Christchurch attacks: Duke of Cambridge to honour victims on New Zealand visit

The Duke of Cambridge will honour the victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks as he arrives in New Zealand for a two-day visit on behalf of the Queen.

William will begin his trip in Auckland on Thursday before travelling to Christchurch to meet with those affected by the terrorist attack, including survivors and their families, first responders and Muslim community leaders.

Kensington Palace has said the duke will pay tribute to the “extraordinary compassion and solidarity that the people of New Zealand have displayed in recent weeks”.

His visit comes at the request of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the wake of the deadly shootings at two mosques on March 15.

Fifty people were killed while dozens more were injured when a gunman opened fire during Friday prayers.

New Zealand Mosque Attacks Timeline
New Zealand Mosque Attacks Timeline

The monarch, who is Queen of New Zealand, and other senior royals sent heartfelt messages of condolence following the attacks.

The Queen said she and the Duke of Edinburgh had been “saddened by the appalling events”, while the Prince of Wales said: “This appalling atrocity is an assault on all of us who cherish religious freedom, tolerance, compassion and community.”

In a joint message, William, Kate and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said: “We have all been fortunate to spend time in Christchurch and have felt the warm, open-hearted and generous spirit that is core to its remarkable people.

“No person should ever have to fear attending a sacred place of worship.”

William visited New Zealand following the Christchurch earthquake in 2011 and was joined by the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George for a tour of New Zealand in 2014.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with murder over the mosque attacks.