Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s much-anticipated tour of 2020 began today. The royal couple is visiting the neighbouring country Ireland for the first time. The three days visit will see William and Catherine spent time in Dublin, County Meath, County Kildare and Galway.
A beautiful shot of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge descending the plane.
William and Catherine kick-started the tour by arriving in the Irish capital city, Dublin, via a commercial Aer Lingus flight just before 2 PM. The tour was requested by the Foreign Office and will highlight the many strong links between the UK and Ireland. During the three-day tour, The Duke and Duchess will learn about local organisations working to support and empower young people and projects which provide opportunities to help them develop important life skills.
Upon arrival, the Royal Couple was welcomed by Robin Barnett, British Ambassador to Ireland. Given the historical importance of the visit, the security details of the visit are extremely high. Palace did not release the tour itinerary ahead of the tour due to security reasons. Independent.ie reported on Monday,
The complexities of organising a royal visit to Ireland go well beyond handshaking and receiving bouquets of flowers.
Organising tours for high-profile dignitaries in Ireland is a well-oiled machine by now, but visits from British royals reflect a complicated tapestry of history and extra measures are put in place to ensure an efficient security operation. In the past 18 months, there have been official visits from Sweden’s King Gustaf and Queen Silvia and Holland’s Queen Máxima and King Willem-Alexander as Europe’s powerhouses banded together in anticipation of life after Brexit, although none attracted the same level of attention as this week’s visitors will.
As second in line to the British throne, Prince William and future queen consort Kate Middleton will have high-level security in place for their visit which gets underway tomorrow and runs until Thursday. Temporary road closures will be in place to ensure smooth travel for the couple and the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) will be responsible for driving the couple around, although it is expected they will bring their own armoured vehicle.
As part of these security measures, prior to their arrival at certain locations, drains will be welded shut on public streets to ensure explosives can’t be planted in them, sources have told the Irish Independent.
For all public walkabouts, Garda sniper teams will be deployed on rooftops. The proposed walkabout in Galway, where the couple will meet local business owners and community leaders, is expected to be the biggest logistical nightmare.
Gardaí notified city traders that road closures will be in place from 6 am to 2 pm in Williamsgate Street, Williams Street, Shop Street, High Street, Mainguard Street and Abbeygate Street. Vehicles have been banned from parking in the surrounding area to prevent any potential threats.
Royal protection officers from the Metropolitan Police will accompany the Cambridges, working in tandem with a team of 12 members of the elite ERU, who will oversee their day-to-day security and are trained in close protection and overseeing security for VIPs.
About the visit, Kensington Palace remarked, “The Duke and Duchess will have the opportunity to experience a taste of modern and traditional Irish culture for themselves. Throughout the visit, Their Royal Highness will meet a broad range of people, including the President, the Taoiseach and senior political leaders, children and young people, and those working in the creative arts, business and charity sectors. The UK’s links with Ireland are extensive, and The Duke and Duchess are looking forward to building a lasting friendship with the Irish people”.
In 2011, just a fortnight before William and Catherine’s wedding, Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh changed history and made the first visit to Ireland. It was the first Royal visit to Ireland in a century. Following the Queen and Duke’s footsteps, Cambridge Couple’s visit is also focusing on the relationship between the two countries and the themes of remembrance and reconciliation.
In the last few years, we have seen many royal visits to Ireland and the Irish State Visit to the UK. It is believed that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are staying at Farmleigh House where the Queen stayed during her visit.
Today, the Duke and Duchess started their day in Ireland by meeting the Irish President Michael D Higgins and First Lady Sabina Higgins at the official residence of President Áras an Uachtaráin.
Áras an Uachtaráin, formerly the Viceregal Lodge, located off Chesterfield Avenue in the Phoenix Park in Dublin, is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of Ireland.
The royal couple was warmly welcomed by the Irish President and First Lady. Rebecca English reported that welcoming William and Catherine Sabina said, ‘Delighted to welcome you. You’ve had lots of exciting things happening in your family.’
The welcome committee also included the First couple’s beloved dog Bermese Mountain dog Bród. Brod and Síoda, who was not present today due to health issues, have been in the limelight during previous visits too. Duchess lovingly petted Brod and said, “He’s lovely. How old is he?”
Welcoming the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Irish President Office issued a statement,
President and Sabina Higgins welcomed H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge and H.R.H. the Duchess of Cambridge at the start of their official visit to Ireland.
The Duke and Duchess were invited to sign the Visitors’ Book in the State Reception Room and, after their bilateral meeting, President and Sabina Higgins accompanied their guests to the Peace Bell in the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin.
President Michael D. Higgins had met HRH the Duke of Cambridge before, including in Belgium in June 2014, at the centenary commemorations of the start of the First World War, and in July 2016 at an event marking the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.
William and Catherine enjoyed afternoon tea with the first couple.
They were joined by the British Ambassador to Ireland and William’s Private Secretary Simon Case. From Mirror’s report,
After the engagement at the Aras, a spokesman for Mr Higgins confirmed that Brexit was among the topics discussed. “The couples discussed the close ties between the people of Ireland and Britain and the importance of continuing and deepening close relations between all of the peoples of these Islands,” he said.
