independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Bono in awe after meeting 'amazing' queen

Notre Dame pupils Aisling O'Byrne, Mollie O'Mahony-Kenna and Michelle Dunne

ROCK star Bono and his wife Ali Hewson are still in awe after meeting Queen Elizabeth II.

The U2 singer met the British monarch at the Royal Academy of Arts in London last Wednesday where he had been invited to speak as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee awards ceremony to recognise young students who had made a special contribution to national culture.

Commenting on the meeting, his wife said the couple were amazed by the queen's energy and stamina at the age of 86.

"She's an incredible woman. Her stamina is unbelievable," she told the Irish Independent yesterday.

"I think she's an amazing woman. It's not an easy job and she works hard.

"She stood for the whole ceremony and then walked through a room of 600 to 800, meeting people. She's got some incredible stamina," she said.

She added that the queen was "very receptive" to the rock star, who spoke of her historic visit here last year. "She had an amazing time in Ireland and it was a great thing to have her come and for Ireland to move on," Ms Hewson said.

She revealed Bono was looking forward to presenting Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi with Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience award when she visits Ireland on June 18.

"It's such an incredible thing to have her come to Ireland. It's a huge honour for us to have her in the country," she said.

Ms Hewson also revealed that the couple's daughter Eve, who turns 21 next month, is busy studying for acting exams at New York University. Eve made her film debut recently appearing alongside Sean Penn in the film 'This Must Be The Place' -- which was shot in Dublin.

"She's about to get her degree so she's got her head down and working hard," Ms Hewson said.

But she was less candid about the couple's business interests, including their investment in Facebook, following the tumbling of share prices after the initial public offering (IPO) on May 18 reportedly earned the singer a massive $1.9bn after he invested $90m for 2.3pc of the company's shares in 2009.

"I'm going to leave that one," she said. "But I still have a huge amount of faith in Facebook and the markets are all over the place anyway.

Autographed

"We'll see how it rides out but it's a long-term thing, it's not a short-term thing," she said.

Ms Hewson made the comments after paying a visit to the Notre Dame Junior School in Churchtown, Dublin, in her role as a supporter of the Children Helping Children charity. Ms Hewson has been supporting the project since it was founded by school principal Ken King 16 years ago.

The project encourages children to create their own small businesses to raise money for children's charities.

"What he's (Mr King) managed to do is capture that spirit. Everybody sees kids trying to sell things like lemonade out on the street and I think it's part of their desire to socially interact and to create something themselves," she said.

Pupil Aisling O'Byrne (11) said she was delighted that Ms Hewson autographed two of U2's 'Greatest Hits' CDs, which they intend to auction. "I think it might fetch a lot of money," Aisling said.

Jessica O'Connor (11), from Knocklyon, Dublin, set up a "Giddy Golf" game after encouraging sponsors to donate prizes to the cause.

Irish Independent

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