Members of the royal family have expressed their sadness after hearing the horrific news that two mosques in New Zealand were attacked. At least 20 people were wounded and a further 49 killed in shootings in Christchurch. The Queen has released a statement on behalf of herself and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, saying: "I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today. Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives."
Her Majesty continued: "I also pay tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who are providing support to those who have been injured. At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders. Elizabeth R."
The Queen and Prince Charles expressed their sadness in public statements
Her son Prince Charles also sent his condolences, writing in a statement: "Both my wife and I were utterly horrified to hear of the most barbaric attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, which resulted in the cruel and tragic loss of so many people's lives. It is beyond all belief that so many should have been killed and injured at their place of worship and our most special and heartfelt sympathy goes out to all the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives.
"This appalling atrocity is an assault on all of us who cherish religious freedom, tolerance, compassion and community. I know that the people of New Zealand will never allow hate and division to triumph over these things they hold dear. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims' families, the first responders, the people of Christchurch and all New Zealanders at this most heartbreaking of times."
Shootings have taken place in New Zealand:
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also shared a video on Twitter, recording a message that ended: "When the flames of hatred are fanned, when people are demonised because of their faith, when we play on people's fears rather than addressing them, the consequences are deadly, as we have seen so sadly today."
News broke early on Friday morning that two shootings had taken place in mosques in Christchurch, when people were attending Friday prayers. A man in his late 20s was charged with murder, while two other men and one woman were detained nearby and their firearms seized.