President Higgins meets Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle
An impressive display of colour and pageantry greeted President Michael D Higgins and his wife Mrs Sabina Higgins as they arrived in Windsor for the first ever Irish State Visit to Britain.
President Higgins and his wife Sabina are welcomed to Windsor Castle
The visit began at noon when the Queen and Prince Philip formally welcomed the President as he arrived at Windsor & Eton Riverside Railway Station, and as he stepped onto Datchet Road he was given a 21-gun salute.
For several hours, crowds had lined the main street of Windsor town which was decked with Tricolours and Union Flags, and the President was driven in a ceremonial carriage to the Castle.
President Higgins is greeted by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip outside Windsor Castle
President and Sabina Higgins were given a warm welcome by the royal couple. Queen Elizabeth was wearing a coat and dress by Stewart Parvin and hat by Angela Kelly. Her coat was sky blue cashmere with mother of pearl buttons and her dress was Paisley printed silk dress in moss green and dove grey, accesorised by a cashmere hat decorated with handmade feather flowers by Stella McLaren.
She is wearing an orchid brooch on coat a gift from Mappin Webb and Waterford as a gift for 60th anniversary of coronation. The flowers are hand cut Waterford crystal. It contains 66 diamonds and rose gold stamens.
Sabina Higgins was wearing a pale pink ensemble, with coat in silk tweed and matching dress by Louise Kennedy and hat by Philip Treacy.
President Higgins alongside Queen Elizabeth in the royal carriage
The President inspected the troops in the Quadrangle accompanied by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh as the Band of the Irish Guards played a selection of Irish songs.
Following the Inspection the Irish President presented a new coat to the Irish Wolfhound Regimental Mascot of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards, Domhnall of Shantamon.
President Michael D Higgins shakes hands with the Prince Charles
The royal party then watched as a colourful parade of cavalry passed by. More than 850 British Army personnel, 275 horses and an Irish Wolfhound were working in support of the state visit Then the royals and guests went into the Castle for a private lunch.
Earlier in London the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall met with the President and Sabina and also the Tanaiste and his wife Carol Hanney at the Irish Embassy.
President Michael D Higgins chats with Prince Charles
They to the Ambassador's office where they were introduced to the President and Sabina Higgins and to the Tánaiste and Ms Hanney.
There were handshakes all round and a few minutes of friendly conversation, before the President and Sabina Higgins escorted the royal couple downstairs to the lobby at 11.07 am where the Prince and the Duchess introduced the British delegation.
President Higgins shakes hands with the Duchess of Cornwall
The member of the British delegation included The Viscount Hood, Lord-in-waiting on behalf of the Queen, The Hon. Mary Morrison, Lady-in-waiting, Mr Dominick Chilcott, British Ambassador to Ireland, Mrs Jane Chilcott, Commander Andrew Canale RN, Equerry-in-waiting and Captain Oliver Morley, Assistant Equerry.
The Prince and the Duchess along with the President and Sabina then departed in a motorcade for Windsor Castle.
There was a protest across the street by seven pro-choice campaigners who chanted slogans in favour of legalised abortion in Ireland. This was organised by an group called Speaking of IMELDA, an acronym for 'Ireland Making England the Legal Destination for Abortion'.