The Royal family are reportedly providing accommodation to Ukrainian families who have been forced to flee their homeland following Russia’s invasion of their country.
Members of the Royal family have reportedly vowed to “do their bit” and are housing Ukrainian families. However, they are keeping their efforts a secret as they have “no wish” to receive publicity for it, the Daily Express reports. Some 53,800 Ukrainian refugees have been rehomed in the UK under visa schemes, including the government’s Homes for Ukraine programme – which amounts to just over half of the number of visas granted.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, more than 14 million Ukrainians have been thought to have fled their homes, with a number of European countries taking in refugees varying from a few thousand to millions. More than three million Ukrainians have fled to Poland, while 700,000 have been accepted by Germany.
Buckingham Palace were approached by the Express, with a spokesperson confirming the Royal family are helping, but will not expand on what they are doing. They told the paper: “We are assisting in a number of ways but will not be commenting further.”
It is not know which royals are housing refugees, or where the accommodation is being provided – but the palace has been contacted for further information, and a number of Royals have voiced their support for the country in the months following the invasion.
The Prince of Wales had an “emotional” meeting with the families who have fled Vladimir Putin’s invasion, saying last month that he hopes Britain is welcoming to the Ukrainian refugees arriving in the country. Charles made the comments on April 28 while visiting the World Jewish Relief (WRJ) charity in north London, which has sent food, money, and medicine to Ukraine.
Charles has been a patron of the group since 2015 and has got involved in the charity’s Ukrainian efforts by making a financial contribution to them – but the sum has not been made public. Charles and Camilla also met members of the Ukrainian community in Ottawa, Canada, during their tour of the country earlier this week.
In that meeting, the Duchess of Cornwall spoke to a family who fled from Lutsk, having to leave their father behind to fight for his country. In the conversation, Camilla told them that “we are so behind you.”
At the start of March, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr thanked the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after they expressed their solidarity with the people of his homeland. The leader said he was “grateful” to the couple after they tweeted that they stood with “the President and all of Ukraine’s people as they bravely fight” for their future on February 27.
This is not the first time the Royal family have offered support to those fleeing wars, with the palace being used to house royal refugees of the Second World War. These royal refugees include Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and Norway’s King Haakon and his son, Prince Olaf, who fled from the Nazis in 1940.
The reports of the Royals helping to house Ukrainian refugees comes days after the minister who was placed in charge of Homes for Ukraine called for the scheme to become a model for how the UK deals with future refugee crises. Lord Harrington, who was placed in charge of the programme in March, told an audience in Westminster on Thursday: “My vision is for this system to be a permanent part of Government, so that when refugee crises happen – and unfortunately they do all the time – we have a machinery.”
He added: “We’ve got lots of goodwill, we’ve got this machinery of Government in place – it’s not perfect but it’s improving day by day – and I hope it will become a permanent part of how this country deals with refugees.”
The programme has received some criticism, however, with some people concerned at the length of time it takes for the refugees to reach the UK, as well as reports that some Ukrainians have been made homeless after falling out with their hosts.