UK Prime Minister Boris John intends to invite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to visit London and meet with Queen Elizabeth II, the Sunday Times reports.
The visit is pitched to take place in October, with Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party already approving the idea. Johnson is said to want to coordinate with Volodymyr Zelensky to organise travel and security arrangements for a full state visit, including an audience with the Queen.
Notable world leaders who have recently paid a state visit to the Queen, who ascended the throne in 1952, include President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron.
During a surprise visit to Kyiv on June 17, the British Prime Minister gifted President Zelensky a copy of Robert Hardman’s book Queen of Our Times: The Life Of Elizabeth II, after signing it himself.
Cabinet ministers are now reported to be working on the state visit, during which President Zelensky will be taken to Downing Street, given the traditional full honors and displays of pageantry, and then taken to Buckingham Palace.
The Royal Family’s official website details what Zelensky should expect upon his arrival: “Firstly, the Queen and other Members of the Royal Family greet visitors with a ceremonial welcome, which usually takes place on Horse Guards Parade. “The visiting party is invited to inspect a Guard of Honor before travelling back to the Palace in a carriage procession escorted by a large number of mounted soldiers from the Household Cavalry. The welcome is accompanied by gun salutes fired from Green Park and the Tower of London.
“Usually on the evening of the arrival day, the visitors will be hosted at a State Banquet, which is a very grand formal occasion held in the Buckingham Palace Ballroom. Around 150 guests are usually invited on the basis of their cultural, diplomatic or economic links to the country being hosted. Before dinner is served, The Queen makes a speech and proposes a toast to the visiting Head of State, who replies and in return proposes a toast to Her Majesty.”
Zelensky has not yet met the Queen, but congratulated the monarch on her 70-year milestone jubilee on June 5 on Twitter.
Queen Elizabeth was seen to subtly express her support for the people of Ukraine with a large bouquet of blue and yellow flowers pictured behind her during an audience with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in March.
Other members of the Royal Family have shown their support more explicitly, with Prince Charles giving a speech in March, criticising Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion, and saying: “Our thoughts, and I am sure your thoughts and prayers, ladies and gentlemen, however inadequate they may be, are with the people of Ukraine as they continue to face such uncertainty and brutal aggression”.
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