crowds sang Oasis song Don’t Look Back In Anger shortly after the terror attack. 

The couple then toured the memorial, created to honor the 22 people whose lives were taken and to remember everyone left injured or affected by the bombing.

You see them with Andy Thomson, who designed the memorial, and chief executive of Manchester City Council Joanne Roney. 

Another view from above, shot in January, shows some of the names inscribed in the marble. Personalized memory capsules, filled with memories and mementos provided by loved ones, have been embedded within the stone. 

The memorial site notes, “The memorial features a planting scheme designed to reflect the changing seasons while providing colour and maximising light all year round. It uses only plants which grow naturally in the UK countryside.” 

The Duchess laid flowers at the site.

The couple paused to reflect.

They then joined a private reception inside Manchester Cathedral, where they met with some of the bereaved families and emergency services personnel. More from this Manchester Evening News story. 

Figen Murray lost her 29-year-old son Martyn Hett in the attack during the Ariana Grande concert. She has been campaigning ever since for Martyn’s Law in which venues would have a legal duty to devise and provide specific security plans for a terror attack.  After nearly five years since the Manchester Arena attack this took a significant step forward as the law was confirmed in today’s Queen speech. This news, along with the opening of the ‘beautiful’ memorial, made this a ‘fitting day for her’.

She told the Manchester Evening News: “The two of them (William and Kate) coming was very special. William has his own experience of grief and you could tell all the words he said came from the heart.

“Their words were beautiful and they took so much time to speak to all the families here today.”

After the private reception wrapped up, the Duchess was given a lovely bouquet by 7-year-old Archie McWilliam, who is a scout.

You also see a gentleman in his UK Scouting kit. His name is Andy Farrell, and he is the County Commissioner for Greater Manchester West Scouts. (You may want to note the bee seen in this photo.)

The royal chatting with officials and dignitaries before they depart. 

And then it was time to head home.

Now for our look at what Kate wore. 

Many recognized her Michael Kors coat, an “indigo twill jacquard swing coat” from the designer’s S/S 2014 collection. It features a fit-and-flare silhouette, front flap pockets, slightly puffed sleeves at the shoulder, front button closure, and a full skirt.

The garment was first worn in 2014 for ANZAC Day ceremonies at the War Memorial in Australia. The Duchess next wore it in May 2016 to open the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace, and then again for the March 2017 Service of Dedication and unveiling of the Iraq Afghanistan Memorial in London.

The Duchess carried a new handbag by a brand not previously seen in her wardrobe: Polène Paris. It is the brand’s Numéro Sept (seven) Mini in blue grain leather ($360).  

Numéro Sept is described as “a creation of confident and classical true line at play with fluid and graceful curves.” The bag is handmade in Spain of textured leather, measuring roughly 7″ x 7″ x 4″ deep.  It is lined in suede and comes with a metal chain.  The label was founded in 2016 by two brothers and a sister,” according to the company’s brand page.  Thank you to Heaven for her speedy ID of the bag, and also to Bojana.  

We saw the return of the Rupert Sanderson Malory pumps (£475).

The Duchess debuted a new pair of earrings today; They have special significance for Mancunians, as they feature Manchester’s symbol, a bee.  Manchester’s City Council notes: “Manchester worker bee is one of the best-known symbols of Manchester and has been an emblem for the city for over 150 years.  The bee denotes Mancunians’ hard work ethic and the city being a hive of activity. It has also come to represent the sense of unity in our great city.”

With thanks to Lady Parky for the heads-up, the earrings are by VanLeles Diamonds, a British jeweler. They feature the firm’s Nile Yellow Gold Small Hoops (£1200, about $1480 at today’s exchange rates) holding the bespoke honeycomb and bee made in yellow gold with diamonds, blue sapphires, and enamel.  In an Instagram post by the brand’s founder, Vania Dörffer”, she said, “I am so incredibly honoured to have designed and created this special pair of earrings for the Duchess of Cambridge.”  More about the designer from this 2018 New York Times profile.

She studied gems, design and business techniques at the Gemological Institute of America, then worked at Graff, DeBeers and Sotheby’s (where, her online profile notes, she oversaw the auction of some jewels formerly owned by the Duchess of Windsor) before opening her own business in 2011.

Ms. Leles’ African upbringing is at the heart of her business. Having visited 15 African countries by the time she was 17, she said, “I am going to seek inspiration from what formed me first.” So the continent has provided inspiration for collection names, designs and sourcing gemstones (although her pieces are executed by artisans in Italy).

Being African, she said, helps her to do business on the continent more easily than Western designers, including finding the traceable and conflict-free gemstones that she considers important to her business profile.

As she left the church this afternoon, the Duchess wore a wristband given to her by the family of Olivia-Paige Campbell Hardy, who was 15 when she was killed in the bombing. The bracelet says, “We Choose Love.”

Olivia’s family started “Liv’s Trust” after she was killed.

More from the Liv’s Trust website: 

Liv’s Trust CIO has been set up in memory of Olivia Campbell-Hardy, who was killed in the Manchester Arena terror attack.

Steve Goodman, Olivia’s ‘Papa’ is running the trust with a group of trustees of family and friends to help under twenty-fives in Greater Manchester get help and receive education in music & dance.

He said: “We’re starting small and we hope to be able to provide musical instruments or even a pair of dance shoes for those who need them.”

The Duchess wore her Astley Clarke ‘Stilla’ Lapis Pendant ($205). 

Tomorrow, we’ll see you for coverage of the Duke and Duchess’s Scotland engagements.  


Here is a portion of the Duke’s remarks. 

And video from ITN’s Royal Family Channel. 
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