Monday 20 November 2017

Queen Elizabeth rolls out the red carpet for state visit

Michael D Higgins is greeted by Viscount Hood on behalf of the Queen on his arrival in London.
Michael D Higgins is greeted by Viscount Hood on behalf of the Queen on his arrival in London.
A guard of honour as the President departs
The President's wife Sabina wears a striking green outfit as she accompanies him on the trip
Lise Hand

Lise Hand

IT WAS, as they say in west London, a grand soft day. At just after 5pm, the government jet appeared under the sodden grey skies overhanging Heathrow, arriving serendipitously during a respite from the rain.

In the VIP terminal, everything was set for the arrival of President Higgins. On the steps awaiting him was the official welcome party – among them Ireland's ambassador to Britain Dan Mulhall and his wife Greta, Viscount Hood, Lord-in-Waiting was there on behalf of the queen, and Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Commissioner of the London Metropolitan police.

The red carpet from the plane was lined with uniformed members of the Royal Air Force, and outside the terminal, the President's car awaited – an impressive gleaming brown Bentley with a royal crest on the doors and a Tricolour flying on the roof.

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