Thursday 29 September 2016

Kate Middleton (and her favourite 10-year-old coat) visits Northern Ireland for the first time in five years

Caitlin McBride and David Young

Published 15/06/2016 | 07:44

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers' Garden Party at the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers' Garden Party at the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down
The Duchess of Cambridge speaks to guests during the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers' Garden Party at the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers' Garden Party at the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down
The Duchess of Cambridge signs a book of condolence for Orlando shooting victims at the US Embassy in London
The Duchess of Cambridge speaks to guests during the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers' Garden Party at the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers' Garden Party at the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down
The Duchess of Cambridge speaks to guests during the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers' Garden Party at the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down should read: Clodagh Kilcoyne/PA Wire
Handout photo of Anne Hyndman taking a selfie with the Duke of Cambridge during the annual Hillsborough Castle garden party, prompting him to think again about the age profile of the selfie generation.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Matthew Barzun, US Ambassador to London, after signing a book of condolence for Orlando shooting victims at the US Embassy in London
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Matthew Barzun, US Ambassador to London, after signing a book of condolence for Orlando shooting victims at the US Embassy in London
The Duchess of Cambridge plants a tree as she attends the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers' Garden Party at the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Kate Middleton and Prince William made their first visit on Irish soil in five years.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were guests of honour at a garden party in Northern Ireland on Tuesday, just hours after they were pictured paying their respects to the victims of the Orlando massacre at the US embassy in London.

The couple have been uncharacteristically fully booked with royal engagements in recent weeks to mark Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday celebrations - including an appearance by Prince George and Princess Charlotte last weekend.

The future King and Queen of England flew into Northern Ireland for Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers' garden party at the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers' Garden Party at the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers' Garden Party at the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down

For the occasion, the Duchess opted for one of her oldest and most instantly recognisable pieces in her wardrobe - a 10-year-old coat dress by Day Birger et Mikkelsen, which she first wore in 2006 to the wedding of Sarah Parker Bowles and has dusted off a handful of times since.

Approximately 2,500 guests attended yesterday's event, with attendees drawn from a wide cross-section of Northern Ireland society, including the voluntary and community sectors, local charities and youth organisations.

While all eyes may have been on Kate, one royal watcher was determined to grab a selfie with Prince William - even if it meant sneaking up on him.

William shared a joke with 62-year-old Anne Hyndman from Portrush when he spotted her multiple efforts to get a picture of herself with him in the background.

The Duchess of Cambridge speaks to guests during the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers' Garden Party at the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down
The Duchess of Cambridge speaks to guests during the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers' Garden Party at the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down

"He saw me taking selfies," said Mrs Hyndman, who works in a coffee shop in Coleraine.

"He said 'I know what you are doing, you are taking selfies - I can see you out of the side of my eye'."

A short while after that initial jovial exchange, William again spotted Ms Hyndman and her camera phone among the other 2,500 guests enjoying the sunshine on the pristine lawns of the Royal residence.

"He came back up and I was taking photos again and he said 'That's the woman with the selfies - that's a young one's thing, now you are at it'."

The Duchess of Cambridge plants a tree as she attends the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers' Garden Party at the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cambridge plants a tree as she attends the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers' Garden Party at the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The Co Antrim woman was invited to the garden party with her husband Ronnie, who is heavily involved with the Royal British Legion in Portrush.

And the reason she was so keen to get a photo with William? Simple.

"He's just lovely," she said.

"It was just the best day we ever had. It was like a dream."

Handout photo of Anne Hyndman taking a selfie with the Duke of Cambridge during the annual Hillsborough Castle garden party, prompting him to think again about the age profile of the selfie generation.
Handout photo of Anne Hyndman taking a selfie with the Duke of Cambridge during the annual Hillsborough Castle garden party, prompting him to think again about the age profile of the selfie generation.

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