Irish newspapers praise Prince William and Kate Middleton for message of ‘peace and reconciliation’ as Ireland tour is compared to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s ‘chaotic’ trip in 2018
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were sent to Ireland as ‘agents of soft diplomacy to copper fasten positive Anglo-Irish relations’, it was claimed today.
Irish Independent executive editor Caitlin McBride said Prince William and Kate arrived in the country with the ‘uncertain aftermath of Brexit looming in the air’.
She also wrote how Kate and William took their time on a trip which was a ‘notable departure from the chaotic energy’ of Harry and Meghan Markle’s visit in 2018.
Meanwhile an RTE report told how Kate ‘oozed glamour in a shimmering emerald cocktail gown’ as the couple visited the Guinness Storehouse Brewery in Dublin.
A report in the Irish Daily Mail from Craig Hughes said a ‘message of peace and reconciliation rang out throughout the opening day’ of the official visit.
And Irish Times journalist Miriam Lord said William and Kate were launching a ‘charm offensive’ during their three-day tour, nine years after the Queen’s visit.
The political sketch writer added that it appeared the Cambridges ‘were well briefed on the political situation in Ireland in a non-partisan way’.
Meanwhile the Independent’s editorial said the visit ‘should be appreciated, after 800 years of shared history with UK we should take nothing for granted’.
Here is a sample of reports from the Irish media about the first day of the tour:
THE IRISH TIMES – Miriam Lord: The gloves are off as William and Kate launch charm offensive
The first port of call for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their three-day visit was to President Higgins and his wife Sabina. The EU flag flew above Áras an Uachtaráin alongside the presidential standard and the Tricolour. The visit is seen as significant as it is the first of its type since Brexit.
The royal couple arrived in a 10-strong motorcade, a card reading ‘VIP 1’ on the dashboard of one of the black vehicles indicating their presence.
They were greeted by Art O’Leary, the President’s private secretary. Everybody was wearing clothes. Details were taken. There was some disappointment that the duchess wasn’t wearing a hat.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Michael and Sabina Higgins in Dublin yesterday
Inside they signed the visitors’ book as Michael D and Sabina looked on. The Cambridges have it handy when it comes to scratching their monikers on parchment for posterity. They don’t have to explain who they actually are or write profound messages.
Instead the king-to-be-but-one sat down at the table made especially for his granny when she visited in 2011, and, with a hint of flourish, wrote ‘William’ in the middle of the blank page. Then his wife took over the chair, bent her head over the book and wrote ‘Catherine’ a few lines below.
And that was the presumptuous that. No wonder they had to repair next door with Michael D and Sabina for cups of tea and lemon drizzle cake. They must have been exhausted.
Read the full article here
IRISH INDEPENDENT – Caitlin McBride: Prince William meets his match in Taoiseach as royal visit looks set to be one for the books
Stability, compatibility, effectiveness and charm are the non-negotiable goals of this visit, which is Kate and William’s first to the Republic of Ireland over the course of their nine-year marriage.
With the uncertain aftermath of Brexit looming in the air, the Cambridges were sent as agents of soft diplomacy to copper fasten positive Anglo-Irish relations.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet with Leo Varadkar, Taoiseach of Ireland, and his partner Matt Barrett, at the Government Buildings in Dublin yesterday
Both Kate and William in particular seemed acutely aware of what was at stake and stayed in deep conversation for as long as possible at all engagements in order to ensure all waiting press got the shot they needed from a variety of angles. And essentially, that their hosts were satisfied.
It was a notable departure from the chaotic energy of William’s brother Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s visit in 2018.
The entire day was unfailingly wholesome, bolstering their reputation as down-to-earth parents-of-three who just so happen to have HRH titles.
Read the full article here
IRISH INDEPENDENT – Editorial: William and Kate’s visit should be appreciated, after 800 years of shared history with UK we should take nothing for granted
Good relationships between neighbours turn on allowing each other respectful space while allowing for accommodation when needed.
Sounds simple enough in theory: but the trials and tests of 800 years of shared history between Britain and Ireland suggest we should take nothing for granted.
This week the Brexit talks begin in earnest. Britain’s exit from the EU was always going to be more challenging for this country than any other in the EU.
Closer ties between the UK and ourselves meant that London was a most valuable ally in fighting our corner on mutual interests in recent years.
Read the full article here
THE TIMES (IRELAND) – Senan Molony: Royal couple tie one on with Varadkar and partner
Talk about the ties that bind… Matt Barrett, the taoiseach’s partner, just didn’t bother wearing one as he met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at government buildings.
It was quite the talking point since the couple from next door had popped around in rather formal garments, don’t you see.
William and Kate after their meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett
So much so that Prince William looked like a liveried footman to the elegant Catherine, the undoubted star of the show, who wore a stylishly-tailored forest green coat.
