Princess of Wales meets displaced Ukrainian families at a Community Centre in Reading 


She may be Princess of Wales but today, Kate was just one mother comforting another.

Heartbroken Galina Bolebrukh, 39, broke down in tears as she described to the future Queen the horrors of fleeing Putin’s war with her children. 

Kate Middleton, 40, opted for her smart £460 camel Max&Co coat and a £279 polkadot LK Bennett dress as she arrived at the Reading Ukrainian Community Centre this morning, which is in the town where she was born, and praised those she met as ‘brave’ and ‘resilient.’ 

Elsewhere, the Princess  cuddled up with Zlata Yeromenko – before being presented with a piece of artwork which read: ‘Kate, I love you.’

Kate also learnt about the extraordinary efforts being made to support Ukrainians in the UK by the centre and spoke with the centre’s volunteers.

The mother-of-three, who was pictured earlier this year fighting back tears as she visited a centre in London, last month held an audience at Buckingham Palace with Olena Zelenska. 

Her visit today comes as it was revealed The Royal Foundation of The Prince and Princess of Wales convened a roundtable last week to offer support the First Lady’s mental health strategy, which was announced in August to address the impact the ongoing conflict is having upon the mental wellbeing of Ukrainians.     

She may be Princess of Wales but today, Kate was just one mother comforting another. Heartbroken Galina Bolebrukh, 39, broke down in tears as she described to the future Queen the horrors of fleeing Putin's war with her children.

She may be Princess of Wales but today, Kate was just one mother comforting another. Heartbroken Galina Bolebrukh, 39, broke down in tears as she described to the future Queen the horrors of fleeing Putin’s war with her children.  

One little girl could be seen painting a flowers on top of a yellow and blue background, the colours of the Ukrainian flag

One little girl could be seen painting a flowers on top of a yellow and blue background, the colours of the Ukrainian flag 

The Princess of Wales cuddled up with an adorable five-year-old girl during a visit to a Ukrainian Community Centre in Reading today - before being presented with a piece of artwork which read: 'Kate, I love you'

The Princess of Wales cuddled up with an adorable five-year-old girl during a visit to a Ukrainian Community Centre in Reading today – before being presented with a piece of artwork which read: ‘Kate, I love you’

The royal mother-of-three was presented with the message and drawing, which appeared to show a rainbow, during an art class at the centre

The royal mother-of-three was presented with the message and drawing, which appeared to show a rainbow, during an art class at the centre 

The Princess was flying the flag as she donned a blue and yellow dress to visit a Ukrainian Community Centre in Reading today - as it's revealed she's helping with Olena Zelenska's mental health campaign

The Princess was flying the flag as she donned a blue and yellow dress to visit a Ukrainian Community Centre in Reading today – as it’s revealed she’s helping with Olena Zelenska’s mental health campaign

Kate was presented with a traditional Ukrainian bread as she arrived at the centre in Reading, the town where she was born, today

Kate was presented with a traditional Ukrainian bread as she arrived at the centre in Reading, the town where she was born, today 

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Galina told the royal her harrowing story of hiding from Putin’s bombs in Kyiv before fleeing with her three-year-old son, Renat, and mother, Iryna, leaving her husband in Ukraine to fight on the front line.

The mother-of-one apologised as she wiped away a tear, as Kate reassured her: ‘It’s understandable, everything you have experienced.’ 

The princess then touched her heart and said: ‘I wish we could do more.’ 

Afterwards Galina, who left Ukraine in February and arrived in the UK in May, said: ‘I told her how horrible and difficult it was. We had to make a decision very quickly. We only took some shirts and trousers and left.

‘It was very easy talking to her, she has a big heart.

‘She tried to make me feel better and said everything was all right and said here we can get a job and live because we can’t go back to Ukraine.’  

During the visit, the Princess swept her brunette locks behind her shoulder in her favourite bouncy blow-dry style and opted for neutral makeup for the occasion, wearing a sweep of dark eyeliner and a nude lipstick

During the visit, the Princess swept her brunette locks behind her shoulder in her favourite bouncy blow-dry style and opted for neutral makeup for the occasion, wearing a sweep of dark eyeliner and a nude lipstick

During the visit, the Princess swept her brunette locks behind her shoulder in her favourite bouncy blow-dry style and opted for neutral makeup for the occasion, wearing a sweep of dark eyeliner and a nude lipstick 

The royal was presented with a posey of yellow and blue flowers by one young boy during her visit, and crouched low to the ground as she spoke with him

The royal was presented with a posey of yellow and blue flowers by one young boy during her visit, and crouched low to the ground as she spoke with him 

Kate was visiting the centre in Berkshire to meet families forced from Ukraine and who have been given a warm welcome in Britain.

