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Royal family secretly 'open up their homes' to Ukrainian refugees fleeing Putin's troops
21 May 2022, 07:18
Members of the royal family have reportedly given accommodation to Ukrainian families who have been forced to flee their homeland as a result of Putin's invasion.
Members of the royals have vowed to "do their bit" and are housing refugees but the family has "no wish" for publicity, it is reported.
Some 53,800 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in the UK under visa schemes, including the Homes for Ukraine programme, which amounts to just over half the number of visas granted.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman told the Express: "We are assisting in a number of ways but will not be commenting further."
It is not known which royals are housing refugees or where the accommodation is being provided, with the palace contacted for further information.
The palace was used to house royal refugees during the Second World War, with Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands as well as Norway's King Haalon and his son Prince Olaf staying there after fleeing the Nazis in 1940.
The Prince of Wales said last month he hopes Britain is welcoming to Ukrainians, in an "emotional" meeting with families who have fled Vladimir Putin's invasion.
Charles made the comments on April 28 during a visit to the World Jewish Relief (WJR) charity in north London, which has sent food, money and medicine to the war-torn country.
Charles, a patron of the group since 2015, has made a financial contribution to its efforts although the sum has not been made public.
Charles and Camilla met members of the Ukrainian community at a cathedral in Ottawa during their tour of Canada earlier this week, with the Duchess of Cornwall telling a family who fled from Lutsk and were forced to leave their father there to fight: "We are so behind you."
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, meanwhile, at the start of March thanked the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for expressing their solidarity with the people of his homeland.
The foreign leader said he was "grateful" to the couple who tweeted on February 27 that they stood with "the President and all of Ukraine's people as they bravely fight" for their future.
The reported royal housing of those fleeing the conflict comes days after the minister in charge of Homes for Ukraine called for the scheme to become a model for dealing with future refugee crises.
Lord Harrington, who was drafted in to run 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, however, been criticised for the length of time it has taken for the refugees to reach the UK and the fact that some Ukrainians have reportedly been made homeless after falling out with their hosts.