14 March 2023

Kyiv ambassador Dame Melinda Simmons pays tribute to Ukraine during investiture

14 March 2023

The UK’s ambassador to Ukraine said she was “channelling” the beleaguered nation by wearing blue and yellow at Buckingham Palace where she was made a dame.

Melinda Simmons, the ambassador in Kyiv, said it was “extraordinary” to receive her honour from the King and an opportunity to highlight the ongoing Russian invasion.

Dame Melinda spoke to Charles on Tuesday about the bravery of the Ukrainian people as she received her damehood for services to British foreign policy.

She told PA: “It’s completely extraordinary in just a really beautiful place, and it just feels like recognition of everything that all of my team has been doing in Ukraine.

“When I was first told I thought I was being called about something else, I was blindsided and had tears in my eyes.

“The King asked me how things were in Ukraine and in the east, we talked a bit about that and reflected on how brave the Ukrainians have been.

I wanted Ukrainians to see that Ukraine was being recognised through this ceremony

“This honour is another opportunity to keep the invasion of Ukraine in people’s minds.”

Dame Melinda wore a blue outfit with her fingernails painted yellow and blue.

Speaking about her choice, she added: “I’m channelling Ukraine, that’s fairly obvious.

“I really wanted to show that I was receiving this for where I had been doing the work and I wanted Ukrainians to see that Ukraine was being recognised through this ceremony.

“So all of this has been carefully put together.”

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