Today, much to everyone’s surprise the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Belfast, Northern Ireland for two days visit. The visit was embargoed because of security reasons and was not announced beforehand. William and Catherine’s official royal title in Northern Ireland is Baron and Baroness of Carrickfergus.
William and Catherine are visiting Belfast, Fermanagh and Ballymena on a two-day trip, 27-28 February that will celebrate the young people of Northern Ireland. Before this William and Catherine have made only 1-day visits to Northern Ireland. This is their first visit when they will be staying overnight.
Day one has a strong focus on the positive impact that sport, nature and the outdoors can have on childhood development, and improved physical and mental health for all. William and Catherine started the first day with a visit to Windsor Park football stadium, home of the Irish Football Association (IFA). The royal couple was welcomed by a huge crowd outside the IFA. One cute kid wearing waistcoat and bow tie caught Duchess attention that gave us few candid shots.
Duchess talking to the members of public gathered outside the IFA where she was presented with flowers.
They were received by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Belfast, Sir Nigel Hamilton and the Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet CSM Ryan McMaster of the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association for Northern Ireland.
The couple toured the National Stadium at Windsor Park and heard about the IFA’s community football projects and how sport plays a role in bringing communities together. They saw how the facility tells the unique story of Northern Ireland football using a variety of media and interactive displays and how it showcases the Irish FA’s mission to promote, foster and develop ‘football for all’.
They took a closer look at the British Championship trophy, won by Northern Ireland when it was last played in 1984.
At IFA, they met with the Northern Ireland’s goalkeeping legend Pat Jennings at Windsor Park Football Stadium. Patrick Anthony Jennings, who was honoured as OBE, is a Northern Irish former footballer. He played 119 games for Northern Ireland as a goalkeeper, a figure which at the time was a world record and is still a Northern Ireland record, in an international career which lasted for over 22 years.
Irish FA Director of Football Development Michael Boyd said: “It was a fantastic privilege to welcome the Duke and Duchess to the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park and to tell them about the work that the Irish FA Foundation does promote football for all, health, education and employability serving communities right across Northern Ireland. The Royal couple were really interested in the projects we deliver, and it was a massive boost for our staff and our participants to meet them and to be encouraged by them.”
The IFA run outreach programmes that benefit the mental and physical health of local communities. ‘Shooting Stars’ encourages young girls to play football and ‘Ahead of the Game’ works to support clubs and volunteers when dealing with mental health issues, with a focus on challenging the stigma and preventative measures.
The Royal couple watched primary school children from across Belfast take part in some of the Irish Football Association Foundation’s award-winning initiatives such as the Electric Ireland Shooting Stars programme, which promotes football participation for girls aged between four and seven, and the McDonald’s Fun Football programme which is aimed at encouraging kids of all ages to play the game for the first time.
As well as the association’s work with children, the Duke and Duchess learnt about the Irish FA’s ‘Stay Onside’ initiative which uses sport to divert young people away from criminality and offending. The programme is delivered in both custodial and community settings.
The Royal couple also met Jason Browning, a member of the Northern Ireland Powerchair team, and spent time with graduates of the Irish FA Foundation’s Female Football Leadership programme.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet participants of IFA’s ahead of the Game Mental Health programme which supports clubs and volunteers when dealing with mental health issues with a focus on challenging the stigma and preventative measures.
Irish FA President David Martin said: “This was a very special day for the association and for the football family in Northern Ireland. The fact that the Royal couple asked to come to the National Football Stadium and to see the work of the Irish FA first-hand is a tremendous endorsement of the programmes our staff deliver.”
⚽💚 Thank you @OfficialIrishFA for the lovely gift of @NorthernIreland shirts for Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis! #GAWA #RoyalVisitNI pic.twitter.com/ecOA050Qaf
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) February 27, 2019
William and Catherine received cute little Northern Ireland Football dress shirts form George, Charlotte and Louis.
Both William and Catherine joined children on the pitch in a football practice session playing for opposite teams. Duchess playing with children. Chris Ship reported that the children who played football with William and Catherine said, “They were very competitive“. William warns young players about his wife that she “goes for the ankles” while Catherine told the kids that Prince George has declared her football skills as “rubbish”.
