Dublin welcomes Duke and Duchess of Sussex on first overseas trip

Official visit by the couple is intended to stress importance of UK-Irish relationship

A red-carpet welcome has been laid on for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who have flown to Dublin after attending celebrations in London to mark the 100th anniversary of the RAF.

The whistlestop 24-hour visit is their first official overseas trip as a married couple, with the Foreign Office hoping it will underscore the importance of maintaining good relations throughout and after the Brexit process.

Prince Harry and Meghan, who chose a forest-green Givenchy outfit in a nod to her hosts, were greeted at Government Buildings by the taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, on Tuesday, who showed them a plaque marking the foundation stone laid by Edward VII in 1904.

At a garden party at the British ambassador’s residence, the duke toasted the UK and Ireland’s “unique” relationship in a speech acknowledging a shared history that was “long and complex”.

“There have of course been challenging, and at times tragic, periods of that relationship,” he said. The duke and duchess would reflect on “some of those difficult passages in our history” on Wednesday when they visit Croke Park, scene of one of the incidents of Bloody Sunday on 21 November 1920, when 14 spectators at a Gaelic football match were shot by British soldiers. They will also visit the Famine Memorial, commemorating the 1 million who died in the mid 19th century famine.

Their visit would also “celebrate just how much unites us,” he added. “This is a very special relationship between two proud, sovereign countries. We share common values; culture, business links, family ties, and possibly a similar sense of humour. Our relationship is of course informed by our history, but it is also one which is now dynamic and forward looking.”

He quoted a traditional Irish saying, used by President Michael D Higgins during his 2014 UK visit: “‘Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine’ – “we live in each other’s shadows” – we shield each other, and rely on each other for shelter.”

Harry concluded: “That sentiment is as apt now as it was then, as we draw strength from one another as neighbours, partners, and above all friends.”

Guests included politicians and sporting stars as well those from the arts. Among those due to attend were designer Orla Kiely, Outlander actor Caitriona Balfe and Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee.

Before the visit Varadkar had been swift to highlight the importance of their visit, saying: “I think with the United Kingdom leaving Europe, we are really going to need to focus a lot more on bilateral relationships, and visits of the president to the UK or members of the royal family to Ireland help to cement that very close relationship between Britain and Ireland”.

The visit, at the request of the British government, is not the first for the duchess to the “fair city”, although she faces a contrasting itinerary to the one she enjoyed in the city five years ago in her pre-royal days.

Then, as an actor picking up an entertainment award in 2013 for her part in US legal drama Suits, she sampled the city’s nightlife, participating in a Guinness pint-pulling competition. In keeping with many US celebrities, she also found distant Irish roots to embrace. “My dad’s side of the family is Irish,” she then revealed to Irish media explaining her excitement at seeing the city.

This time she was meeting Higgins, as well as the taoiseach, and rather than Dicey’s and Krystle’s nightclubs, a traditional summer garden party hosted by the British ambassador awaited her.


The visit ensures Ireland enjoys an embarrassment of royal visits, with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall having toured Kerry and Cork only last month.



In 2011, the Queen became the first British monarch to visit Ireland since her grandfather George V’s visit in 1911.

Contributor

Caroline Davies in Dublin

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Duke and Duchess of Sussex ring peace bell on Dublin visit
Royal couple’s rapid tour acknowledges ‘difficult’ history of UK and Ireland

Caroline Davies in Dublin

11, Jul, 2018 @6:02 PM

Article image
Harry and Meghan to be Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Queen follows tradition of giving dukedom to senior male royal as wedding gift

Caroline Davies

19, May, 2018 @8:21 AM

Article image
Duke and Duchess of Sussex to give to race and mental health charities
Announcement of donations follows Meghan’s claim she did not get help with mental health from palace

Molly Blackall

13, Mar, 2021 @7:39 PM

Article image
Duke and Duchess of Sussex are cover stars of Time’s most influential list
Meghan and Harry named among top 100 people globally, with the honour unveiled on the duke’s 37th birthday

Caroline Davies

15, Sep, 2021 @4:05 PM

Article image
Royal Wedding photos: first official pictures of Duke and Duchess of Sussex released
Photographs by Alexi Lubomirski include group pictures featuring Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding entourage

Martin Belam

21, May, 2018 @7:49 PM

Article image
Harry and Meghan could face fight to protect 'Sussex Royal' brand
Pair may have to file objection after EU trademark application is apparently made from Italy

Ben Quinn

11, Jan, 2020 @10:42 AM

Article image
Royal baby: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, gives birth to boy
Youngest royal is seventh in line to throne and Queen’s eighth great-grandchild

Caroline Davies

06, May, 2019 @2:48 PM

Article image
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex may win the battle but lose the war
The Mail on Sunday lawsuit will draw a line in the sand between the royals and the media

Jane Martinson

06, Oct, 2019 @1:45 PM

Article image
'I'm proud to be a feminist': Meghan Markle makes online debut as Duchess of Sussex
The profile of Meghan Markle says she developed a ‘keen awareness’ of social issues at a young age and also details her charitable work

Caroline Davies

21, May, 2018 @6:09 AM

Article image
Harry and Meghan interview: Duke of Sussex describes 'toxic environment' of royal life - as it happened
Live coverage of the fallout from revelations by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after interview airs on UK television

Nadeem Badshah

08, Mar, 2021 @11:22 PM