ONE of the surprises when Queen Elizabeth arrived at her first engagement at Aras an Uachtarain, was the modest size of her entourage.
The British delegation was 10 in total (though of course this excludes her security detail), and consisted of the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, the British ambassador to Ireland, Julian King and his wife Lotte Knudsen. The queen was accompanied by two ladies-in-waiting, Lady Diana Farnham and the Honourable Mary Morrison.
She is also accompanied by the Right Honourable Christopher Geidt, her Private Secretary. He has been a member of the royal household since 2002, and became deputy secretary from 2005 to 2007.
Also present was her deputy private secretary, Edward Young, who played a key role in the planning of the royal trip, visiting Ireland several times recently in the run-up to the historic four-day tour.
Others in the entourage included the Duke of Edinburgh's Private Secretary, the magnificently-named Brigadier Archie Miller-Bakewell, and her equerry Major Dan Rex, a former major in the Gurkhas.
Absent from the Aras event were Queen Elizabeth's personal doctor, Surgeon Captain David Hewitt and Commander Peter Loughborough, the head of Royal Protection.