The Duke Of Cambridge paid tribute to fallen officer PC Keith Palmer, who died in last week’s terrorist attack in Westminster, by laying a wreath at the police memorial, on a visit to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
Prince William was at the NMA to open a new centre of remembrance, when he took the time to remember another man who died in the line of duty. The note on the wreath, handwritten by William read, “For PC Keith Palmer and all those who have served our community so valiantly; your legacy is our way of life. William”.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd stated that PC Palmer will be commemorated at the UK Police Memorial, providing “a lasting tribute to the sacrifices that all too many police officers have made”. The Duke bowed his head in remembrance at a bench, close to a traditional blue police lamp after he laid the flowers, also blue in colour.
Prince Charles visited those who were hospitalised in the attack, while The Duchess of Cambridge sent her thoughts and prayers to those affected during an engagement in London just the day after the tragedy.
In addition to laying the wreath, William officially opened the new £15.7 million ‘Remembrance Centre’, and unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion. The centre features three new exhibition galleries, a large restaurant and a shop, also housing a separate coffee shop and garden. It includes a new interactive exhibition, called the ‘Landscapes of Life’, which explains the importance of ‘remembrance’. The National Memorial Arboretum said that the new centre, “will transform the experience of our many visitors”.
The National Memorial Arboretum is the country’s centre of remembrance, mainly military, and features more than 330 memorials spanning over 150 acres in the heart of the Midlands.
During his visit, the Prince also unveiled a Commonwealth plaque, and met with volunteers, staff, veterans and local schoolchildren. Prince William is the patron of the National Memorial Arboretum Appeal, which helped fund the construction of the new centre.
The Duke of Cambridge wrote in the programme for the ‘Landscapes of Life’ exhibition: ‘This is a place for special memories, many of them sad, but hopefully, many of them happy too. We all have an important job to do in keeping these memories alive for future generations and this new Remembrance Centre will play a significant role in that duty.’
Lt Col David Whimpenny, chairman of the National Memorial Arboretum board, said: “The Duke has been involved in this project for many years and we thank him for his ongoing support and encouragement. It was particularly pleasing that some of our younger visitors were able to talk with The Duke and explain what remembrance means to them.”
Among the guests at the arboretum was a group of Year 7 students from de Ferrers Academy, who had been chosen to represent the school, due to ‘good behaviour’. The children were clearly very excited about meeting the future King. Jayden Douglas, 11, said: “It was really exciting, and it’s all I’ll be talking about for a long time. I really wanted a long chat with him, to ask him how Kate is doing and how his children are doing.”
In addition, Isabelle Sprenglewski, 12, remarked: “I’m a big fan of the Royal family in general,” and Janitha Hewawasan, 12, stated: “It was great to see him so close-up”.
The Duke sported two medals on his suit during the visit, one of which he received in the year of the Golden Jubilee (2002), the other from The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.