Whenever Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have joint engagement they are guaranteed to be fun. And if they are sports-related we surely are in for a very competitive yet romantic treat. As always today, William and Catherine participated in the field and we saw their chemistry once again.
⚽ The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge join children involved in the @OfficialIrishFA‘s grassroots programmes for a kickabout at @NorthernIreland‘s Windsor Park. #RoyalVisitNI pic.twitter.com/ya242qCXyX
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) February 27, 2019
A video shared by Kensington Palace on Twitter.
Next stop of the day was Fermanagh. The Duke and Duchess saw 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. The site provides a safe space to help and support these young people, with particular emphasis on outdoor activities and developing independent living skills.
They’re here!A huge Extern welcome to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Roscor#royalvisitni https://t.co/fSoYwShpqW
— Extern Charity (@extern1978) February 27, 2019
Extern is the leading social justice charity, transforming the lives of 20,000 people each yr by meeting them at their point of need. Extern’s Roscor Youth Village, is on the shores of Lower Lough Erne, Co. Fermanagh, to mark its 21st year. During their visit, The Duke and Duchess met and chatted to children and young people who are currently being supported by Extern at Roscor Youth Village.
Roscor is a haven of hope, and place of safety, for more than 2,500 children and young people from across the island of Ireland each year. Many come to stay when they are facing challenging situations at home, or in care, and while they are being supported on one of Extern’s programmes. In addition, Roscor also offers an additional 200 children from the Western Health and Social Care Trust access to summer camps each year, so that they can experience a fun-filled holiday break.
This visit also comes during Extern’s 40th year. Since 1978, Extern has grown to become the leading social justice charity across the island of Ireland. Today, Extern has over 80 projects operating out of 40 locations, delivering world-class social care interventions to transform the lives of 20,000 people each year. In addition to its work alongside children, young people and families, Extern also supports people who are homeless, or who are living with homelessness, those dealing with mental health and drug and alcohol issues, those living with the impact of suicide, refugees, the Traveller community and people living with an offending past.
William and Catherine signed 2 tiles marking the event.
The Duke and Duchess joined in with the children on a range of the fun activities Roscor offers, including a Canadian raft race on Lough Erne. They were on opposite teams and Duke’s team won.
And we’re off…the inaugural Extern Roscor Kayak Race with TRH The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge on beautiful Lower Lough Erne #RoyalVisitNI #externchangeslives pic.twitter.com/sY5PPCInfb
— Extern Charity (@extern1978) February 27, 2019
William and Catherine then met several young people who have previously been supported by Extern, and who are still in touch with Roscor, both as volunteers and as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award. They were keen to develop an understanding of the challenges faced by the children who come to stay at Roscor.
Catherine also tried her hand at archery. They heard from Extern’s staff how the educational and fun activities provided by the charity at Roscor enable them to support children to build much-needed resilience and self-confidence around issues they may be facing in their lives.
TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meeting our staff and guests at our life-changing Roscor Youth Village. #Extern #RoyalVisitNI #Roscor pic.twitter.com/2NhRUyMjtC
— Extern Charity (@extern1978) February 27, 2019
The Duke and Duchess were also introduced to Derek McCabe, Chair of Extern, members of Extern staff, Howard Thornton, Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, and Brendan Hegarty, CEO of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.
Speaking about the visit, Charlie Mack, CEO of Extern, said: “We are tremendously honoured to have The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Extern today to learn more about the life-changing work which goes on at our Roscor Youth Village. Childhood should be a safe, happy, and precious time, but unfortunately, when things go wrong at home, or in care, it is often children who feel the brunt. That’s where Roscor makes a difference. While here, children feel safe, and through world-class specialist social care interventions we help them build resilience and empower them to plot a brighter future for themselves. Extern applauds the work Their Royal Highnesses are undertaking to raise awareness about the many challenges which children still face in our society today, including around mental health and wellbeing. Extern is committed to transforming lives, and here at Roscor, providing children with the opportunity to discover strengths and abilities they never knew they had is a vital part of that vision. It was a joy to see their Royal Highnesses share our vision in their genuine interest and engagement with everyone at Roscor today.”
