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Stars gather with the King and Queen for humanitarian workers

Stars join the King and Queen at a glittering Buckingham Palace reception for Britain’s humanitarian workers

  • Joanna Lumley, Trevor McDonald and Michael Palin meet Charles and Camilla 
  • Read more: ‘Charles wants refugees to feel welcome’, says Michael Palin

A former refugee who dreamed of coming to London and having his photograph taken outside Buckingham Palace said it was a ‘miracle’ to meet the King last night. 

Nizam Uddin came to the UK 15 years ago after spending 18 years living in a camp in Bangladesh after fleeing the Rohingya persecution in Myanmar. 

He described the camp, one of the largest refugee settlements in the world, as a ‘prison’ and said he and his family longed for escape. 

Mr Uddin came to the UK under government settlement scheme and now works as an interpreter, black cab driver and is studying to teach, as well as being general secretary of the British Rohingya Community organisation.

King Charles III speaks with representatives from Turquoise Mountain – established to protect heritage and communities at risk – during a reception at Buckingham Palace to recognise the UK’s contribution to humanitarian efforts across the world and to mark 60 years of the Disasters Emergency Committee

King Charles III meets actress Joanna Lumley 

 He was introduced to King Charles at a reception at Buckingham Palace, held by The King and Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Gloucester, to thank those who have worked towards the United Kingdom’s contribution to humanitarianism, including in recognition of sixty years of the Disasters Emergency Committee. 

He said: ‘It was a dream that we would one day come to London and pose for a photograph outside Buckingham Palace. 

Tonight I am inside it as a guest of the King. It’s been such an honour to meet him.’ 

The Reception showcased the human stories of those involved in the sector, from fundraisers to frontline workers, and those who have been impacted by crises, including communities seeking to protect their cultural heritage, and refugees building new lives in the UK. 

Their Majesties were introduced to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Chief Executive, Mr Saleh Saeed, as well as high-profile supporters, including Dame Joanna Lumley, Sir Michael Palin and actor Adrian Lester, who have launched appeals for the charity, as they mark their 60th anniversary year. 

There was also a number of well-known broadcast journalists including Jon Snow – who chatted to the King about being a father to a three-year-old son at 76, as well as his work around the globe at the scene of some of the world’s biggest humanitarian disasters – Yalda Hakim, Lyse Doucet and Sir Trevor McDonald. 

The King was very taken with assistance dog, Coco, who was with her owner, Archie Douglas, who has raised more than £25,000 for the DEC despite suffering from a brain tumour.

 In the Ballroom of Buckingham Palace, Their Majesties viewed displays from the Disasters Emergency Committee, Turquoise Mountain – an organisation set up by the King himself – and and ShelterBox . 

The Disasters Emergency Committee showcased a selection of aid items they provide in a crisis or emergency including handwashing stations, solar powered lights and a dignity kit to help women and girls manage hygiene. 

Their Majesties then joined the Reception to meet fundraisers, volunteers and supporters of a range of organisations, including; ActionAid UK, British Red Cross, Oxfam, Refugee Action and UNICEF. A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said the King had given a donation to the British red Cross, of which he is president . 

 Businesswoman Deborah Meaden, right, was among those invited

Queen Camilla with former Conservative MP and minister turned-podcaster Rory Stewart

The DEC brings together 15 leading UK aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently at times of crisis overseas. 

Recent appeals include the Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal, Pakistan Floods Appeal and Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the DEC. 

In the past 60 years the UK public has donated £2.4 billion to 77 national appeals, reaching millions of people in need and responding to some of the largest humanitarian crises in the world. The Queen, as Duchess of Cornwall, became President of ShelterBox in 2007. 

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