London riots: Charles and Camilla hear victims' tales


The couple talked to those made homeless, to the emergency services and others affected by the disturbances

The Prince of Wales has spoken about the "sheer terror" faced by people affected by the riots in London.

The prince and the Duchess of Cornwall have visited areas in London hit by recent violence and looting.

The royals began their tour of the capital in Tottenham and then went to Hackney, Lambeth and Croydon.

In Croydon he said he was pleased the Prince's Trust was able to get involved in helping young people escape gang culture.

The prince said many of the people whose homes and businesses were damaged by the riots still felt an unease about what was to come next.

'Cry for help'

But he said there were many "wonderful characters" doing fantastic work.

Start Quote

It's not going to bring back their houses and everything they've lost, but it is recognition”

End Quote Haley Jackson

The prince spoke about the problem of gang culture, saying one way of tackling it was through building young people's self confidence and self esteem.

This echoed comments made earlier in the day in north London where he said the lack of extra curricular activities in schools was a problem.

The prince said: "I still think half the problem is that people join gangs because it is a cry for help, the fact they're looking for a framework, a sense of belonging, and a meaning.

"What's been so lacking is that sort of opportunity to allow people to be motivated and encouraged, and frankly exhausted because that's what you really want at that age."

Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall speak to youth ambassadors at the Fairbridge Prince's Trust centre in Hackney The royal couple talked to youth ambassadors in Hackney

The prince also renewed calls for a national community service scheme for young people.

The royal couple's visit came as it was announced Tottenham and Croydon would get £20m from the government for repairs and to help kick-start their economies.

Charles and Camilla broke off their summer holiday in Scotland for the visit.

They first visited Tottenham Leisure Centre where donations, such as clothes, bedding and toys, for those made homeless through the violence have been collected.

Rioting broke out in the north London area on 6 August, following a demonstration over the police shooting of a local man, Mark Duggan, two days earlier.

The violence destroyed many shops and flats on the main road and left about 200 people homeless.

Riot-hit Tottenham and Croydon are to receive £20m to kick-start economic growth and recovery

Among those to meet the royals was Barbara Bereda-Malik, 45, and her husband Omar Malik, 47, whose flat above the Carpetright store was completely destroyed in a huge blaze.

After meeting the prince, Mrs Bereda-Malik said: "It was really nice to see him and see they're concerned about our situation."

Mr Malik, a cab driver, said the council-coordinated support at the centre had been "amazing".

He added: "But at the end of the day we've got this trauma that we've been through. We are living in limbo now and it's very stressful."

Haley Jackson, a 23-year-old dance instructor, managed to shake hands with the prince as she and some friends delivered clothes, shoes and toiletries to the leisure centre.

She said: "It's not going to bring back their houses and everything they've lost, but it is recognition."

'People want change'

Youth worker Dymond Allen, 33, also greeted Prince Charles as he arrived, and said afterwards: "I think it's showing that there is some type of empathy there.

"But realistically I think the people want more change. They don't want to be sitting down talking, they want more action."

Earlier, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced the £20m fund to be shared between Tottenham and Croydon.

He said Mayor of London Boris Johnson would work with the boroughs to develop plans that may include redeveloping land for commercial use, improving transport infrastructure in Tottenham and establishing Croydon as a retail centre.

The money is in addition to £50m of recovery funding announced by the mayor last week to help areas hit by the disturbances.

The Prince's Trust said it was urging businesses to raise a further £1.5m to help young people in Manchester, Birmingham, Hackney, Tottenham and Croydon, who have been affected by the violence.

It has already raised £1m for the cause.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    @35. jg1992
    My experience of a Grammar school Combined Cadet Force was overt bullying and covert homosexuality. I don't consider this gave me a set of life skills.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    It is easy to ridicule the royals for visiting riot hit areas, but it should be remembered that HRH The Prince of Wales has been trying to improve the life chances of under-priviledged young people for decades through The Prince's Trust. He knows what he is talking about and, unlike politicians, he can speak freely without having to worry about short term popularity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    It seems that a lot of Britons no longer like Monarchy. If the Britons want Britain to become a republic, please let the Duchess of York and Prince of Wales become Queen and King of France! A lot of French feel nostalgic for monarchy. The Duchess of York seems to be a nice person.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    @33. Amergin
    .......... People are entitled to express a view without being abused.

