Today, Queen Letizia of Spain attended an event at the Mutua Madrilena Foundation Grants for Social Projects in Madrid. Along with her black pants and heels, the Queen wore a vyshyvanka, a traditional Ukrainian embroidered blouse to the ceremony, coming on the eighth day of Russia’s violent invasion of Ukraine.
Of course, the Queen’s choice of clothing is a pointed one: Spain is one of the 141 countries of the United Nations to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine. The vyshyvanka has been part of Ukraine’s culture for hundreds of years and has a rich history. Rather than being a specific embroidery style, it includes multiple different techniques of threadwork that can reflect different regions, cities, and even families within Ukraine. Sometimes, the vyshyvanka’s embroidery can signify health, happiness, good luck, while each piece can take weeks to even months to embroider. The vyshyvanka is so ingrained in Ukrainian culture that there is even a day dedicated to it on May 19.