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The Queen and Prince William meet Grenfell Tower fire victims

Her Majesty, 91, and her grandson Prince William paid their respects to the fire victims

by Ainhoa Barcelona

The Queen and Prince William have visited the site of the Grenfell Tower fire in north Kensington where they met residents and volunteers. Her Majesty, 91, and her grandson paid a visit to the Westway Community Centre, where many residents sought emergency shelter following the terrifying blaze. Volunteers have been working at the centre to sort through the thousands of donations of clothes, baby formula, toiletries and more.

The Queen spoke to members of the police force as well as volunteers and residents. Her visit comes after Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visited the fire site earlier this week, as well as celebrities including Adele and Rita Ora, who helped sort donations.

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Prince William and the Queen visited the site of the fire

Her Majesty's surprise and previously unannounced visit struck a chord with members of the public. Social media users took to Twitter in their droves to praise the monarch and her grandson for their "thought" and "empathy". "So so pleased the queen and prince William has gone to London Fire, sad to meet her people in these circumstances, bless her," wrote one Twitter fan. William was unaccompanied by his wife Kate, who was attending the 1851 Trust Roadshow on the other side of town.

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The royals were given a tour of the volunteer centre

On Thursday, the Queen paid tribute to the "bravery" of firefighters who battled the fire and praised the "incredible generosity" of volunteers offering their support. In a statement, she wrote: "My thoughts and prayers are with those families who have lost loved ones in the Grenfell Tower fire and the many people who are still critically ill in hospital. Prince Philip and I would like to pay tribute to the bravery of firefighters and other emergency services officers who put their own lives at risk to save others," the statement read. "It is also heartening to see the incredible generosity of community volunteers rallying to help those affected by this terrible event."

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So far the Met Police have confirmed that 17 people have died following Wednesday morning's blaze. Dozens are still missing, with the BBC estimating that as many as 76 are unaccounted for. Nearly 80 people are being treated in six hospitals around the city; 12 remain in critical care. The London Fire Brigade said the search for missing people will be a "slow and painstaking process", but members of the public have praised the firefighters for their acts of bravery.