It is remarkable the extent to which the British royal family continues to take a personal interest in Ireland. Despite Brexit, a number of visits by its members reflects a growing maturity in the relationship between our two countries.
The arrival of Prince William and his wife, Kate, to Ireland means that since 2011 we have had one current and two future British monarchs on official visits here. It represents the first official trip abroad by senior British royals since Brexit came into effect in January.
Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Ireland in 2011, which was declared a resounding success, paved the way for further royal visits. Her son, Prince Charles, has already been to Ireland several times and last May, speaking at a dinner he hosted at the British embassy in Dublin, he vowed to visit all of the counties in Ireland, after having already seen 15 of them on previous trips.
Now the Queen’s grandson is building on her mission to secure the renewed friendship between our two countries, despite the weight of history and current differences over the EU. He also shares his grandmother’s fondness for comedy. She laughed heartily in the English Market in Cork while, in a speech at the Gravity Bar of the Guinness storehouse in Dublin where the Queen and Prince Philip were shown how to pour a pint nine years ago, he joked: “let me tell you it is not often that I find myself following The Queen to a pub!”