Duke becomes first British royal to honour martyrs of the 1916 Rising
THE cornerstone was laid by Queen Elizabeth on her visit two years ago and yesterday the Duke of Kent became the first British royal to lay a laurel wreath in honour of those who died in the 1916 Rising.
The tomb was the first port of call for the duke at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin where he had come to visit the graves of the Irish men and women who fought and died during the two world wars, in his role as President of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
For decades, these brave war dead were a political inconvenience whose ultimate sacrifice was considered a national betrayal – and so their graves lay forlorn and forgotten.
However, in recent years, 208 graves of those who died in the world wars have been identified and newly honoured in Glasnevin.
Some official individual headstones have already been placed in line with memorials in places like the Somme and Ypres and around 40 new official military headstones will be laid for individuals this year.
This visit was another step taken in the rehabilitation of their memories.
Though still recovering from a recent stroke, Duke Edward (77) cut a sprightly and lean figure as he stepped between the gravestones in dapper brogues.
The duke bent his head respectfully as he laid a wreath at the Sigerson Memorial for the 1916 volunteers, commenting afterwards: "Impressive tomb."
He laid a poppy wreath at the commemorative walls to mark those who died in the two world wars.
The duke will continue his tour of Irish world war dead today, taking in graves in Dean's Grange, Grangegorman and the Curragh.