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Queen Elizabeth reflects on ‘sombre mood’ after tragedies in UK

The queen and her husband Prince Philip also observed a minute of silence to honour the victims of Grenfell Tower blaze.

world Updated: Jun 22, 2017 15:47 IST
Queen Elizabeth II,Trooping the Colour procession,Grenfell Tower
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip travel in a horse-drawn carriage on their way to the Queen's birthday parade.(AFP)

Queen Elizabeth II, in a message released on her official birthday on Saturday, said the UK has been “resolute in the face of adversity” following recent tragedies in London and Manchester.

But she said it was “difficult to escape a very sombre national mood”.

In her traditional birthday message, the 91-year-old monarch made a reference to the “succession of terrible tragedies”, a day after she paid a visit to people affected by the Grenfell Tower blaze in west London that has claimed at least 30 lives.

She said during her recent visits to Manchester — the site of a suicide bombing last month — and London — which suffered two terror attacks this year — she has been “profoundly struck by the immediate inclination of people throughout the country to offer comfort and support to those in desperate need”.

“United in our sadness, we are equally determined, without fear or favour, to support all those rebuilding lives so horribly affected by injury and loss,” she said.

The queen and her husband Prince Philip also observed a minute of silence to honour the victims of Grenfell Tower tragedy, before the start of the annual Trooping the Colour procession that marks her official birthday.

Meanwhile, public fury over the blaze is mounting as exhausted firefighters continue their grim search for victims of the inferno.

Residents and neighbours are demanding answers for how the blaze spread so quickly amid reports that contractors installed a cheaper, less flame-resistant type of exterior panelling in a renovation of Grenfell Tower that ended in May 2016.

Around 70 people are missing, according to Britain’s Press Association, and identification of the victims is proving very difficult. British health authorities say that 19 patients, 10 of whom remain in critical condition, are still being treated at four London hospitals.

Rescue personnel have had difficulty reaching the top floors of the charred, 24-story tower. Officials warn that no further survivors are likely to be found.

Hundreds have been left homeless by the blaze, putting more pressure on officials in a city already plagued by a chronic housing shortage.

The government has promised a full public inquiry, but that has done little to a sense of frustration at the lack of information about how the fire moved so quickly to engulf the building.

First Published: Jun 17, 2017 16:07 IST