“When I escaped the war in Ukraine with my husband and two children, I had no idea that I would be playing a part in the coronation,” said Olga Radchenko.
She fled her home in the city of Dnipro in January and sought refuge and work in the UK. She is now one of 10 Ukrainian refugees working at Kashket & Partners, the specialist firm making up to 8,000 parade uniforms for King Charles III’s coronation on Saturday.
“I’m proud to be involved,” said Radchenko, 37, a tailor, who was busy creating new uniforms for the Tower of London’s Yeoman Warders, known as the Beefeaters. “I showed photos to my family and told them I was making uniforms for the king’s army. They also felt proud. I’m very happy to be working here.”
The family-run business holds the contract to provide military uniforms for the armed forces and is responsible for creating all of the uniforms for Saturday’s parade. Nathan Kashket, 25, who works alongside his father, Russell, 60, and his uncle, Marlon, 56, is the fourth generation of the family to head the firm. It was founded in the 1950s by his great-grandfather Alfred, who made hats for Tsar Nicholas II in Russia before moving to London.
Speaking from the company’s factory in Tottenham, north London, Nathan said the company’s cutters, tailors, seamstresses and embroiderers would be working round the clock until Friday to get out the new uniforms. They must also alter hundreds of existing uniforms to include the king’s CR III cypher in place of the late queen’s EIIR cypher.
“We’ll be going right to the wire,” said Nathan, who has been working at the company since he was 16. “We’re making absolutely everything, all the uniforms for the whole defence forces – the British army, RAF, navy and marines. We’re still working, and we will be pushing out as many uniforms as we can until the big day.”