Manchester

Prince Charles and Camilla visit Manchester Arena

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Media caption"You have met sorrow with solidarity", Prince Charles said at Manchester Town Hall

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have met Manchester Arena staff who were first on the scene of last month's suicide bombing.

Twenty-two people died and 119 were injured after Salman Abedi detonated a home-made bomb at an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May.

Charles and Camilla stood in silence in the foyer area, its glass panels above blown out, to view the spot where the devastation unfolded.

They praised the response of staff.

Prince Charles said: "In all this, Manchester is an example to the world".

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Image caption Prince Charles said Manchester was "an example to the world"

The Royal couple spoke to medical and crowd management staff about their experiences on the night and how they had coped since the bombing.

Camilla told staff: "I think you are all incredible. It must have been incredibly difficult for you. People have got a lot to thank you for.

"You did a fantastic job you should be proud of yourselves."

Forensic manager for the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, Bob Gallagher, talked them through what had happened and showed them the spot on the tiled floor, now deeply pock-marked, where Abedi detonated the bomb.

Ragged holes made by flying shrapnel of nuts and bolts still marked the walls and exit doors in the foyer.

Glass panels, shattered from the blast, have been replaced by wooden hoardings.

Image caption Prince Charles greeted the crowds outside Manchester Town Hall
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Image caption Prince Charles spoke to medical staff, who have other jobs or are students, who were working that night

One woman told the Duchess she was watching the arena on a laptop in the medical control room and saw the bomb explode.

A medic told her: "Nobody knew what was going to happen next, if there was another bomb.

"You can prepare on paper but...

"We heard the bang and saw the smoke. We knew where we needed to go and head to where it came from. We knew deep down what had happened immediately."

A statement from Manchester Arena thanked the couple for their support, saying: "We are grateful for the recognition given to everyone who was involved in assisting in the immediate aftermath."

Both Royals then went to Manchester Town Hall where Charles took part in a round table discussion with Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and community leaders about the impact of the attack.

Camilla had a private meeting with Freya Lewis, 14, who was badly injured and is still recovering, along with her parents, Nick and Alison.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Duchess of Cornwall told medical staff "I think you are all incredible"

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