Sir -- Barry Egan is right to say that Ned Ryan was missed at the recent royal wedding (Sunday Independent, May 1, 2011), but he will also be missed when the Queen visits Ireland this month. Ned Ryan was able to socialise with the highest ranks of English society without betraying his Tipperary roots. Discreet and well-heeled, he was the ideal friend of the royal family and never revealed any details of his relationship with Princess Margaret.
People in Ireland are often so obsessed with hatred of imperialism, the Crown and the armed forces etc, that they forget that the royal family are human beings who have always had an interest in Ireland. Before the 'Troubles' blew up in the Sixties, Princess Margaret was a frequent visitor and Glynn's Hotel in Gort used to have a glass case displaying the tea service she used. Her son --Viscount Linley -- is married to a daughter of the Earl of Harrington who sold Elvaston Castle in England to reside permanently in Co Limerick.
The Queen loves horses and has long wanted to visit a country which has produced champion jockeys and some of the greatest winners of the turf. Let us hope that she receives a great Cead Mile Failte and when she visits the Rock of Cashel that Ned Ryan will be keeping an eye on her from above.
Muswell Hill, London