The Prince and Princess of Wales visited the Aberfan Memorial Garden today to pay respects to those lost in the 1966 coal mining disaster, the worst in UK history.
More from the History Channel.
On the morning of October 21, 1966, a landslide of coal waste crashes into a small Welsh mining village, killing 116 children and 28 adults. The accident left just five survivors and wiped out half the town’s youth.
The landslide sent 140,000 cubic yards of coal waste in a tidal wave 40-feet high hurtling down the mountainside where Merthyr Vale Colliery stood, destroying farmhouses, cottages, houses and part of the neighboring County Secondary School. The avalanche is thought to have been the result of shoddy construction and a build-up of water in one of the colliery’s spoil tips—piles of waste material removed during mining.
Below, the scene in 1966 as rescue workers searched for survivors at the Pantglas Primary School.
The Memorial Garden is situated on the site of the old school.
Below, mourners at a mass funeral in 1966.
Most of the children killed in the disaster were between seven and ten years of age.
Royal Family members have visited Aberfan many times over the years. Below, you see Prince Philip and Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as she met with victims’ families a week after the disaster.
The Prince of Wales attended fiftieth-anniversary services in October 2016. In this image, he is reading a message from his mother.
From her message:
I well remember my own visit with Prince Philip after the disaster and the posy I was given by a young girl which bore the heart-breaking inscription ‘from the remaining children of Aberfan’.
Since then we have returned on several occasions and have always been deeply impressed by the remarkable fortitude, dignity and indomitable spirit that characterises the people of this village and the surrounding valleys.
The Queen is seen during her 2012 Jubilee Tour with Jeff Edwards, the last child rescued from the school.
More from ITV’s coverage.
Opened in 1974 by Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the garden commemorates the victims of the disaster, whilst also providing a place for bereaved parents, siblings, next of kin, survivors, and the whole community to pay their respects.
A brief video from today as the couple arrived at the memorial.
#PrinceWilliam and #PrincessKate are here at the Pantglas Junior School Memorial Garden in Aberfan.
They’re meeting survivors of the coal tip disaster that happened on this site in 1966. #PrinceandPrincessofWales pic.twitter.com/JV75Ek2nkv
— South Wales News (@SouthWales_News) April 28, 2023
The flowers left by the couple.
Here you see the Prince and Princess with David Davies, one of the children who survived the catastrophic event.
From The Evening Standard’s story about today’s engagement.
They met trustees from the Aberfan Memorial Trust who are involved in ensuring the maintenance of the garden, alongside some of the Aberfan Wives group who lost relatives in the disaster.
It is the first time the royal couple has been to the village near Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales.
From The Daily Mail’s coverage.
The last surviving teacher at the school, Mair Morgan, 81, told the royal couple how she was teaching five year olds at the school and regularly visits to pay her respects.
They also met the 12 surviving members of the Aberfan Wives Group set up shortly after the disaster as a group of solidarity for the women in their thirties who had lost children and partners in the avalanche.
More from The Daily Mail’s article.
In the crowd was survivor Gareth Jones, 63, who crawled out of a window of Pantglas School as his classmates were buried alive by the 150,000 tonnes of waste in the worst mining disaster on record.
Mr Jones chatted with Kate outside the memorial gardens and said: ‘I told her I was a survivor – I think she was quite surprised.
‘She said she has three little children herself and can’t imagine what we went through. She said she felt for all the bereaved parents.
‘I spoke to Prince William after, he wanted to know the effect on families in the aftermath of what happened.
‘I told him: “We just had to get on with it.”
‘The Royal Family have never forgotten us and it was lovely to see the new Prince and Princess of Wales here to pay their respects.
After touring the memorial, the royals spoke with well-wishers gathered nearby.
Below, the Princess speaks with survivor Gaynor Madgwick, who lost a brother and a sister in the disaster. She shared newspaper articles about previous royal visits.
A youngster in the crowd was fascinated by the Princess’s handbag.
One-year-old Daniel Williams liked it so much that he decided to keep it.
In this video, you can hear Daniel’s mother, Lucy Williams, say, “Okay, let’s give it back.”
