The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge ended the day 1 of their 2 days Northern Ireland visit with a reception at the iconic Empire Music Hall in Belfast. The couple attended a party celebrating young people who are making a real difference in Northern Ireland.
Earlier in the day, the couple visited Windsor Park football stadium, home of the Irish Football Association (IFA), heard about the IFA’s community football projects and how sport plays a role in bringing communities together. Then they went to Fermanagh to see the incredible work that the charity Extern is doing at their Roscor Youth Village, which is a residential activity centre for children referred to the charity by social workers or the Department of Justice. Read more about the day’s engagements here.
The venue of the reception Empire Music Hall is the iconic musical hub in Belfast having three floors of bars, blues, rock, jazz and comedy.
The band LARKS took over the stage to entertain the guests that include representatives from Northern Ireland’s business, arts and sports sectors. The night was hosted by the Lord Lieutenant of Belfast Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle CBE.
Both William and Catherine took turns to pull the pint of Harp. William jokingly said, “Look at that bad boy. Perfect. It’s good enough for an advert”.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met legendary Northern Irish Athlete Dame Mary Peters, who was today appointed by Her Majesty The Queen to be a Lady Companion of the Noblest Order of the Garter. William and Catherine congratulated Mary Peters on her appointment.
In medieval times, King Edward III was so inspired by tales of King Arthur and the chivalry of the Knights of the Round Table that he set up his own group of honourable knights, called the Order of the Garter. Nearly 700 years later, the Order is the oldest and most senior Order of Chivalry in Britain. The Knights, now both male and female, used to be limited to aristocracy, but today they are chosen from a variety of backgrounds, in recognition of their public service. Dame Peters will be invested at Windsor Castle on Garter Day in June this year.
Born in Lancashire, Mary Peters moved to Northern Ireland when she was 11 years old with her father due to his job. The headmaster Donald Woodman and PE teacher Kenneth McClelland introduced her to athletics with Mr McClelland her first coach. In the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Peters competing for Great Britain and Northern Ireland won the gold medal in the women’s pentathlon. After her victory, death threats were phoned in to the BBC, “Mary Peters is a protestant and has won a medal for Britain. An attempt will be made on her life and it will be blamed on the IRA … Her home will be going up in the near future.” but Peters insisted she would return home to Belfast. She was greeted by fans and a band at the airport and paraded through the city streets, but was not allowed back in her flat for three months. Turning down jobs in the US and Australia, where her father lived, she insisted on remaining in Northern Ireland.
Peters established a charitable Sports Trust in 1975 to support talented young sportsmen and women, both able-bodied and disabled, from across Northern Ireland. The Trust now known as the Mary Peters Trust, helps aspiring young athletes realise their maximum potential by assisting them in both a financial and advisory capacity. Since its inception more than 40 years ago, the Mary Peters Trust has made a staggering number of Awards making a difference to the lives of thousands of young athletes from across Northern Ireland.
William addressed the gathering and in his speech praised Mary Peters. As per the Daily mail report William said,
Catherine and I are grateful to be amongst so many inspirational young leaders this evening. Over the course of the day, we’ve had the great privilege of meeting some of you personally and seeing first-hand the work that you are doing. From using sport to encourage people to talk openly about mental health to delivering services to children and young people who are at risk of entering care or custody – the work you do transcends community divisions and is helping deliver a brighter future for everybody in Northern Ireland.
And as we celebrate those who are leading that change for the next generation, it is also fitting that we recognise somebody else in the room this evening – who helped inspire so many of you in the first place. Mary Peters, is not only one of the United Kingdom’s sporting legends, she’s also inspired generation after generation to come together in times of trouble and work for the common good – a lesson I hope many of us can learn from.
So it was fitting today that Her Majesty The Queen has appointed Mary to be a Lady Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter – one of the UK’s highest honours. And I hope you can all join me in thanking and congratulating her personally this evening.
Coming to fashion and style details of the evening, as expected to give a sartorial node to the hosts, Duchess chose a green dress. She was wearing Missoni Metallic Lurex Mint Green Dress.
The $2480 dress is described on Net-a-Porter as, “Missoni’s whisper-weight mint Lurex dress is woven with shimmering threads and has an elegant V-shaped neckline – the pleated midi skirt looks really classic, too”. Missoni label is known for its classically elegant knitted and woven dresses.
The shimmering dress was a beautiful choice on Catherine’s part. It’s wrapped bodice with fitted waistline had a flattering silhouette with a pleated skirt. Adding a touch of vintage was the blouson sleeves. The dress is not available any more.
A closer look at the fabric and pattern of the dress.
Duchess paired her dress with her trusty Gianvito Rossi’s ‘Gianvito 105’ pumps.
And carried Mulberry Bayswater Clutch in buttercream that was debuted in India in 2016.
Another new element of today’s look was her jewellery. She was wearing a new pair of earrings and a necklace from Kiki McDonough’s Candy Collection.
And paired it with matching £1,250.00 Candy Mini Green Amethyst and Diamond pendant.
On Thursday, Duke and Duchess will start their day 2 of their visit. So far the details of the day’s itinerary have not been released due to the security reasons.