Monday 19 March 2018

By royal invitation: Irish names on guestlist

THERE will be some Irish faces in Westminster Abbey on Friday, but the input of at least two major native designers will ensure many guests will be flying the flag for Ireland.


  • Gemma Billington

Originally from Killarney in Kerry, artist Gemma Billington is a close family friend of the Middletons.

She has known Kate since she was a child and lives with her husband Tim near Kate's family in Stanford Dingley in Berkshire, England.

In 2007, Kate Middleton was a guest at her first solo exhibition at a gallery in Hanover Quay, Dublin.

  • Hilary and Galen Weston

Dublin-born Hilary Weston is a former lieutenant-governor of Ontario.

She is married to billionaire Galen Weston, one of the richest people in Canada, owner of Selfridges in London and Irish stores Brown Thomas, A-Wear and BT2. The couple are friends of Prince Charles.


Two Irish-born cardinals will attend a British royal wedding for the first time since the 16th Century.

Sean Brady, the Catholic primate of All Ireland, and the head of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Antrim-born Keith O'Brien, will be among three cardinals at Westminster Abbey.

Cardinal Brady's role in the Northern peace process is believed to have had a lot to do with his invitation. He said he was "pleasurably surprised" to get it.

Church of Ireland primate Archbishop Alan Harper will also attend.


  • Philip Treacy

The hat designer is believed to have designed a honeymoon hat for Kate.

She wore one of his creations to William's passing out parade in 2006.

  • Paul Costelloe

He is believed to have designed a dress for the wedding, but the details have been kept top secret.

Costelloe previously designed a number of outfits for Princess Diana.

Irish Independent

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