Published: Sun, December 17, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Royal family joins survivors of Grenfell Tower fire for memorial

Royal family joins survivors of Grenfell Tower fire for memorial

Prince Charles, his wife Camilla, Prince Harry, Prince William and his wife Kate joined some 1,500 people at the multi-faith service at St. Paul's Cathedral, held exactly six months after the June 14 fire that engulfed a residential tower block in west London.

The Royal family have shown solidarity with the families whose relatives died in the Grenfell Tower fire by attending a national memorial service.

In all, 71 people including a stillborn baby died in the fire, which started in a refrigerator in one apartment before racing through the 24-story tower, home to a largely immigrant and working-class population.

talkRADIO reporter Lisa O'Sullivan spoke to a woman named Claire at the service, who had lost two cousins in the fire.

Hundreds of mourners gathered outside the historic cathedral clutching white roses and comforting each other beneath a banner with "Grenfell" inside a green heart.

She said: "I just pray that this is a wake-up call for the nation and a shake-up call for the government, and let them be seen doing the right thing".

Also present were the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Still she (my mother) cries, every day, every second when we are talking about our father, all the memories come out again.

"Today we hold out hope that the public inquiry will get to the truth of all that led up to the fire at Grenfell Tower, and we trust that the truth will bring justice". "Sign the charter for the families bereaved by public tragedy because that could save us a lot of time and things could happen a lot quicker".

Bishop of Kensington Graham Tomlin tells those gathered of his hope that the word "Grenfell" would transform over time from a symbol of "sorrow, of grief or injustice" to "a symbol of the time we learnt a new and better way - to listen and to love".

Dean of St Paul Dr David Ison told the congregation: "We come together as different faiths as we remember those whose lives were lost".

The Ebony Steel Band, frequent performers at the Notting Hill Carnival, played a verse of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.

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