New Zealand mosque shootings: Royal family condemns 'horrifying assault on a way of life'

Following the devastating shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand that left 49 people dead on Friday, the British royal family released several statements in reaction to the country's worst-ever mass shootings.

"Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the people who lost their lives in the devastating attack in Christchurch," Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle said in a joint statement. "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," the statement continued. "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," the two couples ended.

17 PHOTOS
New Zealand mosque shootings
See Gallery
New Zealand mosque shootings
Sensitive Content Warning
Ambulance staff take a man from outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. A witness says many people have been killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
A body lies on the footpath outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. A witness says many people have been killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Ambulance staff take a man from outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. A witness says many people have been killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.(AP Photo/Mark Baker)
A man reacts as he speaks on a mobile phone outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. A witness says many people have been killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.(AP Photo/Mark Baker)
People wait outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Many people were killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday, a witness said. Police have not yet described the scale of the shooting but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Police attempt to clear people from outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Many people were killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday, a witness said. Police have not yet described the scale of the shooting but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors.(AP Photo/Mark Baker)
A man talks on his mobile phone across the road from a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. A witness says a number of people have been killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch; police urge people to stay indoors. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Police attempt to move people away from outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days," as authorities detained four people and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Police stand outside a mosque in Linwood, Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed during shootings at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Police stand outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers, as New Zealand police warned people to stay indoors as they tried to determine if more than one gunman was involved. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
A police officer escorts a man away from a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers, as New Zealand police warned people to stay indoors as they tried to determine if more than one gunman was involved. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Police keep watch at a park across the road from a a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers, as New Zealand police warned people to stay indoors as they tried to determine if more than one gunman was involved. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 15: Members of the public react in front of the Masjd Al Noor Mosque as they fear for their relatives on March 15, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. 49 people have been confirmed dead and more than 20 are injured following attacks at two mosques in Christchurch. Four people are in custody following shootings at Al Noor mosque on Dean's Road and the Linwood Masjid in Christchurch. Mosques across New Zealand have been closed and police are urging people not to attend Friday prayers as a safety precaution. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 15: A floral tribute is seen on Linwood Avenue near the Linwood Masjid on March 15, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. 49 people have been confirmed dead and more than 20 are injured following attacks at two mosques in Christchurch. Four people are in custody following shootings at Al Noor mosque on Dean's Road and the Linwood Masjid in Christchurch. Mosques across New Zealand have been closed and police are urging people not to attend Friday prayers as a safety precaution. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 15: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media during a press conference at Parliament on March 15, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. One person is in custody and police are searching for another gunmen following several shootings at mosques in Christchurch. Police have not confirmed the number of casualties or fatalities. All schools and businesses are in lock down as police continue to search for other gunmen. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 15: Police Commissioner Mike Bush speaks to media during a press conference at Royal Society Te Aparangi on March 15, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. One person is in custody and police are searching for another gunmen following several shootings at mosques in Christchurch. Police have not confirmed the number of casualties or fatalities. All schools and businesses are in lock down as police continue to search for other gunmen. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Queen Elizbeth also shared words on behalf of herself and her husband, Prince Philip, saying that she's "deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today."

"Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives," she added. "I also pay tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who are providing support to those who have been injured. At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders."

Heir to the throne Prince Charles also released a statement on Friday speaking on behalf of himself and his wife, Duchess Camilla.

"Both my wife and I were utterly horrified to hear of the most barbaric attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, which resulted in the cruel and tragic loss of so many people’s lives," he said. "It is beyond all belief that so many should have been killed and injured at their place of worship and our most special and heartfelt sympathy goes out to all the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives."

"This appalling atrocity is an assault on all of us who cherish religious freedom, tolerance, compassion and community. I know that the people of New Zealand will never allow hate and division to triumph over these things they hold dear," the statement continued. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families, the first responders, the people of Christchurch and all New Zealanders at this most heartbreaking of times."

New Zealand is one of the countries in the Commonwealth of Nations, which was celebrated just four days ago during Commonwealth Day.

