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Kate Middleton and Prince William beam with happiness as they welcome guests back to Buckingham Palace

The Queen also returned to Windsor Castle on Wednesday

Danielle Stacey

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met the President and First Lady of Ukraine on Wednesday in the couple's first palace event since lockdown.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his wife Оlena had an audience with Prince William and Kate in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace.

Neither parties wore masks and they did not partake in the traditional handshakes which were the pre-pandemic custom for royal audiences.

PA reports that during the brief meeting, the couples stood socially distanced before moving to two separate sofas to continue their conversation.

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Kate looked elegant in a cornflower blue belted midi dress for the engagement while her husband William donned a navy suit and polka dot tie.

Mr Zelenskyy, who is travelling to London with a ministerial delegation for a two-day visit, will also sign the Political, Free Trade and Strategic Partnership Agreement with Boris Johnson on Thursday.

William and Kate's meeting marked the first time the Queen's central London residence has been used for a royal engagement in seven months, since the nation went into lockdown amid the coronavirus outbreak in March.

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William and Kate during their meeting with Ukraine's President and First Lady

It comes after the Queen returned to Windsor Castle, following her break in Sandringham with the Duke of Edinburgh.

The 94-year-old monarch and her 99-year-old husband spent lockdown at the Berkshire royal residence before travelling to Balmoral in August for their annual summer break.

A statement on the royal family's website last week revealed that Her Majesty will travel to her Berkshire residence in October and will "resume the use of Buckingham Palace during an autumn programme of audiences and engagements, in line with all relevant guidance and advice".

MORE: George, Charlotte and Louis shown gardening in sweet new photos

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Kate looked elegant in a cornflower blue dress

On Tuesday, the Duchess of Cambridge visited the University of Derby on Tuesday to hear about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on students ahead of World Mental Health Day on 10 October.

William and Kate released adorable footage of their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis asking questions to Sir David Attenborough over the weekend. It marked the first time royal fans have heard two-year-old Louis speak in public.

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