First ladies and queens in times of war

Olena Zelenska has already become the most popular image of the First Lady devoted to her family and the country in its most difficult moments. The wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and one of the most influential women in Ukraine is now a point of reference in all social networks. Together with her husband, Volodymyr Zelensky, they became the iconic image of the war in Ukraine. He – the hero who fought for the freedom of the country, she – the wife who does not leave her country and family, even if the recommendation was to leave Ukraine with her children for a safer West.

More than the First Lady, Olena is an architect and screenwriter, an activist for gender equality.

Olena Kiashko (her maid name) initially started a career in architecture at Kryvyi Rih National University, then turned to screenwrite. At university, he met Zelenski, a law and dramatic art student. They had been schoolmates and childhood friends with mutual friends. She was invited to write screenplays for the comedy company that propelled the current president to public attention.

They married in 2003 and have two children, ages 19 and 7. She does not like to be the center of attention, but when the demands of her social position arise, she acts with aristocratic brilliance and elegance.

 In December 2019, the wife of the newly elected president was included in Focus magazine’s list of the 100 most influential Ukrainians, in support of gender equality and in diplomatic activity to expand her country’s notoriety in the global arena of representation.

Her recent post on Instagram has made the rounds of the world and moved people everywhere:

“My dear Ukrainians! I’m looking at you all today. Everyone I see on TV, on the streets, on the internet. I see your posts and videos. And you know what? You are incredible! I’m proud to be your compatriot! ”

“I do not panic or cry. I will be calm and confident. My kids are looking at me. I’ll be by their side. And next to my husband. And with you.

These days, you have all become an army. In the subway, anti-bomb shelters, with children and pets (because you do not leave your younger siblings) – you do your job, you have time to take care of others, to help each other. We come together on social media to protect homes and help our neighbors. Give your home to those who need shelter. (…) Donate blood to soldiers and victims. Report the movement of enemy vehicles. We are the army, the army is us. And children born in anti-bomb shelters will live in a peaceful country that has defended itself.

A similar situation occurred almost a century ago in the Royal Family of England, when Queen Mother Elizabeth, the wife of King George VI, refused to leave her country and the war-torn king.

With the outbreak of war in 1939, the pressure was exerted on Queen Elisabeth (Queen Mother) and her daughters to be evacuated to North America or Canada. At this protection recommendation, Regina made her famous reply: “The children will not leave without me. I will not leave the King. And the King will never leave the country. “

Photo: Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother, photographed with her daughters Princess Elizabeth (future Queen Elizabeth II) and Princess Margaret in 1939.

Photo: Royal Collection Trust, Olena Zelenska Official

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