Duke of Cambridge gives moving speech at opening of Manchester Arena attack memorial

Video report by ITV Granada Reports' correspondent Amy Welch.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have attended the official opening of Manchester Arena bombing memorial ahead of the fifth anniversary of the terror attack.

William and Kate joined bereaved families and some of the survivors of the attack in a private, intimate ceremony at the Glade of Light memorial close to the city's cathedral.

The Duke gave a deeply personal tribute to the still grieving loved ones of the 22 people murdered in the bombing on 22 May 2017.

William said that "as someone who lives with his own grief" it matters that those we have lost are never forgotten.

He called the city an "extraordinary place" which had refused to "look back in anger" but responded to hate with love.

Listen to Prince William's full speech at the Manchester arena attack memorial.

He told the families: "For Catherine and I it is very important that we are with you here today. To remember the 22 lives so brutally taken.

"To acknowledge the hundreds of lives that were irrevocably changed and to pay tribute to the resilience of this great city.

"I remember only too well the shock and grief on the faces of those I met when I visited Manchester in the days following the atrocity.

"Five years on I know that the pain and the trauma felt by many has not gone away.

"As someone who lives with his own grief, I also know that what often matters most to the bereaved is that those we have lost are not forgotten.

"There is comfort in remembering. In acknowledging that, while taken horribly soon, they lived. They changed our lives.

"They were loved, and they are loved. It is why memorials such as the Glade of Light are so important. Why Catherine and I so wanted to be amongst you today."

William and Kate lay flowers on the memorial for the 22 victims of the Manchester arena attack. Credit: PA images

The duke said the memorial would be a place of solace for families and for all Mancunians.

He added: "And we remember the entirety of the Manchester community who responded in the most heart-warming and life-affirming ways possible to support those affected.

"This was an attack on an evening of music. And it occurred in a city that has given the world so many songs to sing.

"When the people of Manchester gathered to pay respects to the victims just days after the atrocity, you told the world that your music would not be silenced.

"Instead, you raised your voices together and you sang a song of love that was written by some of this city's most famous sons.

"On that day you told each other that you would not look back in anger. And you showed the world the true heart of this extraordinary place. So, when we come to this memorial let's look back with love for those we lost.

"Let's look back with love for the people who cared for and protected this community.

"And let's look back with love for the ongoing strength of the great city of Manchester."

The 22 victims of the Manchester Arena Attack.

The royal couple met privately with families inside nearby Manchester Cathedral after the opening event.

The Duke previously attended the national service of commemoration at the cathedral in May 2018, marking the first anniversary of the Islamic State-inspired terror attack.

The Glade of Light is a garden memorial created as a space for reflection and remembrance.

Its centre piece is a white marble halo bearing the names of the 22 people who lost their lives.

Families of those who lost loved ones have been able to place personalised memory capsules, containing mementos and messages, inside the halo.

The Halo is the centrepiece of the Glade of Light Memorial.

Around the anniversary of the bombing every year on 22 May, the white flowers of a hawthorn tree planted at its centre will bloom.

The memorial, which opened to the public in January, is close to the scene of the bombing, where Salman Abedi detonated a device killing 22 people and injured hundreds more as they left an Ariana Grande concert at the arena.

Manchester City Council's chief executive Joanne Roney said it was a "potent symbol of how Manchester will continue to hold those who lost their lives, and everyone who was affected by those terrible events, in our hearts".

"We will never forget them," she added.

Manchester will also mark the anniversary of the bombing on 22 May and the memorial will be open to the public for people to visit.

In February a vandal caused damage worth £10,000 to the memorial.

Anwar Hosseni, 24, of Salford, has pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to the 'Glade of Light' memorial in Manchester city centre in February.

He will be sentenced at a later date.