This was the moment one-year-old Daniel Williams took a fancy to the Princess of Wales’ handbag as she greeted crowds in Aberfan 👜https://t.co/ZXAfIehKMR pic.twitter.com/Lbu5hAKL1M
— ITV Wales News (@ITVWales) April 28, 2023
As you can see, the Princess seemed to find it all very entertaining.
One more photo from today’s engagement.
Now for our look at what Kate wore.
She was in a Catherine Walker coat and Zara dress we have seen previously. The coat was worn last September to look at floral tributes for the late Queen at Sandringham. We saw it again in March for a visit to Hayes Muslim Centre.
The Zara dress was first worn in January 2020 (below right) for a visit to Bradford in West Yorkshire, then seen again for an engagement at University College London in October 2021 (below left).
The midi-length dress is 100% polyester in an oversized houndstooth print and features buttons up the front, a pleated skirt, a v-neck with attached bow, elastic on the inside of the waistband, button cuffs, and a wide self-belt.
As mentioned above, the Princess carried her Small Amberley Crossbody bag by Mulberry. She also wore her bespoke Gianvito Rossi boots.
The Princess also had on her Emily Mortimer Hera White Gold and Diamond Earrings (£825, about $1035 at today’s exchange rates), along with the diamond leek brooch first noted when worn in March for a St. David’s Day visit with the Welsh Guards.
Wednesday 3rd of May 2023
I know this is probably against the rules, but I come to this site to see the fashion and out of best wishes for the Princess and her family. That being said, this is the first time I can ever recall seeing her hair look truly ‘bad hair day.’ I hope all is going okay. I mean, we all have the days where we have to go somewhere without the time or desire to ‘do’ our hair and there must be a lot going on to get ready for the Coronation.
I like the whole outfit; in general this look is a good one.
Tuesday 2nd of May 2023
Her dress looks like a variation of the Prince of Wales check. If so, a very classy choice.
Monday 1st of May 2023
For those who are interested, there is a wonderful account on the Royal Family's website today, about the chairs that will be used at the Coronation. There is some amazing upholstery and embroidery going on. The Brits do pay amazing attention to details and pagaentry.
Monday 1st of May 2023
I imagine Kate carries little more than a comb, lip gloss and tissue in that bag. But it seems unnecessary to carry one when you are interacting with the crowd! Have someone else carry it. Meanwhile, not crazy about the dress' bow, but all in all seems appropriate for occasion.
Monday 1st of May 2023
Yes, it was all going so well until the front-facing picture where we can see The Bow! : ) I agree, it's a nice, restrained dress, not too gloomy but respectful. I good choice.
Sunday 30th of April 2023
I guess you can assume there were not state secrets in that handbag! Catherine handled the situation like the pro she is. She knew that someone would come behind and get the bag, allowing the mother to retrieve it from the child without fuss, embarrassment, or crying. This is the embodiment of grace.
As for the dress, this is probably my least favorite thing Catherine has ever worn. It is appropriate to the occasion, a mistake I don't think Catherine has ever made. The dress itself is fussy and frumpy in my opinion, almost 80's office chic. Flowing arms, pussy bow, pleated skirt, busy pattern....a little too much going on....to0 old for her.
Monday 1st of May 2023
@NickyT, I agree about the dress - if only one of the special effects could have ben left off, it would be a more coherent statement. The coat is a superb simple statement, no fancy touches needed, the baby's taste in purses is impeccable, and speaking as a long-time Floridian, if boots help avoid cold drafts, I'm, all for them! What a disaster that was, and I appreciate that this visit follows up the Queen's, an excellent example of the royal family's sense of obligation to their larger family.
Sunday 30th of April 2023
@NickyT, 80's office chic was very nice, but that is just my personal opinion. Opinions are always going to vary, and yours are nicely stated. The funny thing about style, though, is that what's old always seems to come around again. I just wish women weren't expected to now wear clothes cut very very close to the body, to come across as youthful. Too many times I see looser and freer and gracefully flowy clothes described you have: frumpy, mumsy, etc. I will never get why a sleek clothing silhouette is the only kind to have. I do really love the dress that the princess wore, just because it is all you say about it. I honestly love this kind of dress. To me it is very ladylike (that's a very old-fashioned term, I know, lol). Anyway your comments got me thinking and I hope that's ok.