The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge kicked-off their first official visit to Ireland this afternoon when they landed in Dublin.
William and Kate arrived before 2 pm on a commercial Aer Lingus flight.
William and Kate arrived before 2 pm on a commercial Aer Lingus flight.
Kensington Palace said: "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."
A major security operation has been underway in Ireland in preparation for the royal visit. More from The Independent:
'The complexities of organising a royal visit to Ireland go well beyond handshaking and receiving bouquets of flowers. Organising tours for high-profile dignitaries in Ireland is a well-oiled machine by now, but visits from British royals reflect a complicated tapestry of history and extra measures are put in place to ensure an efficient security operation.
Temporary road closures will be in place to ensure smooth travel for the couple and the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) will be responsible for driving the couple around, although it is expected they will bring their own armoured vehicle.
As part of these security measures, prior to their arrival at certain locations, drains will be welded shut on public streets to ensure explosives can't be planted in them, sources have told the Irish Independent.
Royal protection officers from the Metropolitan Police will accompany the Cambridges, working in tandem with a team of 12 members of the elite ERU, who will oversee their day-to-day security and are trained in close protection and overseeing security for VIPs.'
The Queen and Prince Philip made a historic State Visit to Ireland in 2011, just a fortnight before William and Kate were married at Westminster Abbey. Hailed as "an extraordinary moment in history" it was the first time a reigning British monarch had visited Ireland in a century. The visit focused firmly on the relationship between the two countries and the themes of remembrance and reconciliation which the Cambridges will continue during this visit. It was a time not only to reflect on difficult and painful passages in history but to highlight the ties that unite both countries. Given the unprecedented nature of the visit, a £20 million security plan was put in place.
In April 2014, President Michael D Higgins reciprocated the visit, becoming the first Irish President to make a State Visit to Britain.
In the years since, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall have made a number of visits with the future King acknowledging the "incredibly kind and warm welcome" they always receive during a visit to County Wicklow last year. In 2018, shortly after their wedding, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made a two-day trip to Dublin. During a speech Harry told assembled guests "It is easy to see why Ireland has such a special place in the hearts of my family and indeed, all those who come here." The Earl and Countess of Wessex also visited in 2018.
Today, William and Kate began their official programme by meeting President Michael D Higgins at his official residence Áras an Uachtaráin.
The Cambridges received a very warm welcome.
The Mail reports, Sabina told the couple "Delighted to welcome you. You've had lots of exciting things happening in your family."
The President's office said: "The couples discussed 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. President Higgins, Sabina and Their Royal Highnesses 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."
The statement continued: "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."
They were joined by Britain's Ambassador to Ireland Robin Barrett and Ireland's Ambassador to Britain Adrian O Neill for afternoon tea.
Aras an Uachtaráin, formerly the Viceregal Lodge, is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of Ireland.
It is located off Chesterfield Avenue in the Phoenix Park in Dublin.
The building, which has ninety-five rooms, was designed by Nathaniel Clements and completed in 1751. The office of President of Ireland was created in 1937. In 1938, the first President, Douglas Hyde lived there temporarily while plans were made to build a new presidential palace on the grounds. The outbreak of World War II saved the building, which had been renamed Áras an Uachtaráin (meaning house or residence of the president in Irish), from ruin, as plans for its demolition and the design of a new residence were put on hold. By 1945 it had become too closely identified with the presidency of Ireland to be demolished, though its poor condition meant that extensive rebuilding of parts of the building were necessary, notably the kitchens, servants' quarters and chapel.
A fabulous shot of the foursome by James Whatling.
The couple had the opportunity to meet the Higgins' Bermese Mountain dog Bród. His partner in crime Síoda was under the weather with a sore paw today, which meant extra attention for the adorable pet, especially from the Duchess :) Kate said "He's lovely. How old is he?".
In fact, the presidential pups are an important part of the welcoming committee at the residence and have a history of charming members of the royal family. The Sussexes were very taken with the pair during their visit.
And the Countess of Wessex was equally impressed when she met them in 2018.
A video from the visit.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge retraced the Queen's footsteps at the Garden of Remembrance.
The Queen laying a wreath at the poignant garden in 2011.
The message on their wreath read "May we never forget the lessons of history as we continue to build a brighter future together".
The memorial garden is dedicated to all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom. The focal point is a statue of the Children of Lir by Oisín Kelly, symbolising rebirth and resurrection.
The Duke and Duchess observed a minute's silence to pay their respects.
The couple met Minister with Responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe, Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Sean Clancy and Brigadier General Anthony Cudmore.
Victoria Murphy reports:
'Crowds had gathered on the streets overlooking the garden and a cheer went up when the couple arrived. Among them was Melissa Garza from Texas, who has lived in Dublin for 11 years. “It was just lovely,” she told T&C afterwards about seeing the couple.
“They came by and they smiled at the crowd of us that were up here. And they were very sombre, in the mood for what they were doing here today.” She added that she thought it was “important” that they followed in the Queen’s footsteps and made a visit to the garden.
Hilary Graham, a retired teacher from Monaghan, also spoke about the Queen’s trip. “She changed everything when she came here. She spoke in Irish on the second night of her visit and from then everyone loved her," she said. “It’s very important for them to come here as they’re a future King and Queen. They will make a marvelous King and Queen.”
At the garden, poem "We Saw A Vision" by author Liam Mac Uistín is printed on a stone wall. It ends with the words: "Bondage became freedom and this we left to you as your inheritance. O generations of freedom remember us, the generations of the vision."
From there, the Duke and Duchess travelled to Government buildings where they met outgoing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett.
They signed the visitors' book.
More from the Mail Online:
'As the duke and duchess prepared to go into Dr Varadkar's office, the duke joked with his staff that the couple had 'brought some sunshine' and asked if they had been suffering from floods.
Inside the office, which is dominated by a portrait of the Irish republican leader Michael Collins, Dr Varadkar escorted William to the visitors' book and said: 'It's in Irish, but date, name and address.'
William said with a smile: 'Shall I put my address down as well?' Dr Varadkar joked that he should include his postcode, and William replied: 'Exactly!'
And enjoyed a conversation on a range of issues including plans for William and Kate's time in the country.
In a nod to Ireland, Kate chose a green ensemble for her arrival. The Duchess wore a bespoke double breasted forest green Catherine Walker coat.
A closer look at the distinctive black buttons which also feature on Kate's dress.
Kate teamed the coat with a lighter green Printed Silk Peplum dress by Alessandra Rich. The £1500 dress features a floral print, pleated bodice, structured bishop sleeves and peplum waist. Made in Italy, it's 100% silk.
The dress is from the Spring/Summer 2020 collection.
Kate wore her Emmy London Rebecca greenery suede pumps.
The Duchess carried the L.K. Bennett Dora Khaki suede clutch. It's currently on sale for £112 on the L.K. Bennett website.
The Duchess debuted a dazzling pair of Asprey Daisy earrings. The £17,000 pair are described as: "Individually set micro marquise diamond petals and a pavé diamond centre, all set in 18ct white gold."
And completed the look with her Jane Taylor crescent moon headband.
Later this evening, the Duke and Duchess will attend a reception at Guinness Storehouse’s Gravity Bar hosted by the British Ambassador to Ireland.