Audience with a foreign leader is a task the Queen usually takes on herself, as Britain’s head of state. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have filled in for her before, but usually when she’s away. The Queen returned early from her summer home in Balmoral, Scotland and is now staying at Windsor Castle. She usually goes back to Buckingham Palace in October, but this year she’s changed her plans and is taking on fewer engagements due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ukrainian president’s visit is also a significant one, as it’s the first major royal meeting the palace has hosted since the Queen hosted two members of the Royal Navy in March.
The Queen could have hosted Zelensky if she wanted to, Chris Ship, royal correspondent for ITV, told Vanity Fair — but the fact that she opted to send William and Kate instead says a lot about her trust in them.
“The Queen is back at Windsor Castle and we understand is prepared to commute to Buckingham Palace, so technically she could have done this morning’s engagement, but the Cambridges were chosen,” he told the magazine.
“It is very interesting that William and Kate were chosen to greet a Head of State at Buckingham Palace and reflects their growing importance in the seniority of the Royal Family.”
The two couples didn’t wear masks, but photos show them maintaining a six-foot distance from one another.
Kate’s cornflower blue belted dress was by Emilia Wickstead, according to Harper’s Bazaar.