Queen meets Ukraine’s first lady at Clarence House

The Queen has met Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska at Clarence House.

Camilla welcomed the wife of the Ukrainian president to her London residence on Thursday morning.

They were pictured in conversation as they sat in the Garden Room, with their meeting coming just days after the second anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Queen Camilla meeting Olena Zelenska
Queen Camilla greeting the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, at Clarence House (Yui Mok/PA)

Camilla was also pictured placing her arm behind Ms Zelenska’s back as she guided her along a hallway ahead of their meeting.

Ms Zelenska posted a video on social media showing Camilla greeting her warmly with a kiss on both cheeks and saying: “Hello. How very nice to see you.”

She wrote that she was “delighted to personally express my gratitude to Her Majesty Queen Camilla, and in her person the whole @RoyalFamily and all people of the UK for supporting (Ukraine) and our IDPs (internally displaced persons).

“Our values are common — life, freedom, democracy. Thank you for standing up for them together today.”

The footage showed Camilla and the first lady chatting in the Garden Room.

It also focused in on the family photos on display, including portraits of the Queen Mother, the late Queen, a teenage Prince Harry, and an image of the King cradling a baby in his arms, believed to be one of his grandchildren.

The Queen and the first lady met previously in November 2022 at a Buckingham Palace reception to raise awareness of violence against women.

Ms Zelenska was a guest at the King and Queen’s coronation last May, representing her war-torn nation with its prime minister Denys Shmyhal.

Queen Camilla meeting Olena Zelenska
Queen Camilla with the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, at Clarence House (Yui Mok/PA)

She also attended the late Queen’s funeral.

The King, who is receiving ongoing treatment for cancer, remains in London but did not meet the first lady on Thursday.

Ms Zelenska thanked the Queen for the King’s message of support to Ukraine on the second anniversary of the conflict – and said how much it had meant to her nation.

Queen Camilla meeting Olena Zelenska
First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska arriving at Clarence House (Yui Mok/PA)

Camilla spoke of how the UK was thinking of Ukraine as it marked the sad milestone.

They also discussed the bravery and resilience of Ukrainians and the UK’s determination to support the nation.

Camilla thanked Ms Zelenska for her presence at the late Queen’s funeral and at Charles’s coronation.

King Charles III coronation
First lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska arriving at the coronation last year (Jacob King/PA)

They are also understood to have spoken of the impact of the war on women and children, the mental and physical scars it has left, and how the UK can assist in caring for them.

Camilla has been dubbed the monarchy’s “saviour” and praised for keeping “the show on the road” in the King’s absence, and while the Princess of Wales is recovering from abdominal surgery.

King Constantine of the Hellenes thanksgiving service
The Queen at the thanksgiving service for King Constantine on Tuesday (Chris Jackson/PA)

She led the royal family at the memorial service for King Constantine of Greece earlier this week, with the Prince of Wales also absent at the last minute due to an unexplained personal matter.

Camilla’s meeting with Ms Zelenska took place on the advice of Foreign Office and lasted around 30 minutes, the Palace said.