The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were welcomed to Ireland today by President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina, who said: ‘Delighted to welcome you. You’ve had lots of exciting things happening in your family.’
Prince William and Kate began their first official visit to Ireland for a post-Brexit charm offensive as they also laid a wreath reading ‘May we never forget the lessons of history’ at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin.
The couple received a round of applause in the garden, which is dedicated to those who fought for Irish independence, as members of the crowd cheered ‘welcome to Ireland’ and Kate smiled and waved back at them.
They then attended a short ceremony at the site, where in 2011 the Queen laid a wreath in a significant gesture for Anglo-Irish relations.
Kate and William were greeted by Mr and Mrs Higgins at their official residence before enjoying refreshments including Barry’s tea, shamrock shortbread, oat biscuits and lemon drizzle cake – made by the in-house chef.
The duchess looked stylish in an emerald green Catherine Walker coat, an Alessandra Rich dress and £17,300 Asprey London daisy heritage earrings, as she and William walked through the grounds of the Aras an Uachtarain while joking and smiling with their hosts.
Walking with the President’s Burmese mountain dog, Brod, they gonged the Peace Bell, which commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, before viewing the The People’s Acorn by artist Rachel Joynt, which was unveiled as part of the State 1916 centenary commemorations.
Earlier, the couple flew to Dublin Airport on a commercial Aer Lingus flight with dozens of residents returning home, business travellers and tourists. In brilliant winter sunshine they walked down the aircraft’s steps and were greeted by a small group of dignitaries led by Britain’s Ambassador to Ireland Robin Barnett.
The couple will return to the UK on Friday, meaning they will miss Prince Harry’s Endeavour Fund Awards in London, which the Duke of Sussex will be attending with Meghan Markle, as the couple prepare to step down as senior royals at the end of March. William attended the inaugural ceremony in 2017 but has not been for several years.
The two couples will then be reunited for the first time since Megxit for the Commonwealth Day service in London on March 9, which will be broadcast live on BBC One and across the BBC World Service.
Kate joined arms with Sabina Higgins during the walk around the grounds, showing the warmth between the respective couples
Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend a commemorative wreath laying ceremony in the Garden of Remembrance at Aras an Uachtarain on day one of their visit to Ireland
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today laid a wreath reading ‘May we never forget the lessons of history’ at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin during their first official visit to Ireland for a post-Brexit charm offensive
The couple bowed their heads in the garden, which remembers Ireland’s independence heroes, in an act echoing the Queen’s famous act of remembrance during a visit in 2011
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge received a round of applause as they entered the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin. Members of the crowd cheered ‘welcome to Ireland’ and Kate smiled and waved back at them
When the Queen made her historic visit to Ireland in 2011 – the first by a British monarch since the nation gained independence from Britain – she bowed her head during a visit to the garden as a mark of respect for those who died, a hugely symbolic moment. William and Kate repeated the moment today
William and Kate during the wreath-laying ceremony, which will be seen as another attempt to emphasise British-Irish friendship after after a difficult shared history
The quiet open space in the centre of Dublin is dedicated to those who rose up against British rule in 1916 and gave their lives for Irish independence
At his official residence, President Michael D Higgins invited the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to sign the Distinguished Visitors’ Book.
The royal couple also spent some time with Mr Higgins in the President’s Study before the bilateral meeting in the Drawing Room.
How Kate’s stunning green dress fits in to the royal tradition of wearing national colours on tours
The Duchess of Cambridge has followed royal tradition by arriving for her first official visit to Ireland dressed in the republic’s national colour.
Kate emulated the Queen and Duchess of Sussex by wearing green, in a symbolic gesture to the country.
The duchess was dressed in a stylish emerald green coat by Catherine Walker and a patterned lighter green dress by Alessandra Rich, with matching green clutch bag.
In 2011, the Queen made a historic trip to Ireland – the first by a British monarch since the nation gained independence from Britain. Her jade green ensemble stood out as she carried out visits in Dublin. It was created by Stewart Parvin and consisted of a crepe coat and silk jade green and blue floral dress. Her matching hat was designed by Rachel Trevor-Morgan and featured hand-made roses.
Kate’s green dress this year follows in the tradition of wearing the national colour on royal tours, like the Queen did in 2011 (right)
Meghan opted for emerald green for her arrival in Dublin in 2018, as she and the Duke of Sussex carried out their first overseas tour as a married couple.
