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The Duke and Duchess Meet Ukraine Aid Workers

The Duke and Duchess Meet Ukraine Aid Workers

NOTE: This post includes photos of refugees; a heads-up for anyone for whom this may be a trigger.  

The Duchess wore familiar pieces for today’s visit to the London headquarters of the Disasters Emergency Committee

The Duke and Duchess visited the DEC to learn more about their ongoing appeal to support people affected by the war in Ukraine.  Above the royals with Saleh Saeed, the organization’s CEO.  Below, the couple speaking with Mr. Saeed and Hannah Richards, the Director of Communications.

You may remember the DEC is an entity bringing together “15 UK aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently. In these times of crisis, people in life-and-death situations need our help and our mission is to save, protect and rebuild lives through effective humanitarian response.” Below, the Duchess listens to a staff member.

The United Nations Refugee Agency estimates that 12.65 million people are directly affected by the war, stranded in a war zone, or unable to leave. Below, Bucha residents in line yesterday for humanitarian aid. 

More than 11 million people have now fled their homes, with 5 million fleeing to other countries and more than 7 million displaced within Ukraine. When the Duke and Duchess visited the Ukrainian Cultural Centre just six weeks ago, the number of people fleeing to other countries was 2 million. A little boy in the Ukrainian city of Lviv yesterday, one of more than 200,000 refugees in that city.

In Mykolaiv, people lined up for water yesterday. There has been no running water for more than a week.

Below, a mother holding her child as she arrived at the Siret border crossing between Romania and Ukraine yesterday.

Another group at the Siret border crossing this week. 

The scene at the Przemysl train station in Poland as refugees arrived earlier this month.

Refugees at a reception center in Malaga, Spain, yesterday.

Refugees leaving Zaporijia, southern Ukraine, on Easter Sunday. 

The DEC offers tangible illustrations of what donations can do: 

  • £30 could provide essential hygiene supplies for three people for one month

  • £50 could provide blankets for four families

  • £100 could provide emergency food for two families for one month

The organization’s Ukraine appeal has raised more than £300 million (about $390 million).  

The DEC posted a video about the appeal on social media. 

Today the royals met with aid workers who have recently returned from Ukraine and neighboring countries.

Below, the Duchess with Diana Hiscock and Vanessa Maynard, both aid workers.

Ms. Maynard is Programmes and Operations Officer for Christian Aid and just returned from Hungary.

….with DEC funds we’ve been responding rapidly through our existing network of local partners. We’re helping integrate refugees into the communities by supporting them with group cash so they can decide for themselves how best to address their specific needs like buying nappies, paying rent for the lodgings in host communities, or even pet food as many have fled with their animals as they couldn’t bear to leave without them.

Ms. Maynard also told the royals they provide people with “…hot meals, temporary rest in community centers, safe spaces for children to receive trauma care, and information on their rights when they arrive in the host countries.”

The couple heard from aid workers who are currently in Ukraine. 

From The Evening Standard’s coverage by Robert Jobson.  

William asked the group:  “I just want to find out a little bit about what the scene is like, what the situation is like out there… What you’re seeing at the moment and where things are at on the ground?”

The Standard story quotes Giuliano Stochino Weiss, the emergency response lead for Hungarian Interchurch Aid. 

Giuliano told them:  “I crossed into Ukraine on the third day of the conflict, it’s been really heartbreaking to see mothers and fathers and children, fathers saying goodbye to their children because they had to leave the country.

“Lviv used to be a safe city, that changed on Monday with the huge rocket attacks 4km away from the office, so it’s an ever-changing situation and I would say it’s getting worse.”

Rachael Cummings, shown lower right on the screen (below), is Health Lead for Save the Children in Ukraine. She said:

…the DEC funds have meant we’ve been able to significantly scale up our existing work in the country. We’re building our response to providing mobile health units, trauma kits, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, nutrition support and safe drinking water to respond to this crisis. We’re particularly concerned about the devastating effect on children and these funds mean that we can ensure that children receive high quality care and support now, and in the months ahead.

The Duke and Duchess also toured the DEC headquarters.

And they spoke with staff working at the headquarters. 

Another view.

The DEC’s CEO, Saleh Saeed, also noted that “DEC charities have been quickly and efficiently scaling up their work to help people inside Ukraine and refugees fleeing over the border. We are seeing the real impact of the work they are doing, whether that is incubators for babies born under bombardment in Ukraine or vital protection work to ensure that vulnerable refugees are kept safe as they flee the conflict.”

The DEC’s social media feeds showcase those fundraising for the organization.  

There is a broad mix of events and donors.

 More from The Evening Standard’s story

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have hailed the generosity of the British people as “extraordinary” and “incredible” in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

They commended the global response to the Ukraine crisis as “inspiring” as an appeal helping those impacted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine reached more than £300 million.