President Higgins, Sabina and Their Royal Highnesses spoke of the challenges ahead, including the implications of the UK’s departure from the European Union and the importance of continuing to build on the foundations of the Good Friday Agreement.
They also discussed the global challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss and the urgent need to revisit the fundamentals of how we organise our economies and societies if we are to tackle these existential threats in a meaningful way.
The couple enjoyed a walk around the Presidential house.
The visit to the President house was incomplete if the couple did not ring the famous Peace bell. The bell was unveiled in 2008 by the then President, Mary McAleese to mark the 10th anniversary of the Belfast Agreement. Dating from the 19th Century, the bell is suspended from oak trunks which came from Shane’s Castle Demesne in Co Antrim and from the Glencairn area in Co Dublin.
Video of the moment. William and Catherine also viewed The People’s Acorn by artist Rachel Joynt, which was unveiled as part of the State 1916 centenary commemorations.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge signed the visitor’s book before leaving.
The next stop of today’s visit was the Garden of Remembrance.
William and Catherine followed Her Majesty’s steps and laid a wreath at the Garden.
The Garden of Remembrance is a memorial garden in Dublin, located in the northern fifth of the former Rotunda Gardens in Parnell Square, a Georgian square at the northern end of O’Connell Street, dedicated to the memory of “all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom”. The garden was opened by Eamon de Valera during the semicentennial of the Easter Rising in 1966
The Garden was designed by Dáithí Hanly. It is in the form of a sunken cruciform water feature.
Its focal point is a statue of the Children of Lir by Oisín Kelly, symbolising rebirth and resurrection, added in 1971.
The wreath had a card featuring a poignant message: “May we never forget the lessons of history as we continue to build a brighter future together” in Prince William’s handwriting.
Accompanied by Major General Sean Clancy and Brigadier General Tony Cudmore, the couple observed a minute’s silence in the honour of the fallen. A large crowd was gathered on the streets and large cheers and applaud shouting “Welcome to Ireland” was heard when the couple arrived.
Then the couple headed towards the Government building where they met with the outgoing Prime Minister of Ireland Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett.
From Daily Mail’s report,
As the duke and duchess prepared to go into Dr Varadkar’s office, the duke joked with his staff that the couple had ‘brought some sunshine’ and asked if they had been suffering from floods. Inside the office, which is dominated by a portrait of the Irish republican leader Michael Collins, Dr Varadkar escorted William to the visitors’ book and said: ‘It’s in Irish, but date, name and address.’
William said with a smile: ‘Shall I put my address down as well?’ Dr Varadkar joked that he should include his postcode, and William replied: ‘Exactly!’
Welcoming the royal couple Mr Varadkar later tweeted, ‘It was a pleasure to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Government Buildings this afternoon as part of their visit to Ireland.’ Continuing from DailyMail’s Report,
The duchess was particularly interested in a sculpture outside the office, a scale replica of the statue in the Garden of Remembrance which depicts the legend of the Children of Lir, who were turned into swans by their stepmother.
Dr Barrett told her about the legend and explained how his family home in Mayo is linked to the story through the lakes where the children spent part of their banishment.
Their meeting with Mr Varadkar ran over by at least ten minutes, suggesting that despite initial awkwardness the two couples had found plenty to talk about. As they stood on the steps of the building preparing to leave, William and Kate spent several minutes continuing to talk to Dr Varadkar and his partner.
They signed the visitor’s book before leaving the building.
Now to What Duchess wore – As it was expected, the day was full of sartorial nodes. Catherine donned the Irish national colour Green from head to toe.
Upon arrival, The Duchess of Cambridge was wearing a long green Catherine Walker double-breasted coat. The coat looked like a custom piece from a British label featuring lapel collars and distinctive black buttons.
Underneath the coat, The Duchess was wearing a green Alessandra Rich Printed Silk Peplum Dress.
Part of the label’s Spring/Summer ’20 collection, the unlined £1500 dress featured Crepe de Chine Rose floral prints, pleated bodice, structured bishop sleeves, peplum waist. It has a button fastening along the front and a slit at the front hem.
A closer look at the print.
The Duchess of Cambridge paired the outfit with her Emmy London Green Suede Rebecca Pumps.
She was carrying L.K. Bennett Dora green suede clutch. The £150 clutch is currently available on L.K. Bennett website in 8 colours for £112.50. It is described as, “Effortlessly elevate evening looks with our mint leaf green Dora clutch bag. It’s crafted from gorgeously soft suede shaped to a classic envelope silhouette which fastens with a discreet metal press stud. ” Catherine also has the same clutch in khaki colour.
Another new element of today’s outfit was Asprey London Daisy Heritage Earrings. The £17300 18ct white gold earrings are described as, “Individually set micro marquise diamond petals and a pavé diamond centre”.
Catherine finished her look with Jane Taylor Velvet Headband debuted at the special service held at Westminster Abbey in November 2018 to mark the centenary of Armistice Day.
Later in the evening, The Duke and Duchess attended a reception hosted by the British Ambassador to Ireland. I will leave you with this beautiful shot of Catherine.