The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry met the winners of the Met Excellence Awards at Kensington Palace yesterday. The awards honour policemen and women who have gone ‘above and beyond the call of duty.’
William and Harry met with Cadet of the Year, Nabil Laasid, 17, who lives close to Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, and lost a close friend in the fire last June. Mr Laasid has carried out over 1,000 hours of volunteering in the last year, and helped to organise a trip for survivors to the Isle of Wight.
The Duke of Cambridge spoke of how difficult the fire is to comprehend, “We still see it (the tower) a lot as it is just around the corner. It’s hard to comprehend.”
The two Princes then spoke to Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood who won an outstanding contribution award for his efforts during last year’s Westminster terror attack, when he rushed to the aid of PC Keith Palmer, who had been stabbed. The former soldier told the Duke how his “instinct kicked in” as the attack unfolded.
William remarked, “Everyone did all they could I’m sure.”
PC Keith Palmer, who was killed in the attack, was posthumously honoured at the awards ceremony last week, for his heroic response.
Palmer was stabbed to death when he tried to stop the attacker Khalid Masood outside the Palace of Westminster. The late officer won the ‘outstanding bravery of the year’ prize. A fundraising page set up after the attack raised over £700,000 for PC Palmer’s family in just four days.
During the event, the Duke revealed that Prince George has a keen interest in the police. When asked by PC Jayne Richardson whether Prince George and Princess Charlotte would be interested in signing up, Prince William laughed and remarked: “He is obsessed, actually, by the police… cars, toys, everything!”
In December, the Duke handed Father Christmas a list from Prince George wishing for a ‘police car’, during a trip to Finland.
The Met’s Commissioner Cressida Dick was also present, and said that the force was “really grateful” to the Duke and Prince Harry. She then addressed her officers: “Thank you for what you did do, do do and will continue to do.”
After the event, the Commissioner said, “It’s wonderful for our guys and girls to be here and to enjoy such a treat. They’re really excited and have had a lovely time. They all spoke very openly and clearly and frankly about what they do, and what they do is … you know they take it for granted, but it is extraordinary for many of them and I think the impression Their Royal Highnesses received is that these people are passionate about their jobs in keeping people safe.
“They are sometimes people who aren’t thanked as much as they might be. They are an absolute inspiration.”
She also complimented Princes William and Harry, noting their passion for policing and keeping the community safe, saying that the Princes are “very knowledgeable”.