Kate Middleton had a sit-down meeting with Olena Zelenska, the First Lady of Ukraine, ahead of them both attending Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on Monday.
The royal held a private meeting with Zelenska at Buckingham Palace on Sunday in her new official capacity as Princess of Wales. The First Lady was visiting London as she is one of 500 dignitaries and world leaders who will attend the late monarch’s funeral to pay their respects. Zelenska’s husband President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to remain in Ukraine amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of the country. Zelenskyy was been praised by many members of the royal family for his leadership and bravery. Russian President Vladimir Putin was reportedly not invited to Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.
Kate and her husband Prince William previously stated in February that they stood with “all of Ukraine’s people” during the early days of the invasion. The royal couple released a joint statement via their Twitter account @KensingtonRoyal at the time, writing: “In October 2020 we had the privilege to meet President [Volodymyr] Zelensky and the First Lady to learn of their hope and optimism for Ukraine’s future.” They continued, “Today we stand with the President and all of Ukraine’s people as they bravely fight for that future.” They concluded with an emoji of the Ukrainian flag and their initials “W & C.”
A couple weeks after announcing their support, the Prince and Princess of Wales paid a visit to London’s Ukrainian Cultural Centre where they helped sort through and pack donations bound for some of the then over 1 million refugees who had fled the country since the beginning of the Russian invasion. Both Kate and William wore matching pins for the occasion featuring the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag and Kate also wore a bright blue Alexander McQueen sweater. The royals also brought a contribution of their own, offering up some homemade brownies and granola bars to share with all the volunteers.
Some of those donations were being handled by the Disaster Emergency Committee, the charity umbrella organization that Queen Elizabeth gave a “generous” private donation to at the start of the war in Ukraine. “Many thanks to Her Majesty The Queen for continuing to support the Disasters Emergency Committee and for making a generous donation to the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal,” the group said in a tweet at the time. Disaster Emergency Committee is an umbrella organization for 15 different British charities allowing them to launch collective fundraisers and coordinated responses after disasters take place overseas.
Updates From Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral
Follow the procession and services with up-to-the-minute updates by our royal experts.
Listen to Vanity Fair’s DYNASTY podcast now.