Madeleine McCann's sister Amelie, 18, speaks out for the first time since her sibling disappeared
Amelie McCann and her twin brother Sean were just two when their elder sister went missing in 2007
and live on Freeview channel 276
The sister of missing girl Madeleine McCann has spoken in public for the first time. Amelie McCann, who is now 18, spoke at a vigil to mark the sixteenth anniversary of her elder sister’s disappearance.
Amelie told the crowd at the vigil, which was held on Wednesday (3 May) in the McCann’s hometown of Rothley, Leicestershire, that it was "nice to have everyone together” although it was a "sad occasion”, as reported by The Telegraph. She was also pictured lighting a candle for her sibling, who was three when she went missing in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on 3 May 2007.
Amelie was joined at the vigil by her parents Gerry and Kate McCann, but her twin brother Sean was not present. Gerry and Kate did not speak at the vigil, but they did publish a short statement on the official Find Madeleine Campaign website, which read: “Today marks the 16th anniversary of Madeleine’s abduction. Still missing . . . still very much missed. It is hard to find the words to convey how we feel. The police investigation continues, and we await a breakthrough. Thank you to everyone for your support – it really helps.”
The vigil comes just weeks after Polish woman Julia Wendell claimed she was missing Madeleine, who would now be 20. Wendell, who is 21, first began claiming she was Madeleine in summer 2022 and even went on a US talk show to discuss her belief, despite her own parents urging her not to, but DNA results released in April officially disproved her claim.
Who are Madeleine McCann’s siblings?
Kate and Gerry McCann had three children: Madeleine is the eldest and was born on 12 May 2003, and twins Amelie and Sean were born on 1 February 2005. Amelie and Sean were sleeping in the same room as Madeleine in their holiday apartment in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz on the night she went missing.
When Kate, who had been dining in a nearby restaurant with her husband and their friends, went to check on the children at around 10pm on 3 May she found the twins sleeping in their beds but Madeleine was missing.
In the years that followed there have been various investigations from both Portuguese and British police, costing millions of pounds, in an attempt to discover what happened to her. The Home Office also confirmed earlier this year that they received an application for further funding for the investigation, and it is thought that police will be given thousands of pounds to help them continue to look for Madeline.
While the search for Madeleine remains high profile, the McCanns have made an effort to keep their two younger children out of the spotlight. Amelie and Sean were photographed during the earlier days of the investigation as they joined their parents at various times, including return visits to Portugal. The brother and sister had not, however, been photographed since they were children prior to the latest photos of Amelie being released.
A court order had been put in place to stop the media from photographing Amelie and Sean to protect their privacy until they were adults themselves. That order expired on 1 February this year, which was their 18th birthday, meaning that the twins could be pictured for the first time since they were little.
It is reported that Amelie, who attended Catholic school De Lisle College in Loughborough, Leicestershire, with her twin, is hoping to continue her education and is now considering which university she would like to attend. Details about Sean’s future plans have not been reported. It is thought that De Lisle College kept a place open for Madeleine during what would have been her school years due to hopes that she would be found.
What has been said about the McCann twins previously?
Kate and Gerry McCann have spoken about the twins at various points over the last 16 years, and have always said that they miss their elder sister.
Speaking in 2011, Kate revealed that her son, who was then only six, had promised to always continue to look for Madeleine. In an interview with The Mirror, she said: “Sean said to me recently, ‘When you’re old me and Amelie will look for Madeleine’”. Their mum added that the twins could remember going on the holiday to Portugal and realising that their big sister had gone. In the same interview, Kate said they still include Madeleine in everything they do. She said: “If they have sweets they ask if they can put the last one in her room. We’ve been as honest as we can. They know that Madeleine was stolen. They call the person who took her ‘the naughty man’.”
In an interview with The Sun, on the day Amelie and Sean turned 13 in 2018, Kate said the pair had "grown up essentially without Madeleine but knowing their sister is missing and they want her back”. She added: "They have their own friends and they keep busy and they're really sporty but their only wish is for their big sister to come home. We miss our complete family of five.”
In her personal memoir, “Madeleine”, which was written in 2011, Kate also recalled how excited Madeleine was for the arrival of her younger siblings. She wrote: “Gerry brought Madeleine in to meet her little brother and sister. When she saw Sean and Amelie her eyes lit up, her mouth opened wide in astonishment and wonder and she lifted her arms in the air. My heart was ready to explode at her excitement.”
Kate and Gerry have also previously spoken about how they do their best to celebrate special occasions for the twins, although they don’t feel right without their eldest child. Writing on the Find Madeleine Campaign website earlier this year, the pair said: “Celebratory events will never be the same with our family incomplete, but we continue to make the best of our situation whilst never forgetting or giving up.”
From our sister title PeopleWorld: How much has Madeleine McCann’s case cost as sister Amelie speaks publicly