The American former actress, who is now quitting as a senior royal, wore a fitted block-colour Givenchy dress for the occasion. The Duchess of Cornwall chose a turquoise jacket and skirt when she carried out her first official visit to Ireland in 2015.
The Prince of Wales and Camilla have made five joint visits to Ireland over the past five years, a sign of the closer Anglo-Irish relations ushered in by the Queen’s tour.
On official trips, the monarch often uses her outfits as a diplomatic tool, complimenting host nations by incorporating national colours or emblems. At a state dinner in Lahore during the 1961 tour of Pakistan, she wore a magnificent duchesse-satin gown in ivory and emerald green, the national colours of the country.
In India in 1997, the Queen was seen in saffron – one of the colours of the Indian flag and a holy colour for Sikhs – as she visited the Sikh shrine of the Golden Temple of Amritsar. For her 1974 tour of Australia, designer Ian Thomas created a dress and cape of bright yellow silk-chiffon, embroidered with sprays of wattle, the national flower of Australia.
A few years later, on a visit to Canada for the 1976 Montreal Olympics, one of the Queen’s gowns was embroidered with stylised Olympic rings.
During the meeting, Mr Higgins was joined by his wife Sabina, Mr O’Leary, the Irish Ambassador to the UK Adrian O’Neill and Claire Power, the president’s adviser.
Kate and Will were joined by the British Ambassador to Ireland Robin Barnett and Simon Case, the Duke of Cambridge’s private secretary.
Mr Higgins and his wife Sabina accompanied Kate and Will to the Peace Bell.
The president explained to the couple that the bell was unveiled in 2008 by then president Mary McAleese to mark the tenth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
The bell, dating back to the 19th century, is supported by two oak trunks which came from Shane’s Castle Demesne in Co Antrim and from the Glencairn area in Co Dublin.
The couple then rang the Bell.
Mr Higgins also pointed out the sculpture The People’s Acorn by artist Rachel Joynt, which was unveiled as part of the State 1916 centenary commemorations.
One of the president’s dogs, Brod, also accompanied them.
When William and Kate arrived at the Garden of Remembrance they walked along the edge of the open space’s large pool, created in the shape of a non-denominational cross designed to be inclusive of all religions and creeds.
Crowds had gathered along the perimeter fence and a cheer came up when the couple were spotted by the spectators who had been waiting patiently for more than an hour.
The garden was designed by Daithi Hanly and the section where the wreath laying took place featured a large sculpture by Oisin Kelly, based on the theme of the Children of Lir, the Irish story about four children turned into swans by their stepmother jealous of their father’s love.
The floral tribute was laid at the base of the towering artwork by two servicemen and the couple stood in contemplative silence for a minute, eyes fixed on the wreath.
On arrival, the Duke and Duchess signed the visitor’s book, using a table commissioned by Ireland’s Office of Public Works especially for the monarch’s visit, before posing for photographs.
After a few moments of smiling to the tune of a barrage of camera clicks, the Duchess laughed and turned her hands to the sky as if to say, is that enough? The Duke joked: ‘Who blinks first?’
The couple then went for a ‘tete-a-tete’ in the President’s private office before sitting down for afternoon tea in the Drawing Room with Mr and Mrs Higgins, the British Ambassador to Ireland Robin Barnett, the Irish Ambassador to the UK Adrian O’Neill, and the Duke’s private secretary Simon Case.
The group enjoyed Irish-themed refreshments including Barry’s tea, shamrock shortbread, oat biscuits and lemon drizzle cake – made by the in-house chef.
As the media was briefly given access to record the occasion, Mr Case joked that the camera clicks would be the ‘soundtrack’ to the visit, making the Duchess laugh.
Mr Higgins spoke to the Duke about football, telling him: ‘I was watching your celebration of Aston Villa’s goal.’
The group then stepped outside to meet the dog and take a slow walk alongside the property, with Mrs Higgins linking arms with the Duchess.
The Cambridges then joined forces to ring a peace bell, installed in the garden of the grand 18th-century house in 2008, to mark the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement.
Mr Higgins and his wife Sabina accompanied Kate and Will to the Peace Bell. The president explained to the couple that the bell was unveiled in 2008 by then president Mary McAleese to mark the tenth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement
William and Kate on the steps of the Aras an Uachtarain in Dublin with President Michael D. Higgins, his wife, Sabina, and the couple’s Burmese mountain dog
President Higgins pets his dog while the royals look on. Later, they arrived at the Garden of Remembrance, where the couple received a round of applause as members of the crowd cheered ‘welcome to Ireland’ and Kate smiled and waved back at them
Go green like the Duchess in Alessandra Rich
Alessandra Rich printed silk peplum dress
Take a closer look via Moda Operandi
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have arrived in Dublin for their first official visit to Ireland, and of course Kate has gone for a diplomatic nod to their hosts in an all-green ensemble.
