Yesterday, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall attended a dedication service at the National Memorial Arboretum, unveiling the National Memorial for British Victims of Overseas Terrorism. In memory to all British victims who perished in overseas acts of terrorism, the memorial entitled ‘Still Water’ serves as a point of convergence where loved ones and members of the public can visit and remember the lives of all those lost.
Prince Charles and Camilla were greeted by the Rt Hon Tobias Ellwood MP, Minister for Defence, People and Veterans. Mr. Ellwood’s brother lost his life in the 2002 Bali bombing and he shared with the guests: “I know from personal experience that in times of pain we must come together to support and help one another. This memorial stands as a symbol of our unity against violence and hatred and will be a peaceful space for families to remember their loved ones.”
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Designed by Alison Wilding and Adam Kershaw, this elliptical shaped pool, surrounded by woodland, makes for quite a moving testimonial.
The poignant ceremony was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby and included a moment of silence and music played by a single piper. During the service, The Prince of Wales gave a truly eloquent and heartfelt speech to the over 300 friends, family, and guests gathered, whose lives in one way or another have been touched by a horrific tragedy. Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson were also present at the event.
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In an unusually emotional speech, Prince Charles expressed: “It is more than grief that brings us all here today and more than pain that unites us. In dedicating this memorial to the memory of those who have been killed in such monstrous acts of terrorism overseas, we are remembering not only what we have all lost, but everything that we still hold dear – that the people of this country, irrespective of faith or belief, stand together, united in defiance of hate and determined that tolerance and compassion will prevail.”
Articulating further, the heir to the throne said: “This memorial will stand for the courage and resilience that makes our nation what it is, together with the values which keep us strong. It will symbolise, in perpetuity, our shared insistence that hope will always triumph over despair; and that, no matter what, our community will endure.”
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Sadly, The Queen’s son shares a special kinship with the families of the victims. In 1979, Charles was left completely devastated, when his beloved great uncle, Louis Mountbatten and Charles’ godson, Nicholas Knatchbull were savagely murdered by IRA terrorists, who viciously blew up the boat that they were on, while the family vacationed in Ireland. He has carried the intense anguish from that day with him for all of these years and understands full well the immense feelings of loss and heartache that the families are dealing with.
The Duchess of Cornwall and one of the young girls in attendance, laid beautiful floral bouquets at the memorial site in tribute. With the ceremony over, Prince Charles and Camilla had the opportunity to converse with many of the guests, making special time to visit with all those that have been affected greatly by terrorism.