Queen Elizabeth has issued a royal statement directly to President Trump—and it's a poignant one that addresses the current situation in granddaughter-in-law Meghan Markle's home state of California. Wildfires have been destroying property and acreage in the state since November 8, when three destructive fires broke out. One, the Camp Fire, in the northern part of the state, was still just 50 percent contained as of Friday night. Along the way it has taken down almost 10,000 homes and killed more than 70 people, making it the deadliest fire in California's history (more than 1,000 people are still missing as well). The Woolsey Fire in Ventura County, thankfully, is at 82 percent containment as of Friday night, and the Hill Fire has been completely contained.
The situation, without overstatement, is dire. And Queen Elizabeth's message to Trump is a heartfelt statement, expressing sympathy for those who have lost everything in the fires and paying tribute to the first responders putting their lives on the line to bring these blazes under control.
"Prince Philip and I offer our deepest sympathies to the people of California, who continue to suffer from the devastating fires across the state," she wrote. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victims, and to all those who have lost their homes and livelihoods. I pay tribute to the courage and dedication of the US emergency services and the volunteers that have provided support."
Her Majesty's words are a sharp turn from Trump's initial rhetoric. As the fires broke out, rather than pledging resources to the area set ablaze, he blamed the problem on "forest mismanagement."
"There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor," he tweeted on November 10. "Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!"
His tone seems to have shifted on Saturday, when he flew out to the state to see the destruction for himself, tweeting that he was looking forward to "being with our brave Firefighters, First Responders, and FEMA."
The same day, the White House Twitter account reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had deployed "hundreds of personnel" and "dozens of air resources" to help with containing the remaining Camp and Woolsey fires.
Earlier on Saturday, the fires were also declared a public health emergency, with air quality in Northern California currently the worst in the world.
As Californians grapple with the fires—and begin the long, slow road to rebuilding and recovery—they could use any donations, products, or time volunteers can give. If you're able to give even a small amount, community organizations are in need of resources. Check out our handy guide for where to donate.