Princess of Wales visits Ukrainian Community Centre in Reading

Catherine learnt how families were doing after six months in the UK

Thursday saw The Princess of Wales visit a Ukrainian Community Centre, in her hometown of Reading. 

Catherine took the opportunity to praise the ‘bravery and resilience’ of those who have been forced to leave Ukraine with their children, following the Russian invasion.

Embed from Getty Images

The Princess didn’t waste anytime in speaking to mothers and grandmothers who had to to flee the war-torn country. 

Nadia Shcherbyna told Her Royal Highness how some families were concerned about their future accommodation, as their initial six-month deals to stay with families in the UK were coming to an end. Kate replied: ‘You worry about what the future holds. What you have all been through it’s right that as a nation we help.’

Another mother, Galina Bolebrukh, was brought to tears as she told the Princess about her devastating story of avoiding the bombing in Kyiv. Bolebrukh commented on how she had to leave her husband fighting on the front line. The mother-of-one apologised as she wiped away a tear, and the Royal said: ‘It’s understandable everything you have experienced. I wish we could do more.’

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

The sweetest moment during the visit came from five-year-old Zlata Yeromenko, who handed the mother of three a drawing with the words ‘Kate I love you’.

The Princess of Wales also took part in a painting session with the children and was overheard talking to a little girl about whether she felt safe living in UK.

The Princess of Wales visits the Reading Ukrainian Community Centre to meet displaced Ukrainian families and hear about the support the Centre is providing to those arriving in the UK as a result of the conflict in Ukraine (Paul Edwards/WPA-Pool)

During the visit Catherine said to users of the centre: ‘It’s still all going on and you have loved ones and family in Ukraine they still see the horrors of war every day. I am so impressed at your bravery and resilience I am overwhelmed by how strong you all are. It must be so helpful now you have found a community. Not being together and not having support must be very difficult.’

She also acknowledged the feeling of helplessness when the conflict began amongst UK citizens, saying that ‘everyone was really keen to support but not sure how to.’

Embed from Getty Images

Speaking to The Princess at the end of her visit, Antonio Gresko, chairman of the Centre, said: ‘Thank you for your support but also please thank the whole of the Royal Family for their support.’

Kate replied how it was the ‘least we could do and wish we could do more.’ HRH was presented with a basket of homemade Ukrainian bread and salts.

The visit come after The Prince and Princess’ Royal Foundation joined forces with the First Lady of Ukraine’s team in working to develop a mental health strategy to address the impact the ongoing conflict is having upon Ukrainians.

The Princess met the First Lady of Ukraine at Buckingham Palace in September, when she was in London for the late Queen’s funeral.

The Princes of Wales met the First Lady of Ukraine in September 2022. (Kensington Palace)

The Royal Family have been supporting Ukrainian refugees since the start of the war. 

Earlier this year, the then-Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in London, to learn about the efforts being made to support Ukrainians in the UK and across Europe.

The late Queen met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and made a subtle tribute to the Ukrainians with her floral display back in July. On the table behind the pair was a large bouquet of flowers that were light blue and yellow, symbolising the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

At the time, Prince Charles visited St. Luke’s Church at Earl’s Court, London, to learn about Holy Trinity Brompton’s refugee response program. He said: ‘For me, it is an immeasurable tragedy that so much death and destruction exists around the world at this present time, leading to such utter misery for so many people who have to leave their countries like you have.’

Share this

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.