Friday 20 July 2018

Meghan vows to return to Trinity College Library to see first female bust

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with Trinity, Provost and President, Dr Patrick Prendergast and College Librarian, Helen Shenton in the Long Room of the Old Library as part of their visit to Trinity College Dublin. Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie/PA Wire
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with Trinity, Provost and President, Dr Patrick Prendergast and College Librarian, Helen Shenton in the Long Room of the Old Library as part of their visit to Trinity College Dublin. Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie/PA Wire

Aoife Moore

The Duchess of Sussex has promised to revisit Ireland's oldest library after she was told of plans to include the first female bust in its famous Long Room.

The pledge was made on Wednesday when Meghan and her husband, the duke, travelled from their morning trip to Croke Park Stadium to the heart of Dublin city centre to visit Trinity College, Dublin.

Helen Shenton, the institution's first female librarian, showed the newlyweds around the historic Long Room of the Old Library built between 1712 and 1732, which houses more than 200,000 books.

Lining the walls of the library are 37 busts of literary greats such as Shakespeare, Aristotle and Cicero, as well as men of Trinity College.

Ms Shenton told Meghan that, as the first woman in the role, she plans to install the first female bust in the room.

The duchess replied: "I'll come back and look out for the first female bust."

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pictured in Trinity college after their visit to the book of Kells. Picture; Gerry Mooney
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pictured in Trinity college after their visit to the book of Kells. Picture; Gerry Mooney
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pictured in Trinity college after their visit to the book of Kells. Picture; Gerry Mooney
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pictured in Trinity college after their visit to the book of Kells. Picture; Gerry Mooney
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pictured in Trinity college after their visit to the book of Kells. Picture; Gerry Mooney
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pictured in Trinity college after their visit to the book of Kells. Picture; Gerry Mooney
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pictured in Trinity college after their visit to the book of Kells. Picture; Gerry Mooney
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pictured in Trinity college after their visit to the book of Kells. Picture; Gerry Mooney
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pictured in Trinity college after their visit to the book of Kells. Picture; Gerry Mooney
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pictured in Trinity college after their visit to the book of Kells. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Harry said he recognised the smell of the leather-bound books, and took a special interest in the medieval manuscripts before commenting on how beautiful the room was.

The couple looked up to admire the huge domed ceiling, and both lowered their voices to take in the splendour of the room, while Harry said "Shhh" to the almost empty library.

The newlyweds also saw Ireland's oldest harp, known as the Brian Boru harp, which is long recognised as the symbol of Ireland.

The ancient college houses the historic Book of Kells, widely regarded as Ireland's greatest cultural treasure and the world's most famous medieval manuscript.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pictured in Trinity college after their visit to the book of Kells. Picture; Gerry Mooney
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pictured in Trinity college after their visit to the book of Kells. Picture; Gerry Mooney
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pictured in Trinity college after their visit to the book of Kells. Picture; Gerry Mooney
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pictured in Trinity college after their visit to the book of Kells. Picture; Gerry Mooney
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pictured in Trinity college after their visit to the book of Kells. Picture; Gerry Mooney

The couple were invited into the Book of Kells exhibit, where the 9th century book is on display, an ornately decorated copy of the four Gospels of the life of Jesus Christ.

They were greeted by the University Provost and President Patrick Prendergast and his partner, Sheena Brown, outside the library and were introduced to Anne Marie Diffley, head of visitor services at the library, who explained the history of the ancient script.

Two volumes were on display for the royal visitors while the room was lit up by an illuminated page of the book.

The duke was heard saying "Wow" as he entered the room.

Before leaving, they signed the visitors' book, with Meghan letting her new husband sign first.

As Harry signed his name, Ms Shenton asked the duchess about her interest in calligraphy, to which she replied: "Yes, and I used to do book binding."

The couple met hundreds of well-wishers outside in the grounds of the college, and were given a number of bunches of flowers before setting off for their next engagement at the Epic Immigration Museum.

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