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Wednesday 13 November 2019

Tourism chiefs get royal pardon over etiquette gaffe

Brian Hutton

The Queen has taken no offence at being inadvertently demoted in radio adverts flagging up her official visit to Ireland, Buckingham Palace said today.

Irish tourism chiefs said the "wrong tapes" had been sent to a number of national broadcasters which referred to the monarch as Her Royal Highness rather than the correct title, Her Majesty.

Sharp-eared listeners who know their etiquette quickly brought the royal gaffe to the attention of Failte Ireland - the state tourism agency - and it was pulled off air before being replaced with re-recorded versions.

Buckingham Palace said the Queen's formal title is Her Majesty, while the Royal Highness prefix is reserved for princes and princesses, but added that there was regular confusion and the Queen would not be put out by the protocol blunder.

"These things happen all the time, there's no offence - indeed it's a term of respect whether it is Her Majesty or Her Royal Highness," said a Palace spokesman.

Online adverts on the Discover Ireland website promoting Ireland's "month of welcomes" - the country is also hosting US President Barack Obama and the Uefa Europa League final - referring to HRH Queen Elizabeth II were also taken down.

Alex Connolly, head of communications at Failte Ireland, which is running the adverts, played down the diplomatic slip-up as a clerical error.

"It's a storm in a bone-china teacup," he said.

"It's easily done. It was a small error, it shouldn't have gone out but it has been rectified."

Mr Connolly said tourism bosses were delighted about the royal visit, which they hope will encourage more visitors from Britain.

"The Queen's visit brings us a level of exposure that money can't buy," he said.

"We are absolutely thrilled with it, we see it as a big opportunity for getting more UK visitors over here.

"If England's first person deems it a good enough place to go to, I think the rest of the UK might consider it as well."

With four out of every 10 overseas visitors to Ireland from our closest nearest neighbour, British tourists are worth an estimated €2bn to the Irish economy.

A key focus of Failte Ireland's strategy announced earlier this year was to boost holidaymaker numbers from more prosperous parts of England, including London and the South East.

"Our message is: come to Ireland and we'll treat you like royalty," said Mr Connolly.

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