Kate Middleton Meets with Olena Zelenska, First Lady of Ukraine, at Buckingham Palace

·3 min read
Britain's Catherine, Princess of Wales (L) speaks with First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska (L) during a meeting at Buckingham Palace on September 18, 2022. - Britain was gearing up Sunday for the momentous state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II as King Charles III prepared to host world leaders and as mourners queued for the final 24 hours left to view her coffin, lying in state in Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor / POOL / AFP) (Photo by KIRSTY O'CONNOR/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Britain's Catherine, Princess of Wales (L) speaks with First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska (L) during a meeting at Buckingham Palace on September 18, 2022. - Britain was gearing up Sunday for the momentous state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II as King Charles III prepared to host world leaders and as mourners queued for the final 24 hours left to view her coffin, lying in state in Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor / POOL / AFP) (Photo by KIRSTY O'CONNOR/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

KIRSTY O'CONNOR/POOL/AFP via Getty Catherine, Princess of Wales speaks with First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, during a meeting at Buckingham Palace on September 18

Kate Middleton held a special audience with Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska at Buckingham Palace on Sunday in her new role as the Princess of Wales.

The Princess of Wales, 40, and the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared deep in conversation in a photo that was released following their private meeting.

Zelenska, 44, is set to attend the Queen's funeral on Monday on behalf of Ukraine. She is among 500 dignitaries and world leaders who have traveled to London to pay their respects to the late monarch at her funeral.

President Zelensky, who has been praised by members of the royal family for his leadership amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, is understood to remain in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin was reportedly not invited to Queen Elizabeth's funeral.

Kate and her husband Prince William have previously said they "stand" with "all of Ukraine's people."

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LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Prince William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales during a lunch held for governors-general of the Commonwealth nations at Buckingham Palace on September 17, 2022 in London, England. Foreign dignitaries, heads of state and other VIPs are among the thousands who have visited Westminster Hall to view Queen Elizabeth II lying in state prior to her funeral on Monday. The 96-year-old monarch died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Prince William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales during a lunch held for governors-general of the Commonwealth nations at Buckingham Palace on September 17, 2022 in London, England. Foreign dignitaries, heads of state and other VIPs are among the thousands who have visited Westminster Hall to view Queen Elizabeth II lying in state prior to her funeral on Monday. The 96-year-old monarch died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Kate Middleton attend a lunch held for governors-general of the Commonwealth nations at Buckingham Palace on September 17

In April, the royal couple visited the headquarters of the Disaster Emergency Committee in London to learn more about their work to support people affected by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In March, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made a surprise visit to the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in London to hear about the efforts being made to support Ukrainians in the U.K. and across Europe. They met with members of the Ukrainian community and volunteers to learn about services being offered at the center as well as the challenges they continue to face.

They also brought homemade chocolate brownies and granola bars from Kensington Palace for the volunteers.

Prince William and Princess Catherine visit troops
Prince William and Princess Catherine visit troops

Dan Kitwood/Getty Prince William and Kate Middleton

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge previously offered words of support for Ukraine in a statement shared on their joint @KensingtonRoyal Twitter account.

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"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," the statement from the couple said. "Today we stand with the President and all of Ukraine's people as they bravely fight for that future."

Prince William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales view floral tributes at Sandringham
Prince William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales view floral tributes at Sandringham

Chris Jackson/Getty Images Prince William and Kate Middleton

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The death of Queen Elizabeth brought many changes to the royal family, including a shift in the line of succession, which resulted in title changes for many senior royals.

As Kate becomes known as the Princess of Wales, which William's mother, the late Princess Diana, once held, a royal source tells PEOPLE, "the new Princess of Wales appreciates the history associated with this role but will understandably want to look to the future as she creates her own path."