Double delight: King honours two prominent women on same day

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Double delight: King honours two prominent women on same day

Recognition for British ambassador to Ukraine Dame Melinda Simmons and Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl OBE

Dame Melinda Simmons is made a Dame Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George by the King (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Dame Melinda Simmons is made a Dame Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George by the King (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Britain’s ambassador to Ukraine and the President of the Board of Deputies were both presented with honours on the same day at Buckingham Palace.

Melinda Simmons, with her fingernails painted yellow and blue to reflect the colours of the war-torn country’s flag, said it was “extraordinary” to receive her damehood for services to British foreign policy from King Charles III.

OBE awarded to Marie van der Zyl

She is known to be on good personal terms with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, who admired her determination to stay at her post in Kyiv inThe early days of the war, not least when other diplomats left Ukraine.

She told the Press Association: “It just feels like recognition of everything that all of my team has been doing in Ukraine” and that the King “asked me how things were in Ukraine and in the east, we talked a bit about that and reflected on how brave the Ukrainians have been”.

She added: “This was a really great day. Made extra special by the presence of my family who have supported me all through these challenging times.”

Marie van Der Zyl was also among those celebrating after receiving an OBE from His Majesty. Last week, she led a delegation of communal representatives to petition His Majesty, King Charles III, ahead of his coronation, describing it as a “tremendous privilege”.

van der Zyl read an address, in the name of the Board and the Anglo-Jewish Association, congratulating the King following his accession to the throne.

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