So Leo Varadkar spoke to the footman, who is every inch as tall as he is, bringing actual highness to his official title, while Dr Barrett entertained William’s charming consort.
Read the full article here
RTE – Kate oozes glamour in shimmering emerald cocktail gown
Last night Prince William and Kate Middleton continued their three-day trip to Ireland with a night down the pub, but given this was an official visit from the Duke and Duchess, it was a decidedly classier affair than most date nights.
Heading to the swanky Gravity Bar at Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse, William and Kate followed in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth II, learning the art of the perfect pint at a reception hosted by Britain’s ambassador to Ireland, Robin Barnett.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Guinness Storehouses Gravity Bar in Dublin
Kate once again stepped up to the challenge, donning a striking emerald green cocktail dress that looked like it came straight from the runways of London Fashion Week.
Oozing sophistication, the Duchess chose a stunning midi length gown by The Vampire’s Wife, the luxury fashion label owned and designed by Susie Cave, a former model and wife of Nick Cave.
Read the full article here
IRISH DAILY MAIL – Craig Hughes: Peace rings out during low-key visit that shows just how normal this has become
A message of peace and reconciliation rang out throughout the opening day of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s first official visit to Ireland.
Following in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth II in 2011, the couple laid a wreath in the Garden of Remembrance.
Decorated with a blue, white and red ribbon, it was accompanied with a Kensington Palace card personally signed by William and Kate, containing a poignant note that read: ‘May we never forget the lessons of history as we continue to build a brighter future together.’ Yet another symbolic act remembering the complex history of the island.
The couple attend a commemorative wreath laying ceremony in the Garden of Remembrance
The laying of the wreath, which remembers those who died for Irish freedom over the centuries, was one of a number of symbolic events geared towards advancing further peace and reconciliation.
The royal couple arrived on a commercial Aer Lingus flight from Heathrow at 1.40pm in what was yet another example of the understated nature of their trip. They said that they hoped to build a ‘lasting friendship with the Irish people’ and to ‘learn about local organisations working to support and empower young people and projects which provide opportunities to help them develop important life skills’.
A Garda escort ferried the pair to Áras an Uachtaráin to meet President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina.
Inside the Áras, the media waited for them to arrive in the State Reception Room where the President’s spokesperson made it clear there would be ‘no questions’.
He stressed that at a previous event hosted by the President, some unruly journalist was brazen enough to shout a question at the guest.
Queen Elizabeth II and President Mary McAleese during the wreath laying ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance at Parnell Square in Dublin while she visited Ireland in May 2011
In an adjoining room, the President and Sabina were waiting patiently for their guests to stop by and preparing a co-ordinated arrival to receive them.
But in what was a minor blip in the choreography, the door opened minutes too soon and unveiled a rather bemused-looking President Higgins and Sabina, who were momentarily unsure whether to enter before an official shut the door.
When the time finally arrived, a seamless entrance ensued and there was a warm greeting between the hosts and their guests.
After the guests signed the distinguished visitors’ book, they moved into the drawing room for a bilateral meeting and tea.
On an unusually sunny day given the recent flurry of storms, the President and Prince William appeared to speak warmly as they took an autumn stroll through the manicured gardens at the Áras, while Kate linked arms with Sabina as they made their way to the Peace Bell. The four held the rope together and rang the bell in unison in memory of those who died in the Omagh bombing, a mark of the desire of both nations to maintain the continuing peace on the island of Ireland.
Prince Charles and Camilla are given a demonstration of hurling at Kilkenny Castle in Ireland in May 2017
The bell is suspended between two oak trunks, one from Co. Antrim and one from Co. Dublin, a symbol of the Good Friday Agreement.
The visitors were also shown a young oak tree, first planted by William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, nine years ago.
President Higgins also drew attention to The People’s Acorn, a sculpture by artist Rachel Joynt, which was first unveiled as part of the 1916 centenary commemorations.
This is the fourth such visit by members of the British royal family, following on from the historic visits of Queen Elizabeth in 2011, Prince Charles in 2017, as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018.
After departing the Áras, the royal couple travelled to the Garden of Remembrance where crowds cheered as they arrived.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex greet President Michael D Higgins and Sabina Higgins in July 2018
They were greeted by Paul Kehoe, the Minister of State for Defence, and Major General Seán Clancy.
The Army No.1 Band played God Save The Queen before two members of the Defence Forces carried the wreath and placed it on a stand before them. The pair then stepped forward and bowed their heads. There was temporary traffic disruption, with some streets closed for a time as the motorcade brought the royals and the travelling media around Dublin and to Government Buildings, where they were received by caretaker Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner, Matt Barrett.
They then returned to Farmleigh, where they are staying, before their final engagement yesterday at the Guinness Storehouse.
The low-key nature of yesterday’s events signifies how such visits have become normalised since Queen Elizabeth ventured to the Republic nine years ago.
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