Senior royals, rappers and politicians joined Grenfell Tower survivors and bereaved relatives in cults to remember those who died in the building’s devastating fire.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chatted with attendees before sitting front row for a multi-faith service at the base of the North Kensington skyscraper, while politicians attended a service at Westminster Abbey and local rappers joined in a silent walk.
Muna Hussain, 50, a local resident whose children attended school with five of those who died in the fire, said Kate and William’s presence at the service was “huge” for the community and showed that they “share that feeling” of grief at the time. fifth birthday.
After the service, several hundred people, including rappers Big Zuu and Lowkey, marched in a three-kilometer silent circuit led by survivors and bereaved relatives.
They were cheered on by spectators and greeted by rows of firefighters from the London Fire Brigade who lined the street in a show of solidarity.
After the walk, Big Zuu and Lowkey criticized the official response to the fire over the past five years in speeches met with enthusiastic applause.
Bafta-winning television personality Big Zuu said: “Five years without justice. It’s disgusting that there hasn’t been an arrest. It is absolutely abysmal.”
In a lyrical speech that he described as “a message to the government,” Lowkey said, “When you talk about resilience, all you’re telling us is, ‘keep your cool,’ and it’s going to take longer than Michael Gove and Sadiq Khan.
“Boris Johnson is a pitiful suitor, and 72 is a figure Eric Pickles should remember.”
At the previous service, a 72-second silence in memory of the 72 victims of the fire, which took place exactly five years ago, was observed by attendees, including William and Kate, and followed by applause.
Green balloons were then released in memory of the 18 children who died.
Addressing attendees, Father Gerard Skinner, parish priest of St Francis of Assisi Church in Notting Hill, said the Grenfell Tower has become a “symbol of suffering” for those who died, their loved ones, survivors and the community, and a “symbol of shame” to liars and deceivers.
He continued: “But Grenfell is a symbol of love. That’s why the heart is there at the top (of the tower), that’s why it’s here today.
“A reminder of God’s love, God’s love for each of us and your love for each other.
“It is a symbol of change too – of laws and of hearts.”
A memorial service follows Tuesday morning at Westminster Abbey, during which one of the abbey’s bells rang 72 times in memory of the 72 men, women and children who lost their lives in the fire.
Multi-faith leaders read out the names of victims of the tragedy, with former Prime Minister Theresa May, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Housing Secretary Michael Gove, Fire and Safety Minister Stephen Greenhalgh and Shadow Housing Secretary Lisa Nandy gifts.
After each group of names was read, the congregation said in unison “Forever in our hearts” – the phrase stamped atop the covered tower in North Kensington.
Opening the service, Reverend Dr. David Hoyle, rector of Westminster, said the loss and anguish “is still vivid and acute” as the congregation gathered “in grief and pain”.
He said: “Here we renew our commitment to remember those we have lost.
“We come together as those seeking justice and a renewed commitment to ensuring safety in our homes, safety in times of fire.
“Thankful for the support of the communities and individuals who have supported the bereaved and survivors over the past five years, we meet with faith and hope in pursuit of a better, safer and more secure future.”
This comes as politicians pay tribute on social media, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeting: “Today marks five years since the Grenfell Tower fire took the lives of 72 people.
“My thoughts are with the survivors, those who have lost loved ones and the community at large.”
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer posted: “Five years after the Grenfell Tower fire, we remember the 72 people killed.
“The Grenfell community is courageous in its quest for justice and change.
“We are with them. To honor the memories of the lost, we must prevent such a tragedy from happening again.
Khan tweeted: “Along with all Londoners I stand with the community of Grenfell, today on the fifth anniversary of this terrible tragedy and always.
“Together, we will get the answers, justice and change we need to protect communities in London and across the rest of the country.”
Writing on Twitter, the Archbishop of Canterbury said “we pray for the bereaved and survivors” and for solutions to the “injustice of unsafe housing”.
He tweeted: “Five years after the devastating Grenfell fire, we remember the 72 people who died.
“We pray for the bereaved and survivors, and for all those still fighting for justice.
“We also pray for quick and lasting solutions so that no one suffers the injustice of unsafe housing.”
Campaign group Grenfell United posted: “On this day 5 years ago, people came in solidarity and opened their hearts.
“It showed the power of unity, regardless of faith, race or origin; uniting in the face of adversity.
“Today, we remember the kindness the audience showed – it gave us the strength to carry on.”
At night, firefighters from across the country will form an honor guard as community members take a silent walk from the base of the tower.