Prince William’s message for our fireys
Prince William has shared a message of support to Australia from himself and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, ahead of the pair's expected tour to bushfire-ravaged parts of the country.
The message was beamed to the tens of thousands packed inside Sydney's ANZ stadium tonight for the Fire Fight Australia concert and countless others watching the live broadcast.
"Hello, everyone. Catherine and I just wanted to say that we were very shocked and saddened to see the damage and devastation caused by the bushfires recently," Prince William said.
"We know it's been a terrible time for all of those affected by the bushfires.
"We want to commend the bravery and resilience of all Australians involved, particularly the volunteer firefighters who have put their lives on the line to protect lives, livelihoods and wildlife. We think that's been a fantastic effort all 'round by everyone down there looking after each other.
"We know there's been lots of incredible acts of generosity as well and communities coming together to support each other.
"We wish you all the best for the rebuild and have a good evening."
Australian artists Amy Shark, 5 Seconds of Summer, Guy Sebastian and Jessica Mauboy were among those to take to the stage at Sunday's nine-hour bushfire relief concert, hosted by comedian Celeste Barber who herself has raised more than $50 million for the RFS.
Queen and Adam Lambert were one of the drawcards with a 22-minute original Live Aid set.
For First Time In Its History, Queen, Fronted By Singer @adamlambert will perform the Band’s Iconic 1985 Live Aid Set tonight for #FireFightAustralia!👑 Queen will perform the original 22 minute Live Aid set widely regarded as one of the greatest live performances of all time! pic.twitter.com/BTBssIqshk— Queen (@QueenWillRock) February 16, 2020
Communities on the bushfire-ravaged NSW south coast hope a potential royal visit by William and Kate will shine a spotlight on the region and its reconstruction efforts and boost tourism.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to issue a formal invitation to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge "soon", once discussions with Kensington Palace about the details of the bushfire tour are concluded.
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We continue to be shocked and deeply saddened to hear about the fires that are destroying homes, livelihoods and wildlife across much of Australia. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the people and communities who are affected by this devastating event. We send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who have tragically lost their lives, and the brave firefighters who continue to risk their own lives to save the lives of others. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Image courtesy of @nytimes / @mattabbottphoto
Cabinet minister Simon Birmingham said previous visits by members of the royal family had lifted tourist numbers to Australia.
"We hope that can all be locked down with an announcement from the royals pretty soon because it is going to be a great opportunity to remind the rest of the world that Australia is still a fantastic place to visit full of rich and amazing experiences," the senator told the Nine Network last week.
The trip would be William's fifth visit to Australia and the couple's first since 2014.
William's message echoed a poignant video from his father, Prince Charles, in early January.
The future King of England said he and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, acknowledged it was a "hopelessly inadequate way" of sending support but wanted Australians to know they were in their thoughts.
"Both of us have been in despair over the last several weeks watching this appalling horror unfolding in Australia and witnessing so much of what you're having to go through from this distance," he said.
"Those of you who have tragically lost your properties, your houses, everything - to me it is, and to both of us, not to be believed possible."
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip also last month thanked the Australian emergency services for their efforts.
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Her Majesty The Queen has sent a message of condolence to the Governor General of Australia, Governor of New South Wales, Governor of Queensland, and Governor of Victoria and to all Australians: "I have been deeply saddened to hear of the continued bushfires and their devastating impact across many parts of Australia. My thanks go out to the emergency services, and those who put their own lives in danger to help communities in need. Prince Philip and I send our thoughts and prayers to all Australians at this difficult time. Elizabeth R"
Watch and read live coverage of the Fire Fight Australia concert here.