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Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska meets Princess of Wales ahead of Queen’s funeral

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

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

The Princess of Wales welcomes the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, to Buckingham Palace

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The Princess of Wales welcomes the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, to Buckingham Palace

(PA)

Images capture the pair sitting side-by-side in front of a fireplace on gingham armchairs with purple orchids on display in the background.

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

Zelenska pays her respects as she passes the coffin

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Zelenska pays her respects as she passes the coffin

(AFP/Getty Images)

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

Ms Zelenska made the journey to the UK after her husband, Volodymyr Zelensky, set time aside from leading his country against Russia’s war to sign a book of condolence for the late British monarch, who died last Thursday.

Responding to the visit of the top Ukrainian official, the UK’s ambassador to the war-torn eastern European nation said she was “deeply honoured” by the president’s gesture.

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

The First Lady of Ukraine is pictured paying tribute to the British monarch second from the right on raised platform left of the coffin

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The First Lady of Ukraine is pictured paying tribute to the British monarch second from the right on raised platform left of the coffin

(PA)

The meeting of Kate and Ms Zelenska 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 trip to pay their respects to the late monarch.

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

Shortly afterward, Mr Biden also signed the condolence book for the Queen. They were then attending a reception at Buckingham Palace.

US President Joe Biden, accompanied by the First Lady Jill Biden, signs a book of condolence at Lancaster House in London

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US President Joe Biden, accompanied by the First Lady Jill Biden, signs a book of condolence at Lancaster House in London

(Reuters)

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

Mourners have been given until 6.30am on Monday to reach Westminster Hall in anticipation of tomorrow’s ceremony that will see the monarch transported to Westminster Abbey and finally to Windsor Castle.

Heads of state and overseas government representatives, including foreign royal families, governors-general and realm prime ministers will coincide at the Westminster Abbey ceremony on Monday.

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre is seen during the lying in state at Westminster Hall

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The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre is seen during the lying in state at Westminster Hall

(Getty)

Other representatives of the realms and the Commonwealth, the Orders of Chivalry including recipients of the Victoria Cross and George Cross, government, parliament, devolved parliaments and assemblies, the Church, and Her Majesty’s patronages will form the congregation, along with further representatives from law, emergency services, public servants and professions, and public representatives, totalling 2,000 people.

SOURCE: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/ukraine-first-lady-olena-zelenska-princess-of-wales-b2169903.html

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