Kate hosts Ukrainian first lady at Buckingham Palace

Olena Zelenska is in the UK to pay respects on her husband's behalf at Queen Elizabeth II's state funeral

Kate, Princess of Wales, left, speaks with Olena Zelenska, first lady of Ukraine, as she welcomes her to Buckingham Palace in London on Sunday. AFP
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The Princess of Wales has held an audience with the first lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska at Buckingham Palace before Queen Elizabeth II's funeral.

The UK government previously declined to confirm that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s wife would attend.

Ms Zelenska was pictured meeting Kate at the palace on Sunday afternoon.

With purple orchids on display in the background, the pair sat either side of a fireplace on gingham armchairs.

Ms Zelenska visited Westminster Hall to see the queen lying in state earlier in the day.

She made the journey to the UK after her husband took time out from organising his country’s counter-offensive against Russia to sign a book of condolence for the queen.

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The UK’s ambassador in Kyiv, Melinda Simmons, said she was “deeply honoured” by Mr Zelenskyy's gesture.

“Grateful to the president for taking the time to do this given all else that is happening in [Ukraine] at this time,” she said.

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The meeting with Ms Zelenska follows UK Prime Minister Liz Truss’s earlier audience with King Charles III in the palace’s 1844 Room.

Ms Truss has also continued informal talks with world leaders as hundreds of dignitaries descend on London for Monday’s funeral.

World leaders and royals pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II - video

Updated: September 18, 2022, 8:14 PM