The important reason Prince William and Kate Middleton didn't attend the Royal Ascot revealed

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge skipped the British horseracing event on Tuesday for a far more important engagement

Why William and Kate didn't attend the Royal Ascot revealed
(Image credit: Getty)

Prince William and Kate Middleton skipped the Royal Ascot on Tuesday to attend a memorial for the Grenfell Tower tragedy, before meeting with its survivors and those who lost loved ones in the devastating fire. 

Prince William and Kate Middleton missed Day One of the Royal Ascot yesterday, choosing to attend a memorial for the Grenfell Tower victims on the fifth anniversary of the tragedy. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made an unannounced visit to the West London site of the 14 June 2017 deadly fire on Tuesday, where they joined a multi-faith service at the foot of the towers in remembrance of the 72 people who had lost their lives in the devastating incident. 

The poignant ceremony, organized by Grenfell United, included choir performances, readings, and prayers, and was attended by hundreds of people from the local community. 

William, 39, and Kate, 40, also participated in 72-long-second silence for the deceased victims and laid wreaths and flowers in their honor. 

Kate and WIll

(Image credit: Getty)

Before the ceremony, the couple privately met with survivors of the fire and those who had been bereaved. Over 70 people had also been left injured by the blaze, which was caused by a malfunctioning fridge freezer on the fourth floor of the tower. A Grenfell Tower Inquiry in 2019 found that the cladding panels, which were noncompliant with British building regulations, were the “primary cause” of the fire's rapid spread up the block. 

This isn't the first time that the Royal Family has paid a visit to Grenfell, which is located just a couple of miles down the road from the Cambridges' main residence of Kensington Palace

Two days after the fire occurred, the Queen and Prince William met with victims of the fire at a nearby relief center. Her Majesty commended the "bravery" of the firefighters and the "incredible generosity" of the army of volunteers that had banded together to help those affected by the horrific event. At the end of their 45-minute-long visit, Prince William was heard promising residents, "I'll be back", before climbing into his vehicle. 

The Duke privately met with victims of the Grenfell fire again in 2019 at the launch of a new charity, the National Emergencies Trust (NET), which was set up to improve fundraising and distribution of resources following disasters.

"It takes so long to get back to normal again," he said during his speech. "Following Grenfell, there was a huge outpouring of support but it seems like it wasn't well-targeted.

"I'm impressed about how willing the charity sector has been to learn the lessons from previous responses, and to ensure that the quickest and most appropriate support is offered to those affected."

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.