President Zelensky tells King Charles ‘in Ukraine today every air force pilot is a king’ as he brings up monarch’s RAF career in his campaign to get British jets
- President Zelensky told King Charles ‘in Ukraine every air force pilot is a king’
- The President met the King during a 45-minute meeting at Buckingham Palace
- Zelensky is on his first visit to the UK since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
President Zelensky told King Charles ‘in Ukraine today every air force pilot is a king’ during a meeting with the monarch on a visit to the UK.
The Ukrainian president met the King for the first time in a ‘truly special’ audience at Buckingham Palace after he mentioned the monarch’s RAF career in his campaign to get British jets to Ukraine.
Mr Zelensky was dressed in his trademark khaki green military fatigues as he was welcomed to the royal residence on Wednesday afternoon.
Charles greeted the president with a wide smile and a warm handshake in the Palace’s 1844 Room.
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.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has since tasked the defence secretary ‘with investigating what jets we might be able to give’, a Downing Street spokesman said.
President Zelensky told King Charles ‘in Ukraine today every air force pilot is a king’ during a meeting with the monarch on a visit to the UK
The Ukrainian president met the King for the first time in a ‘truly special’ audience at Buckingham Palace
He was greeted at the King’s Door by the King’s equerry, Lieutenant Colonel Jonny Thompson, nicknamed the ‘hot equerry ‘ (pictured)
Sir Clive Alderton, principal private secretary to the King and Queen Consort, also shook hands with President Zelensky
The Ukrainian President was led inside Buckingham Palace for a 45-minute meeting with King Charles
As he arrived at the Palace, Mr Zelensky was driven through the gate and across the forecourt into the quadrangle.
He was greeted at the King’s Door by the King’s equerry, Lieutenant Colonel Jonny Thompson, nicknamed the ‘hot equerry’.
The officer, who was once the Queen’s most senior bodyguard, has found himself increasingly more in the spotlight following King Charles III’s ascension to the throne.
Lt Col Thompson, dressed in his military uniform with kilt, shook hands with Mr Zelensky before introducing him to Sir Clive Alderton, principal private secretary to the King and Queen Consort.
President Zelensky referred to King Charles’s time in the RAF. Pictured: The King during his Royal Initial Officer Training at the Cranwell Royal Air Force centre in 1971
Prince Charles in the cockpit during his flying lesson in an RAF Chipmunk at Tangmere in West Sussex
Sir Clive also shook hands with the president before welcoming him inside Buckingham Palace for a 45-minute meeting
President Zelensky said meeting the King was a ‘truly special moment’ and referred to Charles’s former military service in the Royal Air Force.
He said: ‘The King is an air force pilot and in Ukraine today, every air force pilot is a king.’
Crowds watched as a long procession of cars brought the Ukrainian President to Buckingham Palace
Earlier President Zelensky said he would convey to the King ‘words of gratitude’ from Ukrainians ‘for the support His Majesty showed to them when he was still the Prince of Wales’
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.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomed Ukrainian President Zelensky to the UK at Stansted Airport on February 8
The two leaders met and shook hands at 10 Street earlier today during Zelensky’s visit to Britain
Volodymyr Zelensky expressed gratitude to the British people and personally to Rishi Sunak for providing comprehensive support to Ukraine
What did King Charles do during his service with the RAF?
The King has served in both the RAF and the Royal Navy.
During his second year at Cambridge University he was given flying lesions by the RAF and the then prince started training as a jet pilot on 8 March, 1971.
He passed out at RAF Cranwell and joined the Royal Navy.
After a six-week course at Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, he served on the guided missile destroyer HMS Norfolk as well as on two frigates – HMS Minerva and HMS Jupiter.
In 1974 saw the King qualified as a helicopter pilot and he flew Wessex helicopters with 845 Naval Air Squadron from aircraft carrier HMS Hermes.
He ended his Royal Navy service in late 1976 after taking command of coastal minehunter HMS Bronington.
The then Prince of Wales, being briefed by Wing Commander ‘Hank’ Martin, Commanding Officer No 43 Squadron, before his flight in a Phantom Interceptor in 1971
‘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.’