    Hear Hear, A splendid comment with which I entirely concur.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    I can understand that empathy can make people who have suffered feel ever so slightly better. However, I don't quite understand why the empathy of the royal family is so gladly received. Good old Charlie and Chamilla are from completely different 'worlds' to the people who live in the affected areas and the idea that they can in any way empathise with the situation is absurd.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Unpatriotic monarchists, who donate out country's identity to one unelected family have little room to talk. Some unjustly criticise those they fear using 'intellectual' pejoratively. There is a compelling argument for a republic, not least on grounds of social equality, which has a direct bearing on this story. The BBC might have pointed out the privilege, the poverty and the hypocrisy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    I honestly think that if more people joined the Cadet Forces more people would have better opportunities and would be taught the ropes of life and give them the skills they need for a succesful life. It's nothing like National Service but infact a fun way to expereience life! I've done all my DofE awards,gained several qualifications and whats more it got me a place at University!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    What wonderful news - I do take it of course that the royal couple are there to invite some of those made homeless to make use of some of their surplus accommodation whilst rebuilding takes place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Skittler et al. These general criticisms are uninformed and ignorant. Why can't republicans post here? Why Blair and Brown? They could be voted out, unlike the Windsors who mystically transcend society's norms and common sense by 'birthright'. What paucity of argument; those who disagree with YOU can move out. Who the hell are you!! People are entitled to express a view without being abused.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    @29. Maidavale1
    If you dont like the way this country is headed by a Monarchy, then go and live somewhere else and stop moaning.

    If the Governing system is wrong you are duty bound to try and correct it as has been demonstrated in the middle east recently.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    @30. Skittler
    I don't want a Republic or a Monarchy. I want a Benevolent Dictatorship such as Singapore had under Lee Kuan Yew

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    The ignorance shown by a lot of the republican posters here beggars belief! Just one question for all those, 'intellectuals', would you rather have had President Blair or Brown? The Royal Family do more in a month than most of you do in a year, in fact probably a life time! It is pure jealousy and envy! Grow up!

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    There are so many miserable 'chip on shoulder' lefties leaving unhelpful, nasty and pointless arguements.
    If you dont like the way this country is headed by a Monarchy, then go and live somewhere else and stop moaning.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Impressed that Charles and Camilla have made a visit to people in most need of cheering up.

    However, they too need to be subjected to the review of overexpenditure and greed in this country, having enjoyed a £1m increase from the UK taxpayer this year. These are the people that lead our country and must accept some of the responsibility for the state it's in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Many people *do* believe that a person chooses the body and circumstance that they inhabit. They're called Buddhists. This opinion or belief system has just as much validity as any other and there's no proof either way.
    If Buddhists are right and as "do your best" is key tenet of the faith, then you have to question whether each royal has done so in their stay on earth.
    I say no.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    They should make sure they bring their brooms

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    It is of the utmost hypocrisy for these unelected, useless multi-millionaires to patronise areas of such deprivation. The people of Tottenham are paying for them whether they like it or not. The Windsors and their ilk are part of the problem NOT the solution. When this country realises it does not need glittering idols in order to recognise human worth we will gain equality and self-confidence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    @13. jt
    George III gave the entire Crown Estate to parliament to administer, consisting of a portfolio now worth £7.0 billion. The estate's surplus last year was £230m......
    He was merely restoring to 'The People' that which he and previous Monarchs had confiscated from 'The People'

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Festering discontent has been ignored by all governments for decades in this spectacle of the unimaginably rich kicking the unrelievedly dismal poor in their cramped ghettoes. It will take forty years to fix. Start by ridding ourselves of the constructed worship surrounding the unheroic, patronising Windsor dynasty and their powerful chums, narrowing the gap in this consumerist hell-on-earth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    24 Minutes ago
    Anyone who think the royal family live off the public purse is clearly ignorant...

    Gave? Who said it was it his to give in the first place? Everything the George III owned was handed down to him by his criminal ancestors.

    This country fought a long, bloody civil war to rid itself of aristocratic servitude, but then people like you brought it back.


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