During the visit, the Princess swept her brunette locks behind her shoulder in her favourite bouncy blow-dry style.

The mother-of-three donned a pair of dangling pearl earrings for the outing.  

Meanwhile she opted for neutral makeup for the occasion, wearing a sweep of dark eyeliner and a nude lipstick.  

The camel coat, which Kate removed during her visit as she sat down to chat to volunteers, appears to be a favourite of the Princess, who wore it for a recent visit to Scarborough with Prince William. 

She opted for a smart polkadot shirt dress for the outing, which is described online as ‘a beautiful midi’ and an ‘elegant addition’ to any wardrobe.

The Princess took part in an art class during her visit to the community centre, where she joined a group of children in painting

The Princess took part in an art class during her visit to the community centre, where she joined a group of children in painting

The Princess took part in an art class during her visit to the community centre, where she joined a group of children in painting 

Caring Kate! The royal mother-of-three, who is known for her love of art and natural way with children, appeared right at home during the painting class

Caring Kate! The royal mother-of-three, who is known for her love of art and natural way with children, appeared right at home during the painting class 

At one stage, the Princess swept one little girl's hair away from her jumper as she carefully took part in the painting class earlier today

At one stage, the Princess swept one little girl's hair away from her jumper as she carefully took part in the painting class earlier today

At one stage, the Princess swept one little girl’s hair away from her jumper as she carefully took part in the painting class earlier today 

Kate shared a laugh with two of the youngsters, whose families were displaced by the war, as she took part in the art class earlier this morning

Kate shared a laugh with two of the youngsters, whose families were displaced by the war, as she took part in the art class earlier this morning 

Kate could be seen sitting down alongside a number of children as she took part in the art class at the centre earlier this morning

Kate could be seen sitting down alongside a number of children as she took part in the art class at the centre earlier this morning 

It is crafted from a sheer, lightweight fabric with a navy blue and golden yellow spot print, with a long rounded collar, long sleeves, a nipped waist and a pleated midi skirt. 

L.K. Bennett is a firm high street favourite of the royal, who regularly champions British brands and high street stores.

During the visit, Kate spoke about the ‘horrors of war’ and hailed the ‘resilience’ and ‘bravery’ of Ukrainians.

The visit came after it emerged that the princess and Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska have been working to help the mental health of people fleeing war.

The princess hailed the centre as she arrived and said: ‘It is amazing to see the work being carried out and lots of people are coming out to support the Ukrainians here.’

Speaking about the beginning of the conflict, Kate added: ‘Everyone was really keen to support but not sure how to.’ 

Elsewhere, the royal was animated as she spoke with fellow mothers who had been displaced by the Ukranian war and had received support from the centre

Elsewhere, the royal was animated as she spoke with fellow mothers who had been displaced by the Ukranian war and had received support from the centre 

The royal mother-of-three showed off her maternal side during the visit in Reading today, where she spoke with families about the war

The royal mother-of-three showed off her maternal side during the visit in Reading today, where she spoke with families about the war 

Meanwhile the Princess also heard how the centre had offered support to the families who had been forced to flee their homes in Ukraine

Meanwhile the Princess also heard how the centre had offered support to the families who had been forced to flee their homes in Ukraine

Meanwhile the Princess also heard how the centre had offered support to the families who had been forced to flee their homes in Ukraine 

Mick Polleck, deputy chairman of the centre, said: ‘The whole of Britain has been really good and we are eternally grateful.’ ‘Considering the trauma families are experiencing on a day to day basis having a community centre like this provides a lifeline and opportunity,’ the princess replied.

Inside she sat down with Ukrainian women and children to hear their stories.

Some described how they were forced to hide in bomb shelters before fleeing, while almost everyone said they had left husbands and other loved ones back in their homeland.

Most have been given a home in the UK staying with British families thanks to the government repatriation scheme and hope to find work.

Kate told them: ‘It’s still all going on and you have loved ones and family in Ukraine they still see the horrors of war every day ‘I am so impressed at your bravery and resilience I am overwhelmed by how strong you all are.’ 

‘It must be so helpful now you have found a community. Not being together and not having support must be very difficult.’ 

Nadia Shcherbyna, 39, told her that some families are concerned as their six-month deals to stay with British families were coming to an end.

