Diplomatic reception at Windsor Castle which was to have been hosted by the Queen this week is postponed 'on Foreign Secretary Liz Truss's advice' as war rages in Ukraine
- The Diplomatic Reception at Windsor Castle on Wednesday has been postponed
- The Queen was due to have hosted the annual event, Buckingham Palace said
- The Palace said the Queen accepted the Foreign Secretary's advice to postpone
- The reception sees more than 500 members of the Diplomatic Corps attend
PUBLISHED: 05:59 AEDT, 27 February 2022 | UPDATED: 07:10 AEDT, 27 February 2022
The Diplomatic Reception at Windsor Castle, which was to have been hosted by the Queen this week, has been postponed.
The annual event, which was due to take place on Wednesday, has been postponed on advice from Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, according to Buckingham Palace.
The Queen would have been meeting hundreds of members of the Diplomatic Corps if the event went ahead as planned.
In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: 'The Queen has accepted the Foreign Secretary's advice that the Diplomatic Reception at Windsor on Wednesday 2nd March should be postponed.'
A source said the postponement was 'due to the current circumstances in Ukraine'.
The Diplomatic Reception at Windsor Castle, which was to have been hosted by the Queen this week, has been postponed on advice from Foreign Secretary, Buckingham Palace said. Pictured: The Queen at a Diplomatic Reception in December 2019
The war in the Ukraine continues to rage on, with Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky firing a warning shot to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Saturday as the Kremlin's forces closed in around Kyiv.
In a video address, a confident Zelensky said Ukraine had fought off 'enemy attacks' after a high-rise apartment block in Kyiv was hit by a devastating missile this morning, with Ukraine's civilian death toll now standing at 198.
The Diplomatic Reception sees the Queen and other members of the Royal Family welcome more than 500 members of the Diplomatic Corps.
The reception - one of the highlights of the royal calendar - is normally hosted at Buckingham Palace but was set to be held at Windsor Castle for the first time since 2019.
Instead of the usual grand white tie affair for around 1,000 ambassadorial staff, it was planned to be a smaller lounge suit and cocktail dress event at Windsor Castle.
The white tie Diplomatic Reception is the main social event of the year in London for the diplomatic community and reflects the Queen’s importance in terms of the UK’s international relations.
The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge attending a reception for members of the Diplomatic Corps in December 2016
It is normally the largest reception held at Buckingham Palace, requiring hours of intricate planning by the Master of the Household and the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, as well as the commandeering of almost every member of waiting staff.
More than 1,000 people from around 130 countries, including members of the British government, past Prime Ministers and the Archbishops of Canterbury and York attend the gathering.
The invitation list is coordinated by the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps and invitations are sent out to all the ambassadors and high commissioners at the foreign missions in London.
The many hundreds of ambassadors and embassy staff officially accredited to the Court of St James often attend the annual event in brilliantly coloured and eye-catching national dress.
The postponement comes after Ukraine's president Volodmyr Zelensky pledged to 'destroy the occupiers' as he said his country's army had successfully repelled Russian forces advancing on Kyiv.
In a video message to the nation, Zelensky accused the Kremlin of attempting to seize the capital, overthrow the government and install a 'puppet' regime 'like in Donetsk', one of two separatist regions which warmonger Vladimir Putin officially recognised before launching an all-out invasion.
Declaring 'we broke their idea', he added: 'The fights are going on in many cities and areas of our state. But we know that we are protecting the country, the land, the future of our children. Kyiv and key cities around the capital are controlled by our army.
Source said the postponement was 'due to the current circumstances in Ukraine'. Picutred: Ukrainian soldiers take positions outside a military facility as two cars burn, in a street in Kyiv
'Each Ukrainian should keep one thing in mind: if you can stop and destroy the occupiers - do it. Everyone who can come back to Ukraine - come back to defend Ukraine.'
Meanwhile, a curfew in Kyiv has been imposed until 8am on Monday to ensure the most effective defence of the city and the safety of its people. A previous daily curfew had run from 10pm to 7am.
Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said: 'All civilians on the street during the curfew will be considered members of the enemy's sabotage and reconnaissance groups.'
It comes after a high-rise apartment block in Kyiv was hit by a devastating missile this morning, while Ukraine's civilian death toll hit 198.
Britain's Ministry of Defence said the bulk of Russian forces involved in the advance on Kyiv were now 30 km (19 miles) from the city centre.
'Russia has yet to gain control of the airspace over Ukraine greatly reducing the effectiveness of the Russian Air Force,' the defence ministry said in an intelligence update posted on Twitter.
But armed forces minister James Heappey said today there was no reason to think a 'happy ending is just around the corner' as he warned the conflict could rumble on for months.
He told BBC Breakfast: 'Nobody should think that this is anywhere near over. What stands in front of Ukraine, its armed forces and very tragically its people, is days, weeks, months more of what we have seen over that last 48 hours.'
As Ukrainian forces said they had fought off a Russian attack on their capital today, Zelensky vowed to stay and fight on in an impassioned video to his people.
'I am here. We will not lay down any weapons. We will defend our state, because our weapons are our truth,' he said outside his office, denouncing as disinformation claims that he had surrendered or fled.
A Ukrainian soldier stands guard behind tires in Kyiv during Russia's military intervention in Ukraine
Wearing military garb, the president added: 'A lot of fake information has appeared on the internet saying that I allegedly called on our army to lay down its arms and that evacuation is underway.
'Our truth is that this is our land, our country, our children and we will protect all of this. This is what I wanted to tell you. Glory to Ukraine!'
Shocking footage today showed a missile ripping apart a tower block near Zhuliany airport, while CCTV from inside also shows the extent of the damage after the site was hit.
Images show the building with a hole covering at least five floors blasted into the side and rubble strewn across the street below. Two people are reported to have been killed in the strike.
Anton Herashchenko also said Russia was lying about not shelling civilian infrastructure, claiming at least 40 such sites had been hit. Ukraine reported later on Saturday 19 people had been killed in shelling in the country's east.
These civilian deaths were reported on top of 198 reported earlier today, bringing the total to 219 - including three children - that have been killed so far by Russian forces attacking the country.
Ukraine's health minister said today, while around 1,200 - including 33 children - have been wounded.
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Diplomatic reception at Windsor Castle is postponed 'on Foreign Secretary Liz Truss's advice'
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