Her dress is by Alessandra Rich, a label she has worn on several occasions now. Remember that navy polka dot number, or the festive red dress for the Mary Berry Christmas TV special? Both of those were by the brand too!
This style is from the Spring/Summer ’20 collection, and features a pretty rose print, peplum waist and little embellished buttons. When teamed with a Catherine Walker coat and L.K.Bennett clutch bag in coordinating colours, it’s a very sophisticated look.
The dress isn’t available to buy quite yet, but click through to Moda Operandi (right) for a preview.
Or recreate Kate’s green moment with the help of our edit below.
* PRICES MAY NOT BE AS ADVERTISED
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meeting their hosts’ dog in the grounds of the Irish President’s official residence in Dublin
The husbands and wives chatted with each other as the walked through the grounds of the grand residence in the centre of Dublin
The Duchess of Cambridge walked arm-in-arm with the President’s wife, Sabina Higgins, as they walked through the gardens of his official residence today
The couples were locked in animated conversation as the first day of the Cambridges’ three-day visit got off to a flying start
They held the gold rope together, pulling it three times before being given a clap.
Before heading back inside, they were told about a 1916 commemorative installation in the garden, which Mr and Mrs Higgins had commissioned in 2015.
William and Kate enjoy stroking the President’s Bernese Mountain dog
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins and the president’s dog, Brod
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge enjoyed a suitably Irish welcome to Dublin with a cup of Barry’s tea, shamrock shortbread and a stroke of the President’s Bernese Mountain dog.
The couple headed straight from the airport to Aras an Uachtarain in Phoenix Park – the official residence of President Michael D Higgins -for a private meeting followed by afternoon tea.
His Bernese Mountain dog Brod stole the show, bounding up to his royal guests as they stepped outside with little care for protocol.
As she bent down to stroke him, the Duchess said: ‘He’s lovely, how old is he?’
She was told the President’s other dog Sioda – who is also usually on hand to greet visitors – was out of action with a sore paw.
The President has had Bernese mountain dogs for more than two decades and took Brod, who accompanies the President every morning on his walk through the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin.
A versatile working dog from Switzerland, Bermese mountain dogs were bred to herd cattle and pull carts and can weigh up to 120 lbs and grow up to 70 cm.
Affectionately known as ‘the Berner’, while the dogs are easy to train, they are prone to suffer with several health issues and shed a lot in Spring and Autumn.
The winning design, The People’s Acorn by Rachel Joynt, uses the symbolism of an Acorn’s journey to commemorate the past events of the 1916 Rising and celebrate the potential of Ireland’s future. The sculpture contains a time capsule containing the writings of young and old people with their thoughts and wishes for Ireland’s future.
The Duchess told Mrs Higgins: ‘That’s lovely isn’t it. How long as it been here?’
She added: ‘We’ve been chatting recently actually, kids have got so many aspirations. Can we help them reach them? It’s a case if joining the dots.’
Mr Higgins was elected President in November 2011.
He first met the Duke of Cambridge in June 2014 in Mons for a commemoration of the start of the First World War’s western front.
The pair met again two years later at the commemoration of the Battle of the Somme.
In April 2014, Mr Higgins became the first Irish head of state to make a state visit to the UK, describing it as ‘very important for the relationships between the people of Ireland and UK’.
He was escorted by the Prince of Wales to Windsor Castle, where he received a ceremonial welcome and was met by the monarch and the Duke of Edinburgh.
The visit had been made possible by the Queen’s historic trip to Ireland three years earlier, when she brought a century of Anglo–Irish tension to an end – the first British monarch to set foot in the Republic.
Later, William and Kate are expected to sample a pint of Guinness while meeting leading figures from Irish life.
At the Gravity Bar in the Guinness Storehouse – a major visitor attraction in the Irish capital telling the story of the famous drink – the couple are due to meet a range of people from the creative arts, sport, business and charity sectors.
During the first day of their tour the Cambridges will also lay a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance. The quiet open space is dedicated to those who rose up against British rule in 1916 and gave their lives for Irish independence.
The quiet open space is dedicated to those who rose up against British rule in 1916 and gave their lives for Irish independence.
