As they watched scenes of violence unfolding across Britain last week, the royal family were as shocked as anyone. So this week, with tension and grief still palpable in some areas, they have been offering their support to those worst affected by the riots. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled to Birmingham where they held a private meeting with the families of three men who died protecting shops and homes from looters.
Haroon Jahan, 21, Shazad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31, were laid to rest in a funeral service attended by 20,000 mourners.They were attacked close to the Summerfield Community Centre in the Winson Green area, which William and Kate visited, accompanied by Chris Sims, Chief Constable of West Midlands Police.
He explained that their support had helped to bring back a sense of normality to a community still struggling to cope with its loss. "The arrival of the Duke and Duchess in bright sunshine has really helped lift the mood here," said the senior officer.
The couple also took time to meet local community members and business people affected by the disturbances as well as the emergency services. Friday's visit follows Prince Harry's praise for police officers and ambulance crew, whom he said had done "a fantastic" job. His presence caused excitement in Salford, Greater Manchester, where crowds cheered his arrival on Thursday.
Officers told him many of them had worked 13 consecutive shifts and there were times when they feared for their lives.Harry replied: "I think it's fantastic what you guys have done to keep a lid on it. It seems really quiet out there in Salford now." The 26-year-old royal added: "You all did a fantastic job on the night and it's great to see Manchester and Salford back on its feet. "As an army officer I really respect the work you guys do and I can't praise your bravery high enough."
Officers described Harry as "down-to-earth" and "grounded". PC Stuart Mulqueeney told the Daily Telegraph: "He's our favourite royal. He's like us really. He's one you'd like to take to the pub." At one point, the popular royal was taken to see newsagent Ismail Patel, 43, whose shop suffered damage worth £90,000 and was set on fire.The father of six, was touched because the Prince "seemed to genuinely care about what would happen to my business and the consequences for my family." Earlier in the week, families burned out of their property received sympathy from Prince Charles who embraced victims in Tottenham, North London. Accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall, he chatted with residents at local leisure centre which has been transformed into an emergency refuge.
Parvez Iqbal, the owner of an Indian food shop on London Road, who has been unable to open the shop after it was targeted by rioters was overwhelmed. "They were both very sympathetic and said they appreciated what we are trying to do.
The visit came as the Prince of Wales' youth charity, The Prince's Trust, announced a "doubling of support for young people across five of the areas hardest hit by the riots".In all, the organisation will invest £2.5m to give disadvantaged young people positive opportunities to keep their lives on track".