Kate and Prince William held a meeting earlier today with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and the country’s First Lady Olena Zelenska, Kensington Palace has confirmed. The private audience took place at Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s working residence in London.
The royals were photographed sitting in front of the presidential couple, laughing with them.
This key engagement was hailed as a clear proof the Queen fully trusts the Cambridges to represent her, according to royal fans.
Royal watcher Kayla Adams wrote on Twitter: “The fact that the Cambridges are holding an audience with the President just shows how must trust the Queen has in them.”
Similarly, Twitter user Jessica wrote: “Making things happen.
“Good for them, what an honour and shows the trust your Queen has on them.
“They are exemplary! Bravo to your future King and Queen.”
Fan account CambridgeRoyall also highlighted how Kate and William have stepped up to the plate since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, when the Queen had to stop carrying out face-to-face engagements to protect her health.
They wrote: “The future Prince and Princess of Wales are levelling up their game!”
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Royal watcher RoyalArjan added: “King and Queen in the making.”
During the meetings, the couples rigidly followed social distancing rules in place in the UK and stood two metres apart from each other.
The pairs also refrained from shaking their hands.
The arrival of Mr Zelensky and Ms Zelenska to the UK was recorded in the Court Circular, the official record of each engagement carried out by royals on behalf of the Crown.
The entry, dated October 6, read: “Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst (Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Essex) was present at Stansted Airport, London, this evening upon the Arrival of The President of Ukraine and Mrs Zelenska and welcomed Their Excellencies on behalf of The Queen.”
The Ukrainian presidential couple travelled to London with a ministerial delegation.
Their visit will end on Thursday, when Mr Zelensky will sign the Political, Free Trade and Strategic Partnership Agreement with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
This is Kate and Prince William’s first engagement at Buckingham Palace since the monarch’s return to Windsor Castle.
Earlier today the palace confirmed the monarch has returned to her home in Berkshire, from which she will resume work after a two-month summer break.
The Queen left Windsor for Balmoral Castle alongside with Prince Philip in early August.
There, the couple were visited by members of the Royal Family including the Cambridges and the Wessexes.
Pregnant Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank were also spotted arriving at the Queen’s Scottish home in late August.
In mid-September the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh cut short their holidays in Scotland to spend a few weeks privately at Sandringham.
While the Queen has returned to southern England, the Duke remained at his home in Norfolk, which has become his main residence since he retired from public duties in August 2017.
Buckingham Palace announced in early September the monarch’s intention to travel between London and Windsor to carry out a few engagements at her palace.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “Subject to the finalisation of the autumn programme, Her Majesty’s intention is to return to Windsor Castle in October and to resume the use of Buckingham Palace for selected audiences and engagements.
“These plans will be kept under review and will of course be subject to all relevant guidance and advice.”
The palace has since cancelled all the remaining ceremonies scheduled for this year – but it appears plans for the monarch to carry out a few selected engagements are still in place.
ITV royal editor Chris Ship wrote on Twitter last week: “Buckingham Palace has decided to cancel all receptions and investitures for the rest of the year.
“They have concluded they cannot accommodate large numbers of people at the palace due to social distancing requirements.”
He added: “It remains the Queen’s intention to live at Windsor Castle but still to use Buckingham Palace for certain official duties and engagements.
“Obviously, we now know they will only be very small ones, not any that necessitate a large crowd of people.”