On Wednesday, Britain’s Prince William made a surprise trip to Poland, where he met with British and Polish troops stationed near the Ukrainian-Polish border. The 40-year-old royal visited the 3rd Brigade Territorial Defense Force base in Rzeszów, where he was greeted by Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak and viewed a display of military equipment. During his time at the base, he spoke to both British and Polish soldiers about the strong relationship that has formed between the two forces since they began working together.
Prince William’s visit to Poland is part of his ongoing effort to show support for Ukraine and its people. In a statement, he expressed his delight at being back in Poland and highlighted the importance of cooperation between the two countries in support of the people of Ukraine and their freedom. “Through our cooperation in support of the people of Ukraine and their freedom, which are also our freedoms and yours, these ties are further strengthened,” he said.
After his visit to the military base, the Prince traveled to Warsaw, where he visited an accommodation center that provides lodging for around 300 women and children who have recently arrived in the country from Ukraine. The facility is described by Kensington Palace as being “at the frontline of the humanitarian crisis” and is operated by the City of Warsaw. The Prince met with volunteers who have been helping people displaced by the conflict to find out how they have been managing and distributing donations from the community, which are dispensed through a “free shop.”
During his visit to the accommodation center, Prince William spoke with some of the displaced Ukrainians living there, learning more about how they came to move to Poland. He also met with the city’s mayor and expressed his gratitude to the people of Warsaw for their inspiring humanity in opening their hearts and homes to those in need. The Prince also expressed his appreciation to host families who have helped accommodate Ukrainian refugees and discussed how they have been able to restart their studies and find employment in Warsaw.
Prince William’s visit to Poland is a short one, but it is filled with meaningful engagements. On Thursday, he will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a monument for fallen soldiers in Piłsudski Square in the heart of the Polish capital. Nearly 27 years earlier, in 1996, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip laid a wreath at the war memorial while in the country for a state visit. The Prince will then meet with Polish leader Andrzej Duda at the Presidential Palace to discuss the strong relationship shared by their two nations and express his continued support and gratitude to the Polish people.
The royal family has been unusually forthright about the war in Ukraine over the past year, offering its support to Ukraine on numerous occasions. Unlike his mother, who avoided direct remarks on political matters throughout her reign, King Charles III has been much more plainspoken on the subject of Ukraine. “The world has watched in horror at all the unnecessary suffering inflicted upon Ukrainians,” the King said last month, in a message marking a year since the Russian invasion. “I can only hope the outpouring of solidarity from across the globe may bring not only practical aid, but also strength from the knowledge that, together, we stand united.”
In February of this year, King Charles III met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at Buckingham Palace and reaffirmed his support for Ukraine. Both King Charles III and the Queen Consort have also incorporated engagements with the Ukrainian community in the UK into their diaries, as have Prince William and his wife, Catherine, Princess of Wales.