The Duchess of Cambridge appeared to fight back tears today over the Ukraine crisis when visiting the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in London, alongside her husband Prince William, who insisted: ‘We are all behind you.’Kate, 40, opted for a stylish £520 Alexander McQueen cashmere jumper in the blue of the nation’s flag teamed with smart black trousers when joining the Duke of Cambridge, 39, to learn about the extraordinary efforts being made to support Ukrainians in the UK and across Europe.
The duke and duchess, who revealed their eldest children have been questioning them about the conflict, brought trays of homemade chocolate brownies and granola bars with them from Kensington Palace to give to the members of the Ukrainian community and volunteers they met. Further showing their support, both William and Kate sported pins showcasing the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag underneath a white love heart, while the Duke donned a navy suit and jumper for the outing in Holland Park.
The couple heard about the services offered at the centre, the incredible amount of donations they have received following Russia’s invasion of the country and the challenges they continue to face to get material aid where it’s most needed.
William told volunteers that Britain and the rest of Europe were united behind them and spoke of the shock at seeing war on European soil.‘It’s very alien to see this in Europe. We are all behind you,’ he said. But he added that he, like many, wanted to do more to help. ‘We feel so useless,’ he said.The couple offered assistance from their charitable foundation for children and young people suffering mental health problems and trauma from the war, and said their eldest children, Prince George, aged eight, and six-year-old Princess Charlotte, had been affected by the unfolding tragedy.‘Ours have been coming home asking all about it,’ William said. ‘They are obviously talking about it with their friends at school.’
He suggested he had found it difficult discussing some of it with his children, adding he had to ‘choose my words carefully to explain what is going on’.
While taking part in helping with sorting and packaging of items donated, Kate and William also had the opportunity to speak with Saleh Saeed, CEO of the Disasters Emergency Committee to learn more about the ongoing Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal and how best the UK public can continue to support Ukraine.Thanks to the incredible generosity of the British public, the DEC have now raised over £120million for its member charities working on the ground.
During today’s event, the royal couple heard about the services offered at the social club, and were shown boxes of donations collected to help those in need.
William and Kate, who have donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal, viewed the piles of donations in boxes being collected at the centre on Wednesday.They also heard how there had been specific requests for medicines for hospitals in Ukraine, as they were shown the large amount of pharmaceutical goods amassed in the centre.At least two million people have already fled their homes to escape the conflict, with four million expected to be displaced as the Russian invasion continues. The DEC, which is made up of 15 leading UK aid charities aiming to raise funds quickly and efficiently at times of crisis overseas, said ‘generous donations’ have been made by the Queen, the Prince of Wales and William and Kate among others.
Earlier this month, William and Kate were thanked by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife after the royals said they stood with them in their fight.The supportive message from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was sent on February 26 as Putin’s forces bombarded the country.After their statement was posted to Twitter, Mr Zelensky and his wife Olena said they were ‘grateful’ for the rare political comment from the royal couple. They added the support was a boost as Ukraine continued to fight off Russia’s invasion.President Zelensky said: ‘Olena and I are grateful to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge that at this crucial time, when Ukraine is courageously opposing Russia’s invasion, they stand by our country and support our brave citizens. Good will triumph.’The Camrbidges’ February 26 post on Twitter insisted they ‘stand’ with the people of the war-torn nation, as they ‘bravely fight’ for their future.
The royal couple also recalled the ‘privilege’ of meeting President Zelensky and his wife, when they jetted into London in 2020. In a personal tweet signed by the couple, they wrote: ‘In October 2020 we had the privilege to meet President Zelenskyy and the First Lady to learn of their hope and optimism for Ukraine’s future. Today we stand with the President and all of Ukraine’s people as they bravely fight for that future.’William and Kate welcomed the Ukrainians to Buckingham Palace in October 2020 – their first audience since the start of the first Covid lockdown. The Duke and Duchess entertained President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his wife Olena in the opulent Throne Room.