After touching down at Dublin Airport, the couple were taken to the Aras an Uachtarain, the official residence of the President of Ireland, where they were greeted by President Michael D Higgins and his wife, Sabina. The group enjoyed refreshments including Barry’s tea, shamrock shortbread, oat biscuits and lemon drizzle cake – made by the in-house chef
President Michael D Higgins invited the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to sign the Distinguished Visitors’ Book. The royal couple also spent some time with Mr Higgins in the President’s Study before the bilateral meeting in the Drawing Room
The royals looked relaxed as they shared jokes with the President and his wife while William signed the visitors’ book at the grand residence
William and Kate were greeted warmly by President Higgins in the drawing room of his grand official residence before they sat down for tea
The couple beamed as they stood for an official portrait with President Higgins and his wife in the grand drawing room of the official residence
When the Queen made her historic visit to Ireland in 2011 – the first by a British monarch since the nation gained independence from Britain – she bowed her head during a visit to the garden as a mark of respect for those who died, a hugely symbolic moment.
The duke and duchess will also meet Ireland’s Taoiseach, or prime minister, Leo Varadkar, before a reception at the Guinness Storehouse – a major visitor attraction in the Irish capital telling the story of the famous drink.
The couple will meet a range of people from the creative arts, sport, business and charity sectors, before having a session with Master Brewer Fergal Murray, who will take them through the process of making the stout and how to pour the perfect pint.
The visit will highlight the strong links between the UK and Ireland, and the couple’s programme will take in community initiatives and spectacular scenery, the palace said in a statement.
The statement added: ‘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.’
It also said: ‘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.’
The Queen’s historic visit to the Irish Republic was made amid unprecedented security, as she became the first British monarch to travel there in 100 years and the first since the nation gained independence from Britain.
In opting to wear green, Kate – pictured arriving at the president’s official residence – followed a long tradition of wearing national colours on royal visits
Large crowds tried to peer into the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin this afternoon as Kate and William arrived to pay tribute to Ireland’s independence heroes
Two women do their best to get a view of the royal couple, who are making their first ever official visit to the Emerald Isle
The couple arriving at the Aras an Uachtarain, the official residence of the President of Ireland, watched on by a soldier in full dress uniform
William and Kate were greeted warmly at the front door by Mr Art O’Leary, who serves as the Secretary General to the President
She bowed her head in Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance to pay tribute to the rebels who rose up against British rule in 1916, spoke Irish in an address to a state banquet and visited Croke Park Stadium, where British forces shot dead 14 spectators at a Gaelic football match in 1920.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have made five visits to Ireland over the past five years, a sign of the closer Anglo-Irish relations ushered in by the Queen’s tour.
The statement added: ‘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.’
William and Kate flew to Dublin Airport on a commercial Aer Lingus flight with the duchess looking stylish in an emerald green Catherine Walker coat and an Alessandra Rich dress
Following their arrival at Dublin Airport (pictured) William and Kate are expected to sample a pint of Guinness later when they meet leading figures from Irish life
William and Kate were said to be looking forward to building a lasting friendship with the Irish people during their first official visit to the country
The Duke and Duchess received a warm welcome from the assembled dignitaries, while nearby was a large police presence and a motorcade waiting to take the couple to the city centre
In brilliant winter sunshine they walked down the aircraft’s steps and were greeted by a small group of dignitaries led by Britain’s Ambassador to Ireland Robin Barnett
The couple looked happy and relaxed as they were met by the welcoming party in crisp winter sunshine on the first day of their visit
The couple are making their first visit to Ireland with the Government hoping the trip will help smooth over Brexit-related tensions
The timing of the visit means William and Kate will not be able to join Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Endeavour Awards in London. William attended the first ceremony but has not been for the last two years
The duke and duchess – seen arriving at the airport – will also meet Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins and the Taoiseach, or prime minister, Leo Varadkar
The Duke of Cambridge shakes hands with a dignitary after he and Kate touched down at a sunny Dublin Airport this afternoon
Britain’s Ambassador to Ireland Robin Barnett joins dignitaries greeting the royal couple as they walked onto the runway from the aircraft’s steps
They arrived on a regular Aer Lingus commercial jet, which was packed with businessmen, holidaymakers and workers returning home
Queen Elizabeth II and President Mary McAleese during a wreath laying ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square, Dublin on the first day of her State Visit to Ireland, in May 2011
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth bows after laying a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin on May 17, 2011