Now we make the difficult turn to what Kate wore for today’s engagement.

She was in the Reiss Larsson jacket (£285, about $370), a double-breasted style featuring a ticket pocket above the patch pockets, peak lapels, and a single back vent.   

The Duchess initially wore the jacket in September of last year for an engagement at the RAF Brize Norton airbase.  

She also brought back her Frieda Crepe Cigarette Trousers ($117) by LK Bennett. The style is also available at John Lewis (£125).

The cream knit top the Duchess wore has not been identified. It likely won’t be until we see it again, as little of it is visible beneath the jacket.

It looks like the Duchess wore a new pair of Ralph Lauren pumps, the Celia style in black leather ($675). The point-toe pumps are made in Italy and have a 4″ heel. The Duchess owns the style in a color called RL Gold. Thank you to Heaven for another terrific ID.

The Duchess wore her Kiki McDonough Citrine Pear Drop Earrings (£550, about $720 at today’s exchange rates).  

She also had on the “Stand with Ukraine” button seen previously. I haven’t been able to find the exact button, but there is a similar style here and other designs available on etsy


Also today, Happy Birthday to Her Majesty The Queen!  The Queen marks her 96th birthday today; she is celebrating privately at Sandringham.  Buckingham Palace released a photo of HM with two of her fell ponies, Bybeck Nightingale and Bybeck Katie.  The Daily Mail reports, “Taken in the grounds of Windsor Castle in front of a spectacular magnolia tree last month, the picture – seen on today’s front page – was released by the Royal Windsor Horse Show, which the Queen has attended every year since its inception in 1943.”

The Band of the Coldstream Guards played an appropriate melody at the changing of the guard at Windsor Castle.

A video of the musical salute. 

The Cambridges posted greetings on social media. 

As did the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.

Below, Members of the Honourable Artillery Company stand guard during the 62 Gun Royal Salute for the Queen’s Birthday, from Tower Wharf. 

In honor of the Jubilee, Mattel has released a special Queen Elizabeth II Barbie doll ($75, sold out online).  She even has on her family orders and Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara, worn on her wedding day.

The doll is shown as sold out on the Mattel site, but The Telegraph reports it “…will be sold at Harrods, Hamley’s, Selfridges, John Lewis and on Amazon.” 

I have updated the Kate’s Calendar page with the higher-profile Jubilee events in June.  No one’s attendance at the events is confirmed, but at least this gives you a general idea of the plans.


A look back at HM’s reign. 

The bells at Westminster Abbey celebrate the occasion. 

The full gun salute at Tower Bridge. 


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Friday 29th of April 2022

Kate looked lovely, as always, but in this post, I was much more focused on her face, looking at how she eloquently communicated such compassion and concern in her non verbal expressions, as did Prince William do so, very much, as well. It is clear they both care so deeply about what is happening in Ukraine. This is a very moving post. The heartbreak of that war, which causes so much pain in the world, well I just pray it will soon end.


Monday 25th of April 2022

She looks like a working professional, as she should. And thank you for the trigger warning at the top of the post, it's very helpful! On another note, I wish the doll looked more like the Queen and less like a 20 year old dressing up as HM


Sunday 24th of April 2022

It's seeing engagements like this that make me grateful that Kate has introduced tailored trousers into her wardrobe. I will always be a fan of dresses at engagements with children (who want to see a princess), and I do find the occasional culottes a fun change, but a serious meeting like this required a professional wardrobe, and I think Kate nailed it without looking too business-like. Changing from her usual suede heels to a pair of leather pumps was also a smart move.


Monday 25th of April 2022

@Larissa, I couldn't agree more!


Saturday 23rd of April 2022

Once again, I say "these are the dress pants she needs to be wearing"---not those too long and too voluminous ones that drag the ground and swamp her in fabric. This was a nice business-like, crisp, professional outfit, that telegraphed she was there to work and draw attention to the seriousness of the cause--not the fashion. I love the heels with the pants and overall this outfit was a win. I like the sleeker hair as well, although a trim would be great IMO.


Friday 22nd of April 2022

I'm really glad she nailed it with this muted smart outfit, especially for this kind of outing, because lately her fashion has been all over the place. I wished she dressed like this more often instead of those Little House on the Prairie dresses she's been favoring over the last year. It's heartbreaking to see what has taken place in Ukraine over the past 2 months (yes it's been that long) and the stories I've read are devastating and insane. Just today I read about a Ukrainian couple with two young children that ended up in Utah of all places with an American family as their host family. I hope the aid workers take time for themselves because while their work is so important, I can't imagine dealing with what they are seeing and going through.

I briefly touched on Kate's fashion but there isn't much to say as her fashion really isn't all that important here. It's a nondescript business like outfit and she should stick to this kind of look way more than she currently does.

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