The Windsors are ‘doing their bit’ to help Ukrainian refugees, which means what?

Weeks after Russian forces invaded Ukraine, several European royal families announced their immediate plans to house Ukrainian refugees. The Belgian royals and Dutch royals were two of the biggest families to open up their castles and summer homes to refugees, and those governments made it easier for refugees to be brought in quickly. All of which made the British media ask: are the Windsors going to do anything? The Queen and the Prince of Wales are the two largest land-owners/land-holders in the UK. The Duchy of Cornwall (controlled by Charles) has extensive real estate holdings, from country homes to apartments to farms, and it’s not like all of those properties are currently being used. Nevermind all of the Queen’s private and public properties, from Sandringham to Windsor Castle to Balmoral. They could house thousands of refugees with so little muss or fuss. So… um, what’s happening with that? Because we haven’t heard anything about it in months.

The royal family are reportedly providing accommodation to Ukrainian families who have been forced to flee their homeland. Members of the royals have vowed to “do their bit” and are housing refugees but the family has “no wish” for publicity, according to the Daily Express.

Some 53,800 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in the UK under visa schemes, including the Homes for Ukraine programme, which amounts to just over half the number of visas granted.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman told the Express: “We are assisting in a number of ways but will not be commenting further.”

It is not known which royals are housing refugees or where the accommodation is being provided, with the palace contacted for further information.

The palace was used to house royal refugees during the Second World War, with Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands as well as Norway’s King Haalon and his son Prince Olaf staying there after fleeing the Nazis in 1940.

The Prince of Wales said last month he hopes Britain is welcoming to Ukrainians, in an “emotional” meeting with families who have fled Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

[From Yahoo News UK]

I don’t get it. The royals don’t have to release the names of the refugees or give away their personal details, but they could easily say “we’ve made accommodations in Sandringham for five families” or something like that. And the whole “do their bit” makes it sound like they’re checking off a box rather than trying to help people who have been forced to flee their country because of unhinged Russian aggression. It makes an act of compassion sound so rote and duty-bound. Why are they so secretive and why are they so bad at the PR aspect? This could be such an easy way to get excellent press. “Compassionate Charles opens up Duchy properties to refugees, greets children with stuffed animals, Duchy Originals biscuits.” They are so bad at everything.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar.

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36 Responses to “The Windsors are ‘doing their bit’ to help Ukrainian refugees, which means what?”

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  1. lanne says:

    We already know they have “done their bit.” William showed up and gave them a smile. He’ll do one even better and brush his teeth next time when he shows up to “do his bit” again. He’ll even be extra generous and pop a breath mint first! How bout them British royals! Hip hip hooray!!

  2. Eurydice says:

    I really hate to defend the RF here, and it’s just a provisional defense – but I imagine if they did say “we’ve housed 5 families at Sandringham” the tabloids would be camped out in front, taking pictures and trying to get interviews. And while “do their bit” might sound feeble to an American ear, maybe not so in the UK?

    • Andrew's_Nemesis says:

      You’re right, Eurydice: to ‘do one’s bit’ in the UK suggests doing everything one is able to help a collective need or action. Usually with quiet, modest and self-effacing determination. (I don’t make the rules, but am stuck with them.)
      I’ve done my bit for Ukraine, as have millions of people on or just above the breadline in the UK.

      • Charm says:


        Yeah….point taken: the brits are well-known for their phony self-effacing character trait, such that “doing one’s bit,” for example, is expected to be generously translated as “doing everything possible thats in one’s power to do./Yoeman’s service!”

        But surely, even a hint of what could possibly constitute that “bit” could be revealed? As kaiser said in the blurb: “……..they could easily say “we’ve made accommodations in Sandringham for five families” or something like that.”

        The royals become unneccessarily secretive about stuff that should be freely shared with the public, even if its just in broad strokes.

        But of course, a millennia’s habit of forelock tuggers being “no better than they should be” must be hard for the royals to break. /sarc

        Poor BRF. Oh the burdens they must bear. /sarc.

      • Andrew's_Nemesis says:

        It’s not ‘phony’, Charm. I take umbrage at that.

    • MeganC says:

      I was thinking the same thing. Other royals don’t have to deal with the UK tabs hounding their house guests.

    • Eurydice says:

      @Charm – I don’t agree that the British are phonies. It’s like Shaw said – that Britain and the US are separated by a common language. The UK has a different culture and different ways of using English to express that culture. What would be a totally normal announcement in the US would be considered bragging in the UK.

      It’s another thing if you think the RF are lying about their aid to Ukrainian refugees, but that doesn’t mean the way British people act is phony.

      • equality says:

        Then why do these same people seem to think that H&M should disclose the value of anything they buy and tell exactly how much they contribute to any cause?

      • Eurydice says:

        @equality – not sure who you mean by “these same people.” I was responding to @Charm’s assertion that because the British use the English language differently from Americans they are well-known for having a phony character trait.

