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Royals join London attack victims at Westminster service

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/04/2017 By DANICA KIRKA, Associated Press
From left, Britain's Prince William, Kate the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry stand together after William laid a wreath after arriving for a "Service of Hope" at Westminster Abbey, two weeks after the March 22 London terror attack, in London, Wednesday, April 5, 2017. The service took place near Westminster Bridge, where Khalid Masood mowed down pedestrians before stabbing a police officer outside Parliament. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © The Associated Press From left, Britain's Prince William, Kate the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry stand together after William laid a wreath after arriving for a "Service of Hope" at Westminster Abbey, two weeks after the March 22 London terror attack, in London, Wednesday, April 5, 2017. The service took place near Westminster Bridge, where Khalid Masood mowed down pedestrians before stabbing a police officer outside Parliament. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

LONDON — Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry joined first responders and people injured in the March 22 extremist attack in London for a multi-faith service Wednesday meant to underscore the nation's resolve to remain united despite adversity.

Some 1,800 people took part in the service at Westminster Abbey, just a few hundred meters (yards) from where Khalid Masood mowed down pedestrians before fatally stabbing a police officer outside Parliament. Prayers were offered by representatives of the Muslim, Jewish, Sikh and Christian communities.

Police, ambulance workers and firefighters who helped the dying and injured stood with victims and their relatives during the service.

Injured tourist Melissa Cochran arrived at the abbey in a wheelchair. Her husband, Kurt, 54, died in the attack. The couple, from West Bountiful, Utah, had been celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary when they were caught up in the rampage.

The other people killed were police constable Keith Palmer, retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes, 75, and school administrator Aysha Frade, 44.

Police shot the 52-year-old Masood dead after he stabbed Palmer in a Parliament courtyard.

Before the service, Prince William stopped briefly to lay a wreath of red and white spring flowers at the abbey's Innocent Victims Memorial, a slate circle that remembers those who have suffered death, torture and oppression throughout the world.

The royal trio's presence underscored the ceremony's purpose of inspiring hope and looking to the future.

Prince William, his wife, Kate, and Prince Harry met in private with the victims.

A tearful Melissa Cochran told the BBC after the service that her experience has been difficult. "But Kurt would have wanted me to keep going and with such a beautiful family that I have it's been OK."

She said she felt as if the world now knows what a wonderful man her husband was — and that she has no animosity to Masood.

"I don't feel any ill will toward him," she said. "I don't know what he was feeling or thinking or anything that had been going on in his life. So I can't relate.

"I just know that unfortunately he didn't have the qualities or the beautiful heart that my husband had, so I actually kind of feel a little sorry for him. No hate."

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