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William and Kate arrive in Ireland and meet with President Higgins ahead of three day visit

Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Galway are all on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s itinerary this week.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet with Sabina and Micheal D Higgins.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet with Sabina and Micheal D Higgins.
Image: PA

Updated Mar 3rd 2020, 5:30 PM

THE DUKE AND Duchess of Cambridge have arrived today as they kick off a three-day trip to the country.

William and Kate arrived in the country earlier today and so far have met with President Micheal D Higgins and his wife Sabina and paid a visit to the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin city centre. 

President Higgins invited them to sign the Distinguished Visitors’ Book during their visit earlier this afternoon. 

The royal couple also spent some time with Higgins in the President’s Study before moving to the bilateral meeting in the Drawing Room.

During the meeting, Higgins and his wife were joined by the Secretary General to the president Art O’Leary, the Irish Ambassador to the UK Adrian O’Neill and Claire Power, the president’s adviser.

Will and Kate were joined by the British Ambassador to Ireland Robin Barnett and Simon Case, the Duke’s private secretary.

Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Galway are all on the itinerary this week. 

A statement on behalf of the royal couple, released ahead of the visit, said:

“From its thriving cities to rural communities, the programme will take in Ireland’s rich culture, its impactful community initiatives and spectacular scenery.

Following Her Majesty The Queen’s historic visit in 2011, the visit will also focus on the relationship between the two countries, and build on the theme of remembrance and reconciliation.

the-duke-and-duchess-of-cambridge-visit-ireland-day-1 The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today. Source: PA

the-duke-and-duchess-of-cambridge-visit-ireland-day-1 The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge exiting a plane this afternoon. Source: PA

the-duke-and-duchess-of-cambridge-visit-ireland-day-1 Source: PA

The couple also met Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings this afternoon.  

They will also visit Prosperous in Kildare, Grange in Meath and a local GAA club in Galway this week. 

the-duke-and-duchess-of-cambridge-visit-ireland-day-1 People looking out the window waiting on the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge near the Garden of Remembrance today. Source: PA

The trip itself was, unusually, announced in advance, and is being seen as a well-timed diplomatic operation in the wake of Brexit.

The Queen’s historic visit to Dublin nine years ago was made amid unprecedented security, and she became the first British monarch to travel here in 100 years.

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla have made five visits to Ireland over the past five years.

While the royals’ visit didn’t draw massive crowds in Dublin, a few loyal fans were in attendance at the Garden of Remembrance this afternoon. 

“I was here when the Queen was here in 2011. I took a day off work the day William’s mother [Princess Diana] was married a long time ago,” one onlooker, who gave her name as Claire, said. 

“I just love royalty and I love everything about them. And I’m glad that people have turned out. It’s a lovely day, the sun is shining.”

One fan, Patrick, came from Belfast and said he had a particular fondness for the royal couple: “I just think they’re so hands-on, the way they do things.

“The way they conduct themselves, and the way that they bring up their children. They still have a sense of duty, they support the Queen, they support the country,” he said. 

- With reporting by Orla Dwyer and Jesse Melia

About the author:

Sean Murray

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