Royals bring much-needed rain on their Irish parade

It wasn’t quite the African safari or Caribbean escape that avid royal watchers had anticipated for Harry and Meghan’s first overseas trip as a married couple, but sure, as they say, when the sun shines in Ireland, you could be anywhere.

Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, on a walkabout at Trinity College during their visit to Dublin.

Except that the sun, for the first time since the heat melted our collective memories, didn’t shine and the grey sky dribbled drizzle.

You couldn’t be anywhere except in the midst of a traditional Irish summer. 

It was as if the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, cognisant of the role the British played in the Famine here, decided to make amends by easing the drought.

Why else would the sixth in line to the British throne and his actress wife be here?

To reinforce relations amid the Brexit bust-ups? To show that not all English football fans dance on bus shelters and ambulances?

Not that anyone was looking for a deep, meaningful reason. Certainly not President Michael D Higgins, who looked chuffed to have a nice young couple drop by to provide some diversion for his dogs — and for the media — on day one of the re-election campaign he’d pledged he wouldn’t seek.

The old rascal and the one once dubbed the royal rascal in his pre-Meghan bachelor days got along famously, their acquaintances made during previous meetings in Britain and during First World War commemorations abroad.

With a shared interest in the performing arts, Meghan and Sabina got along just swell too, chatting as they strolled through the gardens, stopping at an oak tree planted by Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and ringing the Peace Bell installed to mark the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

The dogs weren’t looking for a reason either. Bród and Síoda, the President’s mountainous Bernese mountain dogs, were just happy to have two more pairs of hands to dish out pats and Harry and Meghan duly obliged.

A few hundred members of the public who gathered at Trinity College’s Front Square and later on Customs House Quay in the hope of a handshake or selfie with the royal highnesses didn’t need much excuse either.

They were royals, they were glamorous, and they were here. Try arguing with that amid a sea of eager faces, ‘When Harry Met Meghan’ t-shirts, and loyal fans of Suits.

Those handpicked to introduce the Duke and Duchess to the skills of Gaelic games at Croke Park, to the history of Irish emigration at the Epic Centre, and to ideas of a new generation
of tech entrepreneurs at Dogpatch Labs were equally enamoured by the couple, whose relaxed demeanour and friendly banter proved a winning formula.

Perhaps that’s the real reason they were here — to steal our best ideas in order to bolster Britain following the post-Brexit exodus of key industry.

A conspiracy theory maybe, but they did depart the scene awfully quickly after leaving the labs. Yes, the official explanation was a certain football match, but it was Ireland, in the half-rain, on what should have been their honeymoon. Just saying.

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