Monday, October 3, 2022

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Ukrainian First Lady meets Princess of Wales

The Princess of Wales welcomed Ukraine’s First Lady to Buckingham Palace on Monday ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral.

Kate held an audience with Olena Zelenska at the royal residence on Sunday afternoon, where they were pictured talking.

Footage shows the couple sitting side by side in front of a fireplace on gingham armchairs with purple orchids in the background.

Ms Zelenska previously visited Westminster Hall to see the Queen in state.

No 10 had previously declined to confirm reports that the Ukrainian president’s wife would travel to the UK for the historic ceremony.

Zelenska made the trip to the UK after her husband, Volodymyr Zelensky, set aside time to lead his country against the war in Russia to sign a register of condolences for the late British monarch, who died last Thursday.

Commenting on the visit by the top Ukrainian official, the British ambassador to the war-torn Eastern European country said she was “deeply honored” by the president’s gesture.

“Grateful to the President for taking the time to do this given everything else that is happening in [Ukraine] right now,” said Melinda Simmons.

Kate and Mrs. Zelenska’s meeting comes after Liz Truss’s earlier audience with the king in the palace’s 1844 room.

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

It comes after President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin as part of his journey to pay their respects to the late monarch.

Biden arrived in London earlier this week to pay tribute to the Queen as part of a series of events.

Shortly after, Mr. Biden also signed the condolence register for the Queen. They then attended a reception at Buckingham Palace.

The Queen has been lying in state in London since Thursday evening, with huge lines of mourners lining the River Thames waiting more than 14 hours to visit Her Majesty’s coffin.

The mourners have until 6:30 a.m. Monday to reach Westminster Hall in anticipation of tomorrow’s ceremony, which will transport the monarch to Westminster Abbey and finally Windsor Castle.

Heads of state and representatives of foreign governments, including foreign royal families, governors-general and prime ministers of the empire, will gather at the ceremony at Westminster Abbey on Monday.

Other representatives of the Empire and Commonwealth, the orders of chivalry including recipients of the Victoria Cross and George Cross, the Government, Parliament, devolved parliaments and assemblies, the Church and Her Majesty’s patronages will form the Congregation, along with other representatives of the law, emergency services, officials and professions, and representatives of the public, totaling 2,000 people.

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