Prince William honors Poles who fell in past wars in Warsaw

Prince William has placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw, paying his respects to the Poles who lost their lives in past wars

Vanessa Gera,Danica Kirka
Thursday 23 March 2023 10:25 GMT

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

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Prince William placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw on Thursday, paying his respects to the Poles who have lost their lives in past wars during a visit aimed at honoring Poland's efforts to help Ukraine today.

The heir to the throne's visit to Poland underscores Britain’s support for an ally on the front line of efforts to help refugees displaced by Russia’s war in Ukraine and to assist the Ukrainian military in fighting off the invasion.

William laid a wreath in Poland's national colors, white and red, and bowed his head solemnly at the memorial to the fallen Poles. He is expected to meet next with President Andrzej Duda, one of several meetings on a two day trip to Poland.

William began his surprise visit Wednesday by meeting with British and Polish troops in Rzeszow, a city of 200,000 people in southeastern Poland that has become a hub for shipments of military and humanitarian aid bound for Ukraine.

“I just wanted to come here in person to say thank you for all that you’re doing, keeping everyone safe out here and keeping an eye on what’s going on,″ William said as he spoke to the troops.

He later traveled to a center in Warsaw that houses about 300 recent arrivals from Ukraine, meeting Ukrainians and playing table tennis with children.

The U.K. has been one of the most outspoken supporters of bolstering NATO’s eastern flank in the face of Russia’s aggression. The country sent troops to Poland and the Baltic states and provided more than 2.3 billion pounds ($2.8 billion) of military aid to Ukraine. It also has pledged 220 million pounds ($269 million) of humanitarian assistance.

Deploying the popular 40-year-old prince, a military veteran who also worked as a civilian air-sea rescue pilot, offers a more personal touch. While British political leaders have visited Poland regularly to trumpet their support for NATO and the Ukrainian cause, a senior royal like William is a symbol of the nation who can thank military personnel for their service without the baggage of party politics.

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Kirka contributed from London.

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