The Duke of Cambridge – formerly known as Prince William – has added his voice to the messages of support for victims of the Alberta flooding.
In a statement released Monday through the Canadian Secretary to The Queen, the Duke sent a message on behalf of himself and his bride, the former Kate Middleton.
"Catherine and I have been saddened to learn of the deaths and destruction caused by the unprecedented flooding throughout the Province of Alberta. Please pass on our best wishes to the Lieutenant-Governor and Premier of Alberta and to the brave emergency services and all those volunteering to help their neighbours during this on-going period of intense efforts. Please be assured of our continued thoughts and prayers for all those caught up in the flooding," the statement says.
The rare statement comes as the City of Calgary says water levels on the Bow and Elbow rivers have begun receding. On Monday, the vast majority of that city's residents were allowed to return to their homes. Other communities, including the town of High River, remain on evacuation orders.
After the statement was issued, Premier Alison Redford took to Twitter to thank the Duke and Duchess "for their support of those affected" by the floods.
Also on Monday, the province pledged $1-billion in initial support for flood costs. The final total is expected to be higher, and the federal government says it will cover as much of 90 per cent of the costs.
The Duke and Duchess are become well-versed in Alberta's natural disasters. During their tour of Canada in 2011, they made a surprise stop in Slave Lake, Alta., visiting a town rebuilding after a wildfire swept in and forced a sudden evacuation. The Royal couple then proceeded on to Calgary, visiting the Stampede. On Monday, Stampede officials pledged that event – scheduled to begin July 5 – would continue "come hell or high water," the flooding notwithstanding.