Monday 21 August 2017

Curtain falls after a star performance

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh bid farewell to Irish President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina (not pictured) at Windsor Castle in Windsor, after the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President. Leon Neal/PA Wire
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh bid farewell to Irish President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina (not pictured) at Windsor Castle in Windsor, after the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President. Leon Neal/PA Wire
Martha Wainwright, 6, presents flowers to Irish President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Higgins during a visit to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Statford-upon-Avon. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Irish President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Higgins Photo. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
The cast of Henry IV Part I perform for Irish President Michael D. Higgins at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Statford-upon-Avon, during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she bids farewell Irish President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina (not pictured) prepare to leave Windsor Castle in Windsor, after the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President. Leon Neal/PA Wire
Irish President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Higgins are shown a wig from Henry IV part one by head of wigs and make-up Sandra Smith (right) during a visit to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Statford-upon-Avon. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
(Left to right) Irish President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Higgins meet actor Sir Anthony Sher and artistic director Gregory Doran during a visit to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Statford-upon-Avon. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Irish President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Higgins (behind) during a visit to Shakespeare's Birthplace in Statford-upon-Avon. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Irish President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Higgins greet well wishers outside Shakespeare's Birthplace in Statford-upon-Avon. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Martha Wainwright, 6, presents flowers to Irish President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Higgins during a visit to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Statford-upon-Avon. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Irish President Michael D. Higgins during a visit to Shakespeare's Birthplace in Statford-upon-Avon, during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Irish President Michael D. Higgins gives a speech on stage in front of the cast of Henry IV Part I at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Statford-upon-Avon, during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Irish President Michael D. Higgins sits in a car as he leaves Windsor Castle in Windsor, after the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President. Leon Neal/PA Wire
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (left) and the Duke of Edinburgh, bid farewell to Irish President Michael D. Higgins (right) and his wife Sabina at Windsor Castle in Windsor, after the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President. Leon Neal/PA Wire
The President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins (C) and his wife Sabina (3rd R) meet actors during a visit to Shakespeare's Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, southern England April 11, 2014. REUTERS/Joe Giddens/Pool
Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip laugh after bidding farewell to the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina at Windsor Castle in Windsor, southern England April 11, 2014. REUTERS/Leon Neal/Pool
Britain's Queen Elizabeth laughs after bidding farewell to the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina at Windsor Castle in Windsor, southern England April 11, 2014. REUTERS/Leon Neal/Pool
Britain's Queen Elizabeth greets Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (L), First Minister Peter Robinson (2nd L) and Britain's Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers (3rd L) during a Northern Ireland-themed reception at Windsor Castle at Windsor in southern England April 10, 2014. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
Lise Hand

Lise Hand

ALL the world was a stage for Michael D Higgins this week, and this man played his part with admirable aplomb.

It was the final morning of a four-day state visit that had been packed with more action than a Shakespearian sword-fight, yet despite having made an early start after a late night hanging out with royals and musicians in the Royal Albert Hall the previous evening, the President looked as happy as Falstaff in The Boar's Head Tavern as he arrived in Stratford-Upon-Avon yesterday morning.

Chances are that for such a lifelong devotee of the arts, even the sumptuous State Banquet in Windsor Castle ran a close second to this pilgrimage into Shakespeare Country. But his ebullience was surely also due to the fact that he and Sabina could now completely relax and take a bow as the curtain prepared to fall on what has been a hugely successful week.

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