21 PHOTOS
Duchess Kate and Duchess Meghan together
See Gallery
Duchess Kate and Duchess Meghan together
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge greets Meghan, Duchess of Sussex at Westminster Abbey for a Commonwealth day service on March 11, 2019 in London, England. Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year, as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth, with old ties and new links enabling cooperation towards social, political and economic development which is both inclusive and sustainable. The Commonwealth represents a global network of 53 countries and almost 2.4 billion people, a third of the worlds population, of whom 60 percent are under 30 years old. Each year the Commonwealth adopts a theme upon which the Service is based. This years theme A Connected Commonwealth speaks of the practical value and global engagement made possible as a result of cooperation between the culturally diverse and widely dispersed family of nations, who work together in friendship and goodwill. The Commonwealths governments, institutions and people connect at many levels, including through parliaments and universities. They work together to protect the natural environment and the ocean which connects many Commonwealth nations, shore to shore. Cooperation on trade encourages inclusive economic empowerment for all people - particularly women, youth and marginalised communities. The Commonwealths friendly sporting rivalry encourages people to participate in sport for development and peace. (Photo by Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge sits near Meghan, Duchess of Sussex as they attend the Westminster Abbey Commonwealth day service on March 11, 2019 in London, England. Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year, as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth, with old ties and new links enabling cooperation towards social, political and economic development which is both inclusive and sustainable. The Commonwealth represents a global network of 53 countries and almost 2.4 billion people, a third of the worlds population, of whom 60 percent are under 30 years old. Each year the Commonwealth adopts a theme upon which the Service is based. This years theme A Connected Commonwealth speaks of the practical value and global engagement made possible as a result of cooperation between the culturally diverse and widely dispersed family of nations, who work together in friendship and goodwill. The Commonwealths governments, institutions and people connect at many levels, including through parliaments and universities. They work together to protect the natural environment and the ocean which connects many Commonwealth nations, shore to shore. Cooperation on trade encourages inclusive economic empowerment for all people - particularly women, youth and marginalised communities. The Commonwealths friendly sporting rivalry encourages people to participate in sport for development and peace. (Photo by Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge talks with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex at Westminster Abbey Commonwealth day service on March 11, 2019 in London, England. Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year, as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth, with old ties and new links enabling cooperation towards social, political and economic development which is both inclusive and sustainable. The Commonwealth represents a global network of 53 countries and almost 2.4 billion people, a third of the worlds population, of whom 60 percent are under 30 years old. Each year the Commonwealth adopts a theme upon which the Service is based. This years theme A Connected Commonwealth speaks of the practical value and global engagement made possible as a result of cooperation between the culturally diverse and widely dispersed family of nations, who work together in friendship and goodwill. The Commonwealths governments, institutions and people connect at many levels, including through parliaments and universities. They work together to protect the natural environment and the ocean which connects many Commonwealth nations, shore to shore. Cooperation on trade encourages inclusive economic empowerment for all people - particularly women, youth and marginalised communities. The Commonwealths friendly sporting rivalry encourages people to participate in sport for development and peace. (Photo by Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Members of Britain's Royal family leave after attending the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London, Monday, March 11, 2019. Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year, as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth - a global network of 53 countries and almost 2.4 billion people, a third of the world's population, of whom 60 percent are under 30 years old. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, Pool) (Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge stands with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex at Westminster Abbey for a Commonwealth day service on March 11, 2019 in London, England. Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year, as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth, with old ties and new links enabling cooperation towards social, political and economic development which is both inclusive and sustainable. The Commonwealth represents a global network of 53 countries and almost 2.4 billion people, a third of the worlds population, of whom 60 percent are under 30 years old. Each year the Commonwealth adopts a theme upon which the Service is based. This years theme A Connected Commonwealth speaks of the practical value and global engagement made possible as a result of cooperation between the culturally diverse and widely dispersed family of nations, who work together in friendship and goodwill. The Commonwealths governments, institutions and people connect at many levels, including through parliaments and universities. They work together to protect the natural environment and the ocean which connects many Commonwealth nations, shore to shore. Cooperation on trade encourages inclusive economic empowerment for all people - particularly women, youth and marginalised communities. The Commonwealths friendly sporting rivalry encourages people to participate in sport for development and peace. (Photo by Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge talks with the Meghan, Duchess of Sussex at Westminster Abbey Commonwealth day service on March 11, 2019 in London, England. Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year, as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth, with old ties and new links enabling cooperation towards social, political and economic development which is both inclusive and sustainable. The Commonwealth represents a global network of 53 countries and almost 2.4 billion people, a third of the worlds population, of whom 60 percent are under 30 years old. Each year the Commonwealth adopts a theme upon which the Service is based. This years theme A Connected Commonwealth speaks of the practical value and global engagement made possible as a result of cooperation between the culturally diverse and widely dispersed family of nations, who work together in friendship and goodwill. The Commonwealths governments, institutions and people connect at many levels, including through parliaments and universities. They work together to protect the natural environment and the ocean which connects many Commonwealth nations, shore to shore. Cooperation on trade encourages inclusive economic empowerment for all people - particularly women, youth and marginalised communities. The Commonwealths friendly sporting rivalry encourages people to participate in sport for development and peace. (Photo by Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (foreground centre), sits with Prince William, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, front row, Prince Andrew, background right, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on March 11, 2019 in London, England. Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year, as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth - a global network of 53 countries and almost 2.4 billion people, a third of the world's population, of whom 60 percent are under 30 years old. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 5: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a reception to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the investiture of the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace on March 5, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
(L-R) Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a reception to mark the 50th Anniversary of the investiture of The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in London on March 5, 2019. - The Queen hosted a reception to mark the Fiftieth Anniversary of the investiture of Britain's Prince Charles, her son, as the Prince of Wales. Prince Charles was created The Prince of Wales aged 9 on July 26th 1958 and was formally invested with the title by Her Majesty The Queen on July 1st 1969 at Caernarfon Castle. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read DOMINIC LIPINSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
KING'S LYNN, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 25: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate on December 25, 2018 in King's Lynn, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
KING'S LYNN, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 25: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate on December 25, 2018 in King's Lynn, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
KING'S LYNN, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 25: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attend Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate on December 25, 2018 in King's Lynn, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
(L-R) Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex arrive for the Royal Family's traditional Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, eastern England, on December 25, 2018. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 11: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Centenary Of The Armistice Service at Westminster Abbey on November 11, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
(L-R) Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Westminster Abbey to attend a service to mark the centenary of the Armistice in central London on November 11, 2018. (Photo by Paul Grover / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read PAUL GROVER/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (L) Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, (C) and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex react during the wedding ceremony of Britain's Princess Eugenie of York to Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on October 12, 2018. (Photo by Owen Humphreys / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read OWEN HUMPHREYS/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 14, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage )
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 14, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage )
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 14, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage )
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 1O: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to view a flypast to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force (RAF) on July 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 10: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a ceremony to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018 in London, England. The 100th birthday of the RAF, which was founded on on 1 April 1918, was marked with a centenary parade with the presentation of a new Queen's Colour and flypast of 100 aircraft over Buckingham Palace. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.