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Kate Middleton and Prince William confirm first visit to Ireland - but why has it taken them so long?

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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge depart the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Stanford Hall on February 11, 2020

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge depart the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Stanford Hall on February 11, 2020

Getty Images

Jacqui O’Halloran (holding phone) meets Meghan Markle in the famous photograph taken by Gerry Mooney back in July.

Jacqui O’Halloran (holding phone) meets Meghan Markle in the famous photograph taken by Gerry Mooney back in July.

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 and Meghan with President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina (Joe Giddens/PA)

Harry and Meghan with President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina (Joe Giddens/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Welcome: President Higgins and his wife Sabina with Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan at Áras an Uachtaráin in July. Photo: Andrew Parsons/Getty

Welcome: President Higgins and his wife Sabina with Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan at Áras an Uachtaráin in July. Photo: Andrew Parsons/Getty

Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

The Duchess of Cornwall holds an 8 week old Labrador puppy named Gretel during her visit the National Guide Dogs Training Centre in Cork

The Duchess of Cornwall holds an 8 week old Labrador puppy named Gretel during her visit the National Guide Dogs Training Centre in Cork

PA

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to the English Market in Cork as part of their tour of the Republic of  Ireland

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to the English Market in Cork as part of their tour of the Republic of Ireland

PA

Queen Elizabeth delivering her speech, watched by Mary McAleese during the Stte dinner at Dublin Castle in 2011

Queen Elizabeth delivering her speech, watched by Mary McAleese during the Stte dinner at Dublin Castle in 2011

Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex walkabout during a visit to Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, July 11, 2018. Gareth Fuller/Pool via REUTERS

Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex walkabout during a visit to Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, July 11, 2018. Gareth Fuller/Pool via REUTERS

REUTERS

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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge depart the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Stanford Hall on February 11, 2020

Throughout the four years of Brexit negotiations, which has felt like a century, Ireland’s delicate and oft described "special relationship" with the UK was an unwavering sticking point.

Over the years, Prince Charles has visited dozens of times and spoke of his commitment to visiting all 32 counties during his lifetime; a goal he seems well on his way towards achieving with annual visits for the last number of years. Queen Elizabeth’s historic 2011 visit was a resounding success, described as a "watershed moment" by outgoing Tánaiste Simon Coveney.

As such, Ireland is now somewhat of an ‘easy’ place for royals to earn some positive PR, as Meghan Markle and Prince Harry demonstrated in May 2018 when they chose Dublin as their ‘mini-moon’ spot, and their first destination of choice to get their diplomatic feet wet.