She met some of the young victims of the Manchester bombing in hospital, as well as doctors, nurses and members of the emergency services who responded to the attack that killed 22 and injured more than 100.
The Queen spoke to patients at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where 19 casualties are still being treated after what she called the “wicked” blast. Five remain in critical care.
When the 91-year-old monarch asked if 14-year-old Evie Mills, from Harrogate, had come to Manchester especially for the Ariana Grande concert, she said: “Yes, it was a birthday present.”
“She (Grande) sounds very, very good, a very good singer,” the Queen responded in footage broadcast by Sky News. “It’s dreadful. Very wicked … to target that sort of thing.”
Wearing an orange hat and bright blue jacket, the Queen was met with cheers at the hospital and in comments to Mills and her parents, noted how “everyone’s united here.”
Eight hospitals in and around the northern English city treated 116 people injured in the blast after the concert on Monday evening, NHS England said on Thursday, and 23 remain in critical care.
“She’s lovely, it was just … mindblowing really — you just wouldn’t really expect it,” 15-year-old Millie Robson from County Durham told Sky News after meeting the Queen.
Twelve children under the age of 16 were taken to the hospital by ambulance following Monday’s attack at Manchester Arena.
Earlier Thursday, at 11 a.m., many across Britain fell silent and bowed their heads for a minute in tribute to the victims of the Manchester bombing. Crowds gathered at well-known sites including the Parliament buildings and Trafalgar Square in London and Manchester’s Albert Square.
The Queen and members of the Royal Family observed a minute of silence on Thursday in honour of the victims.
WATCH BELOW: Queen leads minute of silence for Manchester victims
Many members of the Royal Family have been vocal in their consolation for the victims of the Manchester attack and their families.
Following the bombing, the Queen released a public statement acknowledging the shock the entire country is experiencing at the moment.
“I know I speak for everyone in expressing my deepest sympathy to all who have been affected by this dreadful event and especially to the families and friends of those who have died or were injured. I want to thank all the members of the emergency services, who have responded with such professionalism and care,” she said. “And I would like to express my admiration for the way the people of Manchester have responded, with humanity and compassion, to this act of barbarity.”
“Like everyone, Catherine, Harry and I are left shocked and saddened by the tragedy that unfolded in Manchester overnight. Hundreds of friends, parents, children and partners are confronting unimaginable grief today, and we send our thoughts to them all,” William said. “We also send our thanks to the people of Manchester for their display of strength, decency and community that is an example to the world.”
—With files from Reuters