Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky meets King Charles at Buckingham Palace
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has held an audience with King Charles III at Buckingham Palace.
The Ukrainian leader was driven through the front gates of the royal residence and into the quadrangle.
It is the first time the monarch has met Zelensky and comes after Zelensky made a historic address to MPs and peers in Westminster Hall at the Houses of Parliament.
The president is on his first visit to the UK since the Russian invasion of his country began and in his address to Parliament said he would take the opportunity to thank Charles for the support he had shown Ukraine as the Prince of Wales.
He said meeting the King was a “truly special moment” and referred to Charles’s former military service in the Royal Air Force, saying: “The King is an air force pilot and in Ukraine today, every air force pilot is a king.”
Mr Zelensky told a packed Westminster Hall in an impassioned speech: “Today I will have the honour to be received by His Majesty the King.
“It will be a truly special moment for me, for our country.
“In particular because I will convey to him from all the Ukrainians the words of gratitude for the support His Majesty showed to them when he was still the Prince of Wales.
“I also intend to tell him something I think that is very, very, very important, not only for the future of Ukraine but for the future of Europe
“In Britain, the King is an air force pilot and in Ukraine today, every air force pilot is a king.”
He finished with “God bless Great Britain and long live the King.”
He used the speech to call for the UK to supply his nation with jets and more tanks to fight Putin’s Russia following the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Former prime minister Boris Johnson has urged Rishi Sunak to answer Zelensky’s call.
He said: “It is time to give the Ukrainians the extra equipment they need to defeat Putin and to restore peace to Ukraine.
“That means longer range missiles and artillery. It means more tanks. It means planes.
“We have more than 100 Typhoon jets. We have more than 100 Challenger 2 tanks.
“The best single use for any of these items is to deploy them now for the protection of the Ukrainians – not least because that is how we guarantee our own long-term security.”
Zelensky was greeted at the King’s Door firstly by the King’s equerry, Lieutenant Colonel Jonny Thompson.
Lt Col Thompson, dressed in his military uniform with kilt, shook hands with Zelensky before introducing him to Sir Clive Alderton, principal private secretary to the King and Queen Consort.
Sir Clive also shook hands with the president before welcoming him inside Buckingham Palace.