Britain’s Prince William, the son of King Charles III and the heir to the British throne, made a surprise visit to Poland this week. The senior royal met with British and Polish soldiers on the border with Ukraine, thanking them for their work preparing Ukrainian soldiers to fight invading Russian forces and providing aid to the country.
“You’re doing a really important job out here and defending our freedoms is really important, and everyone back home thoroughly supports you,” Prince William told soldiers in Rzeszow, roughly one hour from the border.
Photographs of the 40-year-old royal speaking with military personnel were also shared on social media. The official account of the Prince and Princess of Wales shared the photographs, along with posts in both English and Polish.
“This afternoon I travelled to Poland to meet British and Polish troops, where I heard about their extraordinary work in support of Ukraine. My message to them on behalf of all of us, thank you!” the post reads.
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This afternoon I travelled to Poland to meet British and Polish troops, where I heard about their extraordinary work in support of Ukraine.
My message to them on behalf of all of us, thank you! pic.twitter.com/OYc5gvjnw3
— The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) March 22, 2023
During his trip to Rzeszow, the British prince met with Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak and was shown around facilities containing various pieces of military hardware.
After arriving back in Poland’s capital, Warsaw, Prince William praised the strong relationship between the United Kingdom and Poland.
“Our nations have strong ties. Through our cooperation in support of the people of Ukraine and their freedom, which are also our freedoms and yours, these ties are further strengthened,” the Prince of Wales said.
His words were likely a reference to the significant contribution Polish soldiers made to the war effort after 1940, when the Polish Government in exile in the United Kingdom formed an independent Polish Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. Polish soldiers, who escaped to the United Kingdom, remained under the operational command of the British Armed Forces but provided invaluable support to troops fighting the Nazis.
Polish soldiers fought in Italy, North Africa, and in Normandy.
During his time in Warsaw, Prince William visited a refugee and accommodation center to see how Polish humanitarian workers are providing support to Ukrainian refugees forced to leave their homes. Located in a former office building, the accommodation center is run by the City of Warsaw and provides housing, food, and support for roughly 300 women and children.
The trip is not the first time that the British prince has visited Poland. In 2017, Prince William was joined by his wife, Catherine, Princess of Wales.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.