Duchess helped kids in setting up a tent. At the end of their visit, a bowl created by the young people was presented to William and Catherine, along with a posy of flowers.
The Duke and Duchess also helped create a tile to be included in Roscor’s Wall of Hope, a visual centrepiece which contains expressions of hope by children who visit Roscor.
Ending the day back in Belfast at the iconic Empire Music Hall, Their Royal Highnesses will attend a party celebrating young people who are making a real difference in Northern Ireland. The band LARKS will take to the stage, and guests will encompass representatives from Northern Ireland’s business, arts and sports sectors, including Dame Mary Peters who was today appointed Lady Companion of the Noblest of the Garter by Her Majesty The Queen.
For the arrival, Duchess of Cambridge wore the bright red Carolina Herrera Double-breasted coat. We first saw the coat in September 2016 during the Canada tour. She again wore the coat in Paris in 2017.
Coming from label’s 2016 Fall Collection the coat is crafted from wool and cashmere blend.
Underneath the coat, Catherine was wearing a black sweater that is still unidentified.
Duchess paired the outfit with her L.K. Bennett’s Marissa black suede ankle boots that she debuted during school visits in February 2019.
Catherine finished her look with her Kiki Lauren Yellow Gold Pavé Diamond Leaf Earrings.
Duchess had a quick outfit change for a session of football practice at the pitch. She was wearing Navy Women’s Barbour Longshore Quilted Jacket. Thanks to PerthsFashion for the id. The jacket is available on OutdoorandCountry in Navy, Clover, Marigold and Powder Blue.
The £159.95 jacket is described as, “Perfect for adding warmth on those chillier days, the Women’s Barbour Longshore Quilted Jacket has been designed with style and practicality in mind to keep you looking your best and feeling cosy whether you are out in the town or country. The Longshore boasts a chevron quilted design, with detailing at the waist to offer you not only an on-trend feel but also a figure-flattering look that you are sure to love. For ease of movement and added comfort, there are stretch panels to the sides of the jacket. Boasting a full zip that fastens up to a funnel neckline, this jacket is sure to keep those cool winds at bay, with the two front zip fasten pockets providing the ideal place to store your personal essentials whilst you are out and about. Place over your favourite Barbour sweater to complete your fashion-forward look with ease”.
Underneath the jacket, Duchess was wearing Ralph Lauren Joy Cricket Jumper. Huge thanks to lovely Lauren Parkinson on twitter for the id. The €139, its colour is described as mascarpone cream, the knitted sweater has vee-neckline with blue and red stripes on neckline, hemline and cuffs. The sweater is not available anymore.
For her second look, Duchess debuted New Balance Fresh Foam Cruz Trainers. The trainers are available on Sweet Betty in three colours dark navy rose and silver grey. Duchess wore dark navy. Thanks to Middleton Maven on Twitter for the quick id.
The £80.00 trainers are described as, “Upgrade your workouts in these lightweight trainers. Ideal for studio workouts with a comfortable bootie construction and a stretch heel with loop for easy slip-on. Fresh Foam engineered cushioning helps you run freely without sacrificing a soft landing”.
Earlier this week it was reported that Duke and Duchess have spent last week that was the half-term break for Prince George and Princess Charlotte, in Norfolk at their country residence Anmer Hall. Rebecca English reported that Duchess took George and Charlotte to a luxury spa on Tuesday. From her article, “Wearing a maroon swimsuit, she tried to blend in amongst relaxing couples but onlookers quickly spotted the family during their half-hour splash about. Kate apparently organised swimming races for the children and afterwards, they practised little dives off the side. The royal trio then all went into the sauna and steam room. Apparently George, naturally, won all the races. They said: ‘He was swimming front like a dog paddle style and jumping in from a squatting position the side. Charlotte was doing sitting dives. She was squatting on the side with her arms up in dive position, she kept saying “Look mummy I’m diving in”. Kate was very encouraging. At one point George went under and Kate had to grab him, he became a bit tearful and clung to her but then he soon went off again.’ Neither the little prince and princess had armbands on and were ‘super confidant’ in the water.