The Princess took one little girl onto her nap as they looked down at a picture she had drawn which read: 'Kate, I love you'

At one stage, Kate took one little girl onto  her lap as the two shared a smile and snuggled up for a cuddle

The Princess took one little girl onto her nap as they looked down at a picture she had drawn which read: ‘Kate, I love you’

At one stage, Kate took one little girl onto her lap as the two shared a smile and snuggled up for a cuddle and a photograph

At one stage, Kate took one little girl onto her lap as the two shared a smile and snuggled up for a cuddle and a photograph 

The mother-of-three showed off her maternal side as she snuggled up with the little girl during the outing earlier today (pictured)

The mother-of-three showed off her maternal side as she snuggled up with the little girl during the outing earlier today (pictured)

The mother-of-three showed off her maternal side as she snuggled up with the little girl during the outing earlier today (pictured) 

The Princess spoke with a number of different families during her visit to the centre in Reading earlier today, listening intently as they told their stories

The Princess spoke with a number of different families during her visit to the centre in Reading earlier today, listening intently as they told their stories

The Princess of Wales with five year old Zlata during a visit to the Reading Ukrainian Community Centre to meet displaced Ukrainian families

The Princess of Wales with five year old Zlata during a visit to the Reading Ukrainian Community Centre to meet displaced Ukrainian families

Kate replied: ‘You worry about what the future holds. What you have all been through, it’s right that as a nation we help.

‘I can’t imagine the months and months or years away from family. I feel for all of you.’ Antonio Gresko, chairman of the centre, said: ‘Thank you for your support but also please thank the whole of the Royal Family for their support.’ Kate replied: “It’s the least we could do and wish we could do more.”

Afterwards mother-of-two Nadia Shcherbyna, 39, said: ‘I was in a bomb shelter for two days with my children. It was a desperate situation. When I came here I started living again.

‘Mental health is important. You can’t remain the same. You can’t just be normal after such experiences. Someone wants to destroy our nation.’ The visit comes after the princess met Olena Zelenska in September.

The Royal Foundation of The Prince and Princess of Wales also held a virtual meeting last week with the First Lady of Ukraine’s team to discuss working together on a mental health strategy to address the impact the ongoing conflict is having on people’s mental health.

The group also discussed support currently available for Ukrainians living in the UK.

The Princess was beaming as she accepted the gift of the traditional Ukrainian bread and salt during the visit earlier this morning

The Princess was beaming as she accepted the gift of the traditional Ukrainian bread and salt during the visit earlier this morning 

The royal was beaming as she arrived at the centre today, where she was presented with a traditional Ukrainian bread

The royal was beaming as she arrived at the centre today, where she was presented with a traditional Ukrainian bread

The royal was beaming as she arrived at the centre today, where she was presented with a traditional Ukrainian bread

Kate first met the President and First Lady of Ukraine in Buckingham Palace in September 2020 alongside her husband Prince William in their first audience since the start of lockdown.

In March, she appeared to fight back tears over the Ukraine crisis during a visit to the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in London, alongside her husband Prince William, who insisted: ‘We are all behind you.’ 

In September the wife of Ukraine’s President Zelensky spoke with the Princess of Wales for a second time after travelling from her war-torn homeland for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth. 

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

Meanwhile earlier this year, the Mail On Sunday revealed Kate’s parents wanted to welcome Ukrainian refugees into their Berkshire home. 

During her visit, she will learn about the extraordinary efforts being made to support Ukrainians in the UK by the centre and meet with families

During her visit, she will learn about the extraordinary efforts being made to support Ukrainians in the UK by the centre and meet with families 

Carole and Michael Middleton were understood to be examining plans to create an annexe at the manor house in the village of Bucklebury that they bought for £4.7 million a decade ago.

‘Bucklebury has housed a good number of refugees and Carole has been getting advice from villagers and seeking information about how the process has worked for others in the area,’ said a source.

Neighbours who had already provided sanctuary include broadcaster Chris Tarrant and Tory politician Lord Benyon, a friend of the Middletons who held a fundraising event for refugees at his stately home.

The source added: ‘Carole talked about wanting refugees to feel they have their own space in her home and has been talking about the logistics of how it all works. There have been a few conversations about this, back and forth.

The Princess of Wales appeared relaxed as she travelled to the centre in Reading earlier this morning

The Princess of Wales appeared relaxed as she travelled to the centre in Reading earlier this morning 

‘Carole suggested she and some of those who are housing refugees should meet up, to get to know each other and because she wants to find a way to house refugees herself. She’s very philanthropic and wants to be known for her charitable nature as well as her business.’

Oone option under consideration was to convert a living room at seven-bedroom Bucklebury Manor into separate accommodation for a family fleeing Ukraine.

‘Carole doesn’t have many outbuildings and Kate’s security stay in the main house when they come, so she’ll have to find a way to make it work that is safe,’ said one Bucklebury villager att the time. ‘Carole is very popular here and she’s done wonders for the community and for the family farm. She’s a real tour de force.’

At least two million people have already fled their homes to escape the conflict, with four million expected to be displaced as the Russian invasion continues. 

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

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