Olena Zelenska, the First Lady of Ukraine, And Catherine, Princess of Wales, Had A Surprise Meeting

It was a touching moment

Princess of Wales and Olena Zelenska

by Grazia Contributor |
Published on

Catherine, the new Princess of Wales, met Olena Zelenska, the First Lady of Ukraine yesterday, to welcome her ahead of the Queen's funeral.

The visit came as a surprise, having not been announced in advance, and was a touching and sombre moment of international unity between the two allies as Britain came to a stop to mourn its monarch.

Zelenska, the wife of the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, was pictured with the the Princess at the palace, where the pair, both dressed in mourning black, sat either side of a fireplace on gingham armchairs.

Zelenska had earlier made her way to the Queen's lying in state. The First Lady was moved to tears by the sight of Her Majesty's coffin, bowing her head before making her way from Westminster Hall, minutes before Joe and Jill Biden arrived.

Zelenska, who is expected to represent Ukraine at today’s funeral, has been deputising for her husband on state visits, and travelled to London days after he signed a book of condolence for the Queen in Kyiv.

The President wrote that the Queen’s memory 'will forever remain in the history of mankind'.

There has been speculation that Zelensky himself will appear at the funeral, although the Foreign Office denied this was true last night.

Zelenska, a longtime comedy writer, has been a symbol of Ukrainian strength beside her husband since the turn of the year. During the war, she has helped organise humanitarian aid and the evacuation of children from Ukraine. In her soft features and green-brown eyes, she is often said to capture the vast of emotions coursing through Ukraine today: deep sadness, flashes of dark humour, recollections of a safer, happier past, and a steely core of national pride.

Her first public appearance since the Russian invasion in February was when she was pictured meeting the US First Lady in May.

Zelenska met her future husband while working as a scriptwriter at a national broadcaster in Ukraine. Zelensky himself was a well-known comedian and entertainer at the time. Her introduction to Kate was a mark of the future Queen's new prominence within the Royal Family.

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