The Duke of Cambridge visited Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland today, and he spent time at the bedside of Alen Alsati, five, who was critically injured during mosque shootings that left 50 dead last month.
Alen was in a coma until earlier this month. When she awoke she was unable to see, speak or eat by herself but has been making small steps in her recovery.
Earlier this week it was reported she had started to speak again and she was able amid smiles and jokes, to ask William if he had a daughter of his own. He responded: "Yes, she’s called Charlotte. She’s about the same age as you.”
The Duke of Cambridge meets five year old Alen Alsati, who is recovering in Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland after being injured in the Christchurch mosques terrorist attack.
Alen woke from a coma earlier this week after suffering critical injuries in the attack. pic.twitter.com/XcNAsIw7xt— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal)April 25, 2019
The father of three sat beside the five-year-old’s father, Wasselm, who was also injured in the shootings.
Before heading to the hospital to meet with victims, the 36-year-old spent an hour speaking to officers, first responders and medics from St John Ambulance who helped deal with the aftermath of the shattering attack on March 15.
The teams explained how they co-ordinated the response and how their training equipped them to deal with events as they unfolded.
"Nothing really trains you for seeing it in real life,” the duke responded.
"I'm sure the team pulls together."
"You did an incredible job on a very bad day." — At the Justice and Emergency Services Precinct in Christchurch The Duke of Cambridge thanks first responders to the Christchurch mosques terrorist attack. pic.twitter.com/8OqWZJ7JI4— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal)April 25, 2019
New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush praised Prince William's visit, describing it as "wonderful".
"If I could use the words he used to our staff: 'a good friend doesn't pick up the phone when a person is in need. They travel to their place and put their arms around them'," he said, adding that the duke had brought great comfort to staff.
The visits came as part of a solo two-day trip to the country on behalf of the Queen and at the request of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Ms Adern greeted Prince William with a traditional Maori nose rub, known as a hongi, before the two joined thousands of New Zealanders for an emotional Anzac Day service at the Auckland War Memorial on Thursday.
Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance which commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations”.
Ms Adern expressed gratitude over the prince’s presence, saying: “His visit provides the opportunity to pay tribute to those affected by the mosque terrorist attacks and show support to the local and national community.”
She described his “close connection” with New Zealand, and Christchurch in particular, which he previously visited in 2011, following the devastating earthquake in the city.
In London, the Duchess of Cambridge will attend the Anzac Day Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey at midday. It will include an Act of Remembrance and the Last Post.