First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska looks sombre as she pays her respects to the Queen

First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska looks sombre as she pays her respects to Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Hall – while President Zelensky remains at home to lead the war effort

  • First Lady Olena Zelenska attended Buckingham Palace reception this evening
  • The First Lady is representing her husband, Ukrainian President Zelensky
  • Earlier today, she went to Westminster Hall to see the Queen lying in state
  • She was one of the guests at ‘reception of the century’ hosted by King Charles 
  • The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage

The wife of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has been pictured paying her respects to the Queen as she attended Westminster Hall this afternoon where the late monarch is lying in state.  

Olena Zelenska, who is representing her husband President Zelensky, was pictured shortly before 4.45pm with other members of the Ukrainian contingent.

Dressed in all black, she wore a gold pin inspired by a rushnyk, a piece of fabric embroidered with traditional Ukrainian symbols, on her blazer.

As she contemplated the solemn occasion, her expression was sombre and she bowed her head in respect.

Ms Zelenska stayed in the hall for several minutes as members of the British public filed past below. 

Ms Zelenska was earlier spotted entering Westminster Hall, where the late monarch is currently lying in state

Ms Zelenska was earlier spotted entering Westminster Hall, where the late monarch is currently lying in state

She appeared alongside other members of the Ukrainian delegation to the UK

She appeared alongside other members of the Ukrainian delegation to the UK

First Lady Olena Zelenska (pictured with members of the Ukrainian delegation, right) appeared pensive as she attended the lying in state of Her Majesty at Westminster Hall

First Lady Olena Zelenska (pictured with members of the Ukrainian delegation, right) appeared pensive as she attended the lying in state of Her Majesty at Westminster Hall

Ms Zelenska’s trip to Westminster Hall came ahead of her attending a Buckingham Palace reception this evening, hosted by King Charles. 

Her arrival in the UK had been hotly anticipated after it was confirmed that her husband, President Zelensky, would be remaining at home to lead the war effort. 

He will remain in Ukraine as his country continues to battle back Vladimir Putin’s invading forces.

After viewing the Queen’s casket at Westminster Hall, Ms Zelenska had an audience with the Princess of Wales.

The pair, both wearing long black dresses, sat either side of a fireplace on gingham armchairs with pink orchids on display in the background. 

Dressed in all black, she wore a gold pin inspired by a rushnyk, a piece of fabric embroidered with traditional Ukrainian symbols, on her blazer

Dressed in all black, she wore a gold pin inspired by a rushnyk, a piece of fabric embroidered with traditional Ukrainian symbols, on her blazer

The wife of Ukraine's President Zelensky, Olena Zelenska, bows her head as she pays tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II

The wife of Ukraine’s President Zelensky, Olena Zelenska, bows her head as she pays tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II

Ms Zelenska was earlier spotted entering Westminster Hall, where the late monarch is currently lying in state

Ms Zelenska was earlier spotted entering Westminster Hall, where the late monarch is currently lying in state

Olena Zelenska looks reflective and sombre as she pays respect to Her Majesty who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Olena Zelenska looks reflective and sombre as she pays respect to Her Majesty who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Ms Zelenska looked sombre as she entered Westminster Hall to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth earlier today

Ms Zelenska looked sombre as she entered Westminster Hall to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth earlier today

A line of foreign dignitaries entered Westminster Hall today, including French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte, and US president Joe Biden and his wife Jill, ahead of the reception this evening.  

Dubbed ‘the reception of the century’, the Buckingham Palace event was attended by 1,000 VIPs.

As well as senior members of the Firm, many international dignitaries were there, including US President Joe Biden, New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern and Canadian premier Justin Trudeau.

Other guests included President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed and Colombia’s First Lady Veronica Alcocer Gargia and Foreign Minister Alvaro Leyva. 

The wife of Ukraine's President Zelensky, Olena Zelenska, spoke with the Princess of Wales this afternoon at Buckingham Palace

The wife of Ukraine’s President Zelensky, Olena Zelenska, spoke with the Princess of Wales this afternoon at Buckingham Palace

The two women spoke during a Buckingham Palace meeting earlier today (pictured L-R: Princess of Wales, First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska)

The two women spoke during a Buckingham Palace meeting earlier today (pictured L-R: Princess of Wales, First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska)

The First Lady (left) is in the UK representing her husband President Zelensky (right), who is remaining at home to lead the war effort

The First Lady (left) is in the UK representing her husband President Zelensky (right), who is remaining at home to lead the war effort

Foreign royals also took part in the event, with King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain, and King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden on the guest list among others.

The royal couple were among the first monarchs to view the monarch lying-in-state at Westminster Hall.

Putin, who has previously had an audience with the Queen, has not been invited, despite offering his condolences to the Royal Family last week. 

However, the guest list did feature a string of controversial strongmen, including Bolsonaro, who was filmed today giving a thunderous speech from the windows of the Brazilian Embassy in London to a cheering crowd waving the national flag. 

King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain looked dignified as they viewed the Queen's coffin lying-in-state on Sunday evening

King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain looked dignified as they viewed the Queen’s coffin lying-in-state on Sunday evening

King Phillipe and Queen Mathilde of Belgiun look solemn as they pay their respects to Her late Majesty as she lies in state at WEstminster Hall

King Phillipe and Queen Mathilde of Belgiun look solemn as they pay their respects to Her late Majesty as she lies in state at WEstminster Hall

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden also arrived to pay their respects at Westminster Hall ahead of the funeral  

Wueen Silvia of Sweden arrived at Buckingham Palace with King Carl XVI Gustav to be hosted by King Charles III, after paying their respects to Her late Majesty in Westminster Hall earlier today

Wueen Silvia of Sweden arrived at Buckingham Palace with King Carl XVI Gustav to be hosted by King Charles III, after paying their respects to Her late Majesty in Westminster Hall earlier today

King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands walked into Buckingham Palace with his wife Queen Máxima following just behind him

King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands walked into Buckingham Palace with his wife Queen Máxima following just behind him

And today the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia confirmed that Mohammed Bin Salman, known by the abbreviation MBS, had been invited to attend the funeral tomorrow.   

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the authoritarian ruler who has jailed hundreds of journalists and busily dismantled Turkish democracy, is also coming to the funeral.

China has announced it will send its vice-president, Wang Qishan, but was barred by parliamentary leaders from the lying-in-state.

Due to strained ties, the UK opted to invite ambassadors, not heads of state, from Iran, Nicaragua and North Korea. Meanwhile, Russia and Belarus are among a small group of nations excluded altogether following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

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