The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka William and Kate, arrived in Ireland earlier today for their three-day good will visit.
They arrived at Dublin Airport on a regular Aer Lingus flight before travelling on to Áras an Uachtaráin, to be welcomed by President Michael D Higgins who invited them to sign the Distinguished Visitors’ Book.
It is the third time President Higgins and the Duke of Cambridge have met each other. His father Charles, the Prince of Wales, has been a frequent visitor.
Among those also at the Aras were Mrs Sabina Higgins, Ireland’s Ambassador to the UK Adrian O’Neill, his opposite number the British Ambassador to Ireland Robin Barnett, and Simon Case, the Duke of Cambridge’s private secretary.
In honour of the occasion Kate wore an emerald green Catherine Walker coat, an Alessandra Rich dress, both matched by a green clutch bag.
The royal couple were invited to see the Peace Bell, installed in the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin in 2008 to mark the 10th anniversary of the peace process.
The 19th Century bell it is suspended from oak trunks from Co Antrim and Co Dublin.
The royal couple were later due to take part in a wreath laying ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin city centre and to meet caretaker Taoiseac leo Varadkar at Government Buildings. Over the next rqo days they will attend engagements in Meath, Kildare and Galway.
A spokesperson for President Higgins said he and his wife Sabina Higgins discussed with their royal guests 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.
The spokesperson added that the two couples 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 importance of removing obstacles that inhibit young people from building their skills and realising their aspirations for a truly fair and sustainable world, and the particular importance of responding to the vulnerabilities of young people was among the other topics discussed.
A statement ahead of the visit said it is intended to highlight the many strong links between the two countries and to build a lasting friendship with the Irish people.
It went on: “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.”