The Princess of Wales began her first solo engagement under her new senior title in an audience with Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska at Buckingham Palace on Sunday.
Kate was created Princess of Wales by her father-in-law, King Charles III, after the death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8, when the new monarch officially created his son William, Prince of Wales – a title for which the present king had held for over fifty years.
Kate is the first royal to bear the title Princess of Wales since her late mother-in-law Princess Diana, who died 25 years ago this year.
King Charles III made it clear in his first address to the nation how much he values his son and daughter-in-law and the prominent roles they will play in his reign for years to come.
“Today I am proud to create something [William] Prince of Wales, Tywysog Cymru, the country whose title I have had the privilege of bearing for so many years of my life and duty,” he said a day after the Queen’s death.
“With Catherine by his side, I know our new Prince and Princess of Wales will continue to inspire and lead our national conversations and help bring the marginalized front and center where vital aid can be delivered.”
As Princess of Wales, Kate is now the oldest female member of the royal family behind Queen Camilla and as such will take on more of the royal duties.
The first of those duties, which she undertook alone, took place at Buckingham Palace on Sunday, where she formally received Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska.
Zelenska is representing her country at the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London. It was deemed too dangerous for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to travel himself as Ukraine continues to fight an invasion by Russian forces.
Photos released of the meeting between the Princess and First Lady show both women dressed in mourning black sitting face to face in a room at Buckingham Palace.
This wasn’t the first time the two women met. In 2020, Zelenska and her husband were received at the palace by both Kate and William on behalf of the Queen.
The Presidential couple visited the UK as part of a major European tour to meet with leaders to discuss rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia.
In the days following their meeting, Zelensky met with then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and then-Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, where it was announced that the UK would be providing £5million in humanitarian aid to help Ukraine.
When conflict between the two nations finally broke out in February, William and Kate sent a personal message of support to the Ukrainian people and fondly remembered their meeting with the Zelenskys. It said: “In October 2020 we had the privilege of meeting President Zelenskyy and the First Lady to hear of their hope and optimism for Ukraine’s future.
“Today we stand with the President and all the people of Ukraine as they bravely fight for that future, W&C.”
In response to this news, the President released a tweet thanking the couple for their support.
“Olena and I are grateful to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge @RoyalFamily for standing by our country and supporting our brave citizens at this crucial time as Ukraine bravely stands up to Russian invasion. Good will prevail,” he said.
This caused some controversy at the time, as the first members of the British royal family to speak out in favor of Ukraine following the outbreak of conflict on the country’s western border with Russia were Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
After releasing a statement through their Archewell Foundation and reaffirming their support in a speech at the NAACP awards in February, the couple faced criticism online, including from British columnist Piers Morgan, who tweeted in response: “Putin really will to confuse.”
columnists out The Daily Mail and The sun also targeted the couple to publicly show their support.
Despite their messages of support, President Zelensky did not release a public statement of thanks to the Sussexes.
For Kate, being a meeting with diplomatic undertones, her first solo role as Princess of Wales signifies the important role and responsibility she is now taking on.
Throughout her marriage, the queen has been slow to take on more responsibility and find her own feet with causes she feels most passionate about.
The high-profile nature of the meeting, which took place ahead of the Queen’s state funeral at Buckingham Palace, is a responsibility not shared with the last Princess of Wales, Diana, during her marriage.
During the state funeral, the princess will play a prominent role, litigating with her husband and their two children, Prince George, 9, and Princess Charlotte, 7, behind the Queen’s coffin in Westminster Abbey.
https://www.newsweek.com/kate-ukraine-olena-zelenska-first-solo-duty-princess-wales-buckingham-palace-1744043 Kate meets Olena Zelenska from Ukraine in her first solo role as the Princess of Wales