Members of the British royal family are doing what they can to support Ukrainians affected by Russia’s invasion.
On Wednesday, March 9, Prince William and Duchess Kate spent the afternoon helping sort and pack donations to be sent to those hiding from Russian president Vladimir Putin’s attacks. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived at the Ukrainian Social Club in Holland Park, London, at 2:40 pm to little commotion, as details of the engagement shared with media, including BAZAAR.com, were kept embargoed for security reasons.
Inside, the couple learned about the efforts being made to support Ukrainians in the United Kingdom and across Europe, as many continue to risk their lives to flee the country on the 14th day of the war.
Both William and Kate spent time talking with volunteers working at the center, as well as hearing about the outpouring of support and help seen from the British public. The center—which is urging people to donate money instead of items—has been sending care packages to the Ukrainian war zone that include the likes of body armor, medication, and baby items.
For the dozens of volunteers hard at work at the center, the duchess—who wore an Alexander McQueen sweater in the same blue used in the Ukrainian flag and black Jigsaw pants—handed out homemade chocolate brownies and granola bars, which she made from scratch at Kensington Palace for a much-needed energy boost. Both William and Kate wore pin badges featuring Ukraine’s flag as a gesture of solidarity with the Eastern European country.
During their conversations with volunteers, the Cambridges admitted their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis had been asking questions about the war after it was discussed in their classes at school. “Ours have been coming home asking all about it,” William said. “They are obviously talking about it with their friends at school.”
The couple also revealed they continue supporting those affected by the war through their own charitable outfit. Over the weeks and months ahead, the Royal Foundation will be helping children and young people suffering from trauma and mental health issues following the Russian attacks.
Speaking to Saleh Saeed, CEO of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)—a charity made up of 15 leading aid groups, including ActionAid, British Red Cross, and the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)—the royal pair learned about how difficult it has been to get material aid to those in need.
DEC’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal—its largest since the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean—has raised more than $157 million (£120 million) for food, water, shelter, and medical assistance, as heavy fighting, shelling, and air strikes by the Russian army have destroyed hundreds of Ukrainian homes and lives. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Prince William have all made “significant” donations to the charity, royal sources have told BAZAAR,
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The UN has estimated that up to four million Ukrainians will be forced to leave their country following Russia’s invasion. More than 1.5 million people have already fled Ukraine due to the conflict, and 18 million people are expected to see their lives changed irrevocably.
DEC has a history of raising funds and mobilizing on-the-ground support through its member charities quickly in response to disasters. In December 2021, it raised $12.5 million in the first 24 hours of its Afghanistan Crisis Appeal, which was launched when the Taliban took over the country.
The Ukrainian Red Cross, one of DEC’s charity partners, is currently using its allotted funds to provide first aid, shelters, and warm clothes across Ukraine. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is currently resorting impacted water supplies, as well as providing food and medical facilities to those in need. And Save the Children has spent several days helping families and children arriving in neighboring countries with immediate aid.
“We’re delighted that Their Royal Highnesses have supported the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal by donating but also helping raise awareness. Their visit to the Ukrainian Cultural Center and School today was really heartfelt and captured the outpouring of compassion and support shown by people of the UK for the people of Ukraine and for that I’d like to say a huge thank you,” DEC’s CEO said in a statement to BAZAAR,
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