herald

Friday 20 July 2018

All along the banks of the royal canal - Harry and Meg's dublin 'mini-moon'

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will visit Ireland. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will visit Ireland. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle are planning a 'mini-moon' in Ireland, the Herald can reveal.

Arrangements are being put in place for the royal couple to visit in the weeks after their wedding, although it will likely not be the official honeymoon.

Sources say they are likely to take part in a series of engagements over two days.

It will be the second royal visit of the summer, as Harry's father Prince Charles, and his wife Camilla, are expected in late April or early May.

Secret

The prince and American former actress are due to get married on May 19 in St George's Chapel, on the grounds of Windsor Castle, outside London.

Their honeymoon has been a closely guarded secret but sources indicated a trip to Dublin is pencilled in for shortly after the nuptials.

"It will possibly be the first foreign trip after their wedding," said a source.

The publicity around such a visit could prove helpful in Anglo-Irish relations at a time when Brexit has created a strain between the two governments.

The British Embassy was not in a position to comment last night.

Details of royal trips are generally kept very tight until shortly before the event due to security concerns.

Harry has never visited Ireland before but Meghan spent time here as an ambassador for the One Young World summit in 2014.

The itinerary for their visit in June or July is only in the early stages but it is believed they will just stay for one night.

This country has become a favourite destination for Charles and Camilla in recent years.

Last May, the couple undertook a three-day tour, which included stops in Kilkenny and the Curragh.

They also attended a ceremony to honour Irish soldiers who died in the 1916 Rising and World War I, as well as visiting the grave of Michael Collins in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Their upcoming visit is again expected to include a number of events outside of the capital.

However, sources say the younger royals are "urbanites" who are likely to be base themselves in the capital.

Since being unveiled as a royal bride-to-be, Meghan has accompanied Harry on a string of public outings.

A source said it is not yet clear whether there will be any public 'meet and greets' during their time in Ireland but it has become a common feature of their engagements.

Procession

Their wedding will be a very public event, with TV cameras allowed inside the church and more than 2,000 members of the public invited to watch the carriage procession.

The two royal visits will come before Pope Francis's attendance at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, which will be held between August 21 and 26. He is expected to say Mass in the Phoenix Park and possibly make a historic journey to Northern Ireland.

The combination of high-profile guests will require significant planning by An Garda Siochana in the coming months.

Gardai foiled a plan by two men to carry out an operation including explosives during Charles's previous State visit in 2015.

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