MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II met Thursday with children injured in the Manchester concert bombing, consoling them and pronouncing the attack at an event attended by so many young people “wicked.”
The 91-year-old monarch visited Evie Mills, 14, Millie Robson, 15, and other youngsters recovering from severe shrapnel wounds at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
“It’s dreadful. Very wicked, to target that sort of thing,” the queen told Evie and her parents.
Millie, wearing an Ariana Grande T-shirt, told the queen she had won VIP tickets to the pop star’s Monday night concert at Manchester Arena and been injured in the bombing attack after the end of the show. The teenager said she felt fortunate to have survived.
“I have a few, like, holes in my legs and stuff, and I have a bit of a cut, and my arm and just a bit here, but compared to other people I’m quite lucky really,” she said.
The queen broke her normal custom of wearing a matching outfit by visiting the children in a blue coat topped with a jaunty orange hat — as if to try to lighten the gloom.
Elizabeth told Millie she thought Ariana Grande was a “very good singer,” adding, “She sounds very, very good.”
Millie was one of 12 children under the age of 16 taken to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital by ambulance after the blast that killed 22 people and the suspected bomber.
She said she was walking toward the exit to meet her father when the bomb went off. She remembers the explosion, an intense ringing in her ears, and people screaming. Millie didn’t know it right away, but she was bleeding badly from her legs.
“My dad ran over to me and picked me up and then like, we tied jumpers (sweaters) and stuff around the main wounds in my leg,” she recalled Thursday. “He just picked me and we ran outside and then a lot of paramedics outside and strangers were just helping us, really.”
It was a parent’s nightmare. Her father, David Robson, said he was with his partner waiting for Millie when the explosion happened.
“It was surreal, it was just quiet,” Robson said. “And I saw Millie, at the bottom of the stairs, I just ran down, picked her up.”
He was running from the scene when he noticed her bleeding legs. They used a sweater and a shirt to try to staunch the flow and keep her alive.
“I just said, ‘Look at me, just don’t look anywhere else,'” the father said. “Because it was just, obviously as you can imagine, carnage, bodies and stuff.”
Emergency teams eventually helped treat Millie and got her to the hospital. She was well enough Thursday to enjoy the queen’s visit.
“She is lovely,” the teen said. “It’s like mind-blowing, really.”