In May 2022, Charles, then the Prince of Wales, spoke out about the ‘nightmare situation’ in Ukraine during a trip to Romania to meet refugees who have fled the war in their homeland.
Speaking through an interpreter, the prince told a group of Ukrainian families: ‘We feel for Ukraine, a nightmare situation. Keep praying.’
In March last year, Charles said the values of democracy were under attack in Ukraine in the ‘most unconscionable way’.
‘In the stand we take here, we are in solidarity with all those who are resisting brutal aggression,’ he said.
Charles has been outspoken in the past about Russian president Vladimir Putin and his annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.
He sparked a diplomatic storm in 2014 when he compared Mr Putin to Hitler during a visit to Canada.
He was speaking to Canadian museum volunteer Marianne Ferguson, who told him how her Jewish family fled the Nazi occupation of Danzig at the outset of the Second World War.
At that moment the then Prince Charles drew a parallel with Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Mr Putin, in a direct message to Charles, publicly branded the comments ‘unacceptable’ and said such remarks were ‘not what monarchs do’.
The Ukrainian President was given a rapturous reception at the Palace of Westminster on his first visit to Britain since the invasion.
Watched by Rishi Sunak, and with Mr Johnson in the audience, Mr Zelensky insisted that more help will be needed to defeat the Russian aggressors.
He presented Speaker Lindsay Hoyle with a helmet signed by one of Kyiv’s top pilots.
He also appealed for the UK to supply ‘powerful’ aircraft – after Mr Sunak announced that Britain will train forces in how to fly them.
The message on the helmet reads: ‘We have freedom, give us wings to protect it.’
Amid splits within Nato on how far to go in suppling air power, Mr Zelensky added: ‘Combat aircraft for Ukraine, wings for freedom.’
Speaking in Westminster Hall, Volodymyr Zelensky said he had come on behalf of the ‘brave’ who were ‘in the trenches under enemy artillery fire’. ‘We know Russia will lose. We really know that victory will change the world.’
Many politicians in the crowd wanted to record the historic moment on their phones
Mr Zelensky presented Speaker Lindsay Hoyle with a helmet signed by one of Kyiv’s top pilots and appealed for the UK to supply ‘powerful’ aircraft – after Mr Sunak announced that Britain will train forces in how to fly them
Volodymyr Zelensky was given a standing ovation today as he hailed Britain’s ‘big support’ for Ukraine during an address to MPs and Peers in Westminster Hall
The Ukrainian President was given a rapturous reception as he arrived in the historic building to deliver a speech on his first visit since the invasion
Political differences were put aside today as Ukraine’s president Zelensky visited for the first time since the Russian invasion
Mr Zelensky singled out Boris Johnson for praise, saying he had united the international community when it seemed ‘impossible’ – and after the speech the two men shook hands and chatted
Volodymyr Zelensky hailed Britain’s ‘big support’ for Ukraine today as he held talks with Rishi Sunak in Downing Street
READ MORE: Boris Johnson urges UK to offer ALL its fighter jets and tanks to Ukraine
Mr Zelensky said he had come on behalf of the ‘brave’ who were ‘in the trenches under enemy artillery fire’. ‘We know Russia will lose. We really know that victory will change the world.’
Mr Zelensky singled out Mr Johnson for praise for helping unite the international community behind Ukraine when it seemed ‘impossible’.
‘The people of the United Kingdom and their honourable representatives, all the people of England and Scotland, of Wales and Northern Ireland, of all the lands which have been home to brave souls since Europe came into existence,’ Mr Zelensky said.
‘I have come here and stand before you on behalf of the brave, on behalf of our war heroes who are now in the trenches under enemy artillery fire, on behalf of our air gunners, and every defender of the sky who protects Ukraine against enemy aircraft and missiles, on behalf of our tank men who fight to restore our Ukrainian borders, on behalf of our conscripts who are being trained now including here in Britain.
‘Thank you, Britain.’
Mr Zelensky said: ‘London has stood with Kyiv since day one, from the first seconds and minutes of the full-scale war, Great Britain you extended your helping hand when the world had not yet come to understand how to react.
‘Boris: you got others united when it seemed absolutely impossible. Thank you.’
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