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Dublin: 14 °C Friday 16 November, 2018
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275 horses and an Irish Wolfhound named Domhnall welcome President to Windsor

Although one Windsor resident asked “what’s happening here today?”

Image: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

Updated 2.40pm

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins was given a spectacular ceremonial welcome at Windsor today as his historic State visit to the UK got under way.

All the colour and pageantry of the Army’s Household Division provided a spectacular show for the President and his wife Sabina as they arrived in Windsor to meet Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

They were accompanied by the Tánaiste and his wife Carol Hanney as well as the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall whom the Irish delegation had met at Grosvenor Place in central London this morning.

In Windsor itself, crowds gathered from around 9am with tricolours and Union Jacks dotted around the picturesque town.

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While many were aware of what was happening, one woman was puzzled by it all, asking TheJournal.ie: “Excuse me, what’s happening here today?”

More than 850 British Army personnel, 275 horses and an Irish Wolfhound named Domhnall were working in support of the State visit and some of them lined up along Datchet Road to provide a welcome procession for the President.

Horses and cavalrymen were resplendent in their plumed helmets and silver breastplates lining up neatly along Datchet Road as they and assembled dignitaries awaited the arrival of the Queen and Prince Philip and then President Higgins and his wife.

PresHigginsUKStateVisit10 President Higgins' wife Sabina and the Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall this morning Source: Malcolm McNally/Fennells


Why Tweet when you can shout? The town crier welcomes the President to Windsor (YouTube: Hugh O’Connell)

As the President stepped into the Royal Pavilion on Datchet Road, a 21 gun Royal Salute by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, Commanded by Major Mark Edward, was fired from Home Park in Windsor, and simultaneously a 41 gun Royal Salute was fired by the Honourable Artillery Company.

After the Irish national anthem was played, the President and the Queen made their way into a waiting carriage, an Australian state coach, and were driven through the town to Windsor Castle, where the Grenadier Guards provided a Guard of Honour for the President to inspect.


The President and the Queen depart [apologies for sound quality] (YouTube: Hugh O’Connell)

It was there that the President met the Irish Wolfhound, 20-month-old Domhnall, and his handler Drummer David Steel.

275 horses and an Irish Wolfhound named Domhnall welcome President to Windsor
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  • Source: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography
  • Source: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography
  • Source: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography
  • Source: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography
  • Source: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography
  • Source: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography
  • Source: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

[All gallery pics: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography]

This afternoon, the President will visit Westminster Abbey where he is expected to lay a wreath at the grave of the Unknown Warrior before he delivers a keynote speech to both Houses of Parliament in the Royal Gallery in Westminster Palace.

Follow all our State Visit coverage here > 

Read: Here’s what the President is up to on day one of his State visit to the UK

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Hugh O'Connell

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