Notre Dame Cathedral Fire: The Prince of Wales Sends Message to the President of France

Prince Charles offered his sympathy to French President Emmanuel Macron after the Notre Dame Cathedral burned in a massive fire on Monday.

"My wife and I were utterly heartbroken to learn of the terrible fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral this evening and wanted to let you know immediately how much we are thinking of yourself and the French people at this most agonizing of times, and of the emergency services who are so bravely tackling the blaze," the Prince of Wales said of himself and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

The 70-year-old continued, remarking on the Cathedral's significance for not just Paris but also internationally.

"I realize only too well what a truly special significance the Cathedral holds at the heart of your nation; but also for us all outside France it represents one of the greatest architectural achievements of Western Civilization. It is a treasure for all mankind and, as such, to witness its destruction in this most dreadful conflagration is a shattering tragedy, the unbearable pain of which we all share," he said.

"Cher Monsieur le Président, our hearts go out to you and the people of France more than you can ever know, especially in view of our experience with the devastating fire at Windsor Castle twenty-seven years ago. We send you our most profound sympathy, however inadequate that may be."

Queen Elizabeth also expressed her and husband Prince Philip's condolences to Macron. "Prince Philip and I have been deeply saddened to see the images of the fire which has engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral," Elizabeth's message said.

"I extend my sincere admiration to the emergency services who have risked their lives to try to save this important national monument. My thoughts and prayers are with those who worship at the Cathedral and all of France at this difficult time," she concluded.

Parisian officials confirmed that the fire was out Tuesday morning after it burned for nine hours starting around 6:20 p.m. on Monday. Although no one was killed in the blaze, two police officers and one firefighter were injured, and much of the Cathedral was destroyed, including about two-thirds of the roof and its famous lacy spire.

The 850-year-old landmark's iconic bell towers were able to be saved, as well as its overall structure and many relics and works of art.

"We will rebuild Notre Dame," he said. "Because that is what the French expect."

Macron stood outside the still-burning structure on Monday before the fire was completely put out and vowed to rebuild the historic cathedral via an international fundraising effort. French billionaire François-Henri Pinault, who is married to actress Salma Hayek, has already pledged 100 million euros to the effort. The family of Bernard Arnault, owners of the luxury goods group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, plans to contribute 200 million euros, according to The New York Times.


French prosecutors are investigating what caused the blaze, which is widely suspected to be an accident. The first fire alarm was triggered at 6:20 p.m., Paris prosecutor Rémy Heitz told The New York Times on Tuesday. Checks were carried out but no fire was found. A second alarm went off at 6:43 p.m., and a fire was discovered in the wooden framework of the attic.

He said that "it will be a long and complex investigation," adding that so far, the fire appears to have been an accident. "Nothing at this stage suggests a voluntary act."