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Royals look to build a ‘lasting friendship with Ireland’

Future King of England, William, the Duke of Cambridge, and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge head to Ireland next week in the hope of “building a lasting friendship with the Irish people”.

After his father, Charles, the Prince of Wales, William will one day be expected to ascend to the throne in this country.

Their three-day ‘good will’ visit (3-5 March), at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, comes as relations between Dublin and London are strained over reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seeking to renege on Brexit commitments in the Withdrawal Agreement.

William’s father and stepmother, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, have been regular, annual, visitors to Ireland in the last few years.

William and Kate will visit Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Galway.

Kensington Palace said this week that the trip will, like Queen Elizabeth’s historic State visit to Ireland in 2011, celebrate links between the two countries.

William and Kate will learn of local organisations working to empower young people and hear of Ireland’s environmental initiatives, especially sustainable farming and marine conservation.

It will be their first official visit to Ireland.

Kensington Palace said of the trip: “The visit, which will see Their Royal Highnesses spend time in Dublin, County Meath, County Kildare and Galway, will highlight the many strong links between the UK and Ireland.

“From its thriving cities to rural communities, the programme will take in Ireland’s rich culture, its impactful community initiatives and spectacular scenery.

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“Following Her Majesty The Queen’s historic visit in 2011, the visit will also focus on the relationship between the two countries, and build on the theme of remembrance and reconciliation.

“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.

“Their Royal Highnesses will also hear more about Ireland’s conservation initiatives and efforts to protect its environment, with a particular focus on sustainable farming and marine conservation.

“2020 will see Galway host the European Capital of Culture on behalf of Ireland – a showcase of events highlighting the richness and diversity of Irish culture, art and sport.

“During their time in Galway, 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 Queen Elizabeth II became the first reigning British monarch to visit Ireland in a hundred years.

She visited sites of historical significance such as The Garden of Remembrance and Croke Park, the scene of the 1920 Bloody Sunday massacre.

The Queen also visited the Guinness Storehouse and the English Market in Cork during her four days in Ireland.

In 2014 President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina made the first ever Irish State visit to the UK during which they stayed with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle and he addressed the Houses of Commons and Lords in Westminster.

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