Saturday 15 December 2018

Varadkar vows to 'roll out the red carpet' for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's visit to Ireland

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Your Commonwealth Youth Challenge reception at Marlborough House on July 05, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Your Commonwealth Youth Challenge reception at Marlborough House on July 05, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Ralph Riegel

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar vowed to "roll out the red carpet" to welcome Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle to Ireland.

Mr Varadkar said the Royal visit - the first official overseas trip undertaken by the couple since their Windsor wedding last May - was very significant and underlined the importance of Anglo-Irish relations.

"I am really looking forward to Prince Harry and Meghan (Markle) coming to Dublin and I think they are going to be made very welcome," the Taoiseach said.

"It is the first visit they will have made overseas since they got married and even though they haven't officially visited Ireland before, I think they are going to be extremely welcome and I look forward to welcoming them."

The Royal visit follows shortly after the successful trip to Cork and Kerry last month by Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

It was the latest in a series of visits to Ireland by Prince Charles.

Queen Elizabeth II made the first Royal visit to Ireland by a reigning British monarch in a century in May 2011 - a trip hailed as hugely successful for bolstering Anglo-Irish relations.

Mr Varadkar said such ties were never more important between the two countries with Brexit looming.

"I think with the United Kingdom leaving Europe, we are really going to need to focus a lot more on bilateral relationships and visits of the president to the UK or members of the Royal family to Ireland to help cement that very close relationship between Britain and Ireland," he said.

"So we will be rolling out the red carpet and I think they will be extremely welcome."

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