Following Friday’s Christchurch terrorist attack, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry made a surprise visit to New Zealand House in London to share their condolences. 

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The couple, who are expecting their first child in April, arrived wearing all black as they walked hand-in-hand to sign a book of condolences for the victims of Friday’s attack in Christchurch, where 50 people died and dozens more were injured after a gunman opened fire on two mosques. A 28-year-old-man has since been charged with murder. 

“Our deepest condolences. We are with you,” Markle wrote in the book, meanwhile, Harry signed his name with “Arohanui,” which is Maori for “best wishes.”

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When the couple first arrived, they were greeted with a hongi (traditional nose rub) by High Commissioner Sir Jerry Mateparae and Deputy High Commissioner David Evans. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had been asked to represent the royal family because they were the most recent royal visitors to New Zealand. 

On Friday, Kensington Palace issued a joint statement on behalf of Harry, Markle, Prince William, and Kate Middleton, where the royal couples referred to the Christchurch attack as a “horrifying assault on a way of life that embodies decency, community, and friendship.”

Both couples previously spent time in Christchurch, where the two mosque attacks took place. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s last visit there was in 2014, while the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, recently visited last year in October as part of their 16-day royal tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.

“Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the people who lost their lives in the devastating attack in Christchurch,” the joint statement shared on Instagram began alongside a photo of the New Zealand flag.

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

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“Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the people who lost their lives in the devastating attack in Christchurch. 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. This senseless attack is an affront to the people of Christchurch and New Zealand, and the broader Muslim community. It is a horrifying assault on a way of life that embodies decency, community, and friendship. We know that from this devastation and deep mourning, the people of New Zealand will unite to show that such evil can never defeat compassion and tolerance. We send our thoughts and prayers to everyone in New Zealand today. Kia Kaha.” — The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

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“This senseless attack is an affront to the people of Christchurch and New Zealand, and the broader Muslim community. It is a horrifying assault on a way of life that embodies decency, community, and friendship,” they added.

“We know that from this devastation and deep mourning, the people of New Zealand will unite to show that such evil can never defeat compassion and tolerance.”

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As the couples wrapped up their heartfelt note, they sent thoughts and prayers to the people of New Zealand, saying “Kia Kaha,” a Māori phrase that means “stay strong,” which is often used by New Zealanders as an affirmation.

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