  3. Jan90067 says:

    I’m sure they’re having banners with their likenesses hung in the train stations, offering that simple smile they said they could afford to give.

    Doubt there’d even be a taped message of welcome. Just shuffle them past a table to take a ziplock bag with a tooth brush, tooth paste, maybe a plastic razor, tiny “hotel” sized bars of soap/shampoos, and a quick little, “Now, make yourself at home for a few days….we’ll be back to collect you soon! Smile everyone!”

  4. Amy Bee says:

    The guy who got this exclusive is the same person who “misheard” William say Africa and Asia when he was at the Ukraine relief centre. Looks like this story is a quid pro quo to me. Because the Palace is so secretive about this it tells me that they have not done their bit to help Ukrainians.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      @ Amy Bee, it sounds like double talk to me. They are “doing their bit” but what is their bit? I can’t see the Windsor’s housing any refugees, especially in one of their stately castles.

      With Charles being the biggest land owner, he could certainly house thousands of families. Plus if he has apartments, that would be ideal since I doubt they would open their homes.

  5. Anna says:

    offering smile and wave?

    • MY3CENTS says:

      Don’t forget Khates brownies.

      • Mrs.Krabapple says:

        Yes, the brownies! They were soooo important that they warranted being photographed and published. Who knows how many people that photo of the brownies saved? We should all be grateful.

    • RoyalBlue says:

      offering prayers and thoughts.

  6. Noki says:

    That sounds like such a dismissive thing to say like the ‘bored of racism’ incident. They feel like they never have to explain themselves to any peasant that’s why everything always reaches fever pitch before they react.

    • Christine says:

      Yep, agreed.

      They have helped zero refugees, and they will continue to help zero more.

      “We are assisting in a number of ways but will not be commenting further.”

      Hi, Idiots. We are not new to your ways, you preen about all of your “accomplishments” (Kitty goes down a slide! Wills smiles one time!), ad nauseum, and “will not be commenting further” means you have helped, wait for it…zero people.

  7. NCWoman says:

    1. They are probably doing very little. 2. They’ve made a point to prop up the monarchy on the hard right. The racists are also ultra-nationalists, and they don’t actually want any immigrants, not even white ones. So good PR in terms of the rest of the world is actually bad PR in terms of their core constituents.

  8. Andrew's_Nemesis says:

    Camilla looks like a Wedgwood Jasperware teapot in that outfit.

  9. equality says:

    And the same readers who demand every detail of anything H&M do with their own money will accept this wishy-washy statement and proclaim the RF wonderful.

  10. Becks1 says:

    I think they’re being so vague and nonspecific because they’re really not doing anything. They’re offering smiles and that’s about it. We know that Charles/Camilla and the Queen made “personal donations” but that was a few months ago and we haven’t heard anything since then AFAIK. They’re not opening up their houses to refugees, or donating food from their chefs, or anything like that.

  11. TIFFANY says:

    Government’s love to tell on themselves when it comes to refugees looking for immediate asylum.

    Gonna be very interesting if and when China invades Taiwan.

    Where will this support be then.

  12. Deanne says:

    Maybe Kate is making them her famous homemade chutney.

  13. J. Ferber says:

    “Doing their bit” is deliberately obscure and can mean anything, including nothing. Obviously it’s nothing that is their priority or super-important. They suck.

  14. Bean says:

    “Doing their bit” means not doing a damn thing at all.
    I would be shocked if they’re actually housing anyone.

  15. Julia K says:

    Charles, usually so well tailored, has ill fitting trousers and has the unsightly Billy Bulge. Must run in the family.

  16. Muprhy says:

    “Their” bit is Katharine Kent housing refugees in her private residence (not KP).
    Shame on them for using her work as their bragging right.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      The senior British Royals are nothing but a big bag of losers.

      I have never seen a bigger group of posers in one family.

  17. tamsin says:

    i am starting to get the impression that the Windsors are a bunch of cheapskates. I can see the Queen and Charles quietly donating money (otherwise Everyone will want them to donate and they can’t, of course). But they have never given the impression that they are generous, magnanimous, compassionate, or empathetic. They could consider donating produce from the bounty of their many farms and estates to refugee organizations, get the royal children to donate some of their toys, sponsor a couple of welcome to Britain dinners, get Kate to give a couple of new dresses to buy books for children, etc, etc. Kate’s brownies I thought were pitiful, and I think it was for the workers at the centre. Meghan’s banana loaf was to a farm family visit, something anybody would do and was perfectly appropriate. I still can’t get over William’s comment that they can only give a smile now and then. How could such pompousness even leave his lips?

  18. NotSoSocialB says:

    “Doing their bit” sounds like what it is…insultingly trivializing. And saying they are helping but will not comment further is saying they are doing nothing without saying they are doing nothing.

  19. blunt talker says:

    I read about a month ago the royal family in Europe was using their own properties to house Ukrainians-this maybe where Charles got the idea to do the same-I don’t remember which royal family in Europe who stated this.