As the United Kingdom comes to grips with Monday's deadly terror attack, the queen herself set aside time to console victims. Arriving in Manchester Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth visited survivors at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, delivering a message of hope, perseverance, and unity.
Footage from the visit revealed detailed exchanges between the queen and hospital employees. She also spoke with young patients and their family members. In an exchange with a young girl named Evie Mills, the queen expressed empathy and denounced the attack.
"It's dreadful," she said. "Very wicked, to target that sort of thing."
She also added, "[A terror attack] is not something you expect at all."
One of the survivors, Millie Robson, wore an Ariana Grande shirt. According to The Telegraph, the monarch asked Robson about the singer and her experience of the concert prior to the harrowing attack. Robson revealed that she had met Grande backstage after winning tickets in a competition along with her friend.
The queen bonded with the survivors over Grande's singing, and praised her voice. Grande, she said, was a "very good singer." The Royal Manchester Children's Hospital was treating 12 children under the age of 16 during the time of the queen's visit.
The queen placed emphasis on the need for citizens to be united in such a tumultuous time. She told the parents of one survivor that "everyone is united." She went on to note the most disturbing element of the attack: the age of the people attacked. In a statement to a staff member of the hospital, she said, "The awful thing was that everyone was so young. The age of them." According to the National Health Service, 75 people were sent to different hospitals after the terror attack while 23 of them remain in critical care.
The orchestrator behind the Manchester bombing is believed to be Salman Abedi, who was born in Manchester in 1994. According to The Telegraph, friends and the local Muslim community reported Abedi at least five times but the security services "missed" those opportunities.
Grande herself shared her thoughts on Twitter hours after the vicious attack. She tweeted, "Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don't have words."