Duke and Duchess of Cambridge fly commercial for first Ireland visit

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have arrived in Ireland for their first official visit - flying commercial to Dublin airport.

William and Catherine stepped off an Aer Lingus flight on Tuesday afternoon and were given an official greeting as they arrived on the Emerald Isle.

Catherine was wearing a Catherine Walker coat and an Alessandra Rich dress.

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Waiting to greet them at the bottom of the plane’s steps was a small group of dignitaries led by Britain’s Ambassador to Ireland Robin Barnett.

The Duchess of Cambridge wore an emerald green coat as she arrived for the tour. (Press Association)
The Duchess of Cambridge wore an emerald green coat as she arrived for the tour. (Press Association)

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The Duke and Duchess have a packed schedule as they prepare to spend three days in Ireland, including an evening at an event at the Gravity Bar in the Guinness Storehouse.

They will meet a range of people from the creative arts, business, sport and charity sectors and may sample a Guinness.

The royal couple are in Ireland until Thursday.

Their three children - George, Charlotte and Louis - aren’t with them.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were greeted by dignitaries at the airport. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were greeted by dignitaries at the airport. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to spend three days in Ireland. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to spend three days in Ireland. (Press Association)

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will also go to Galway, which is the 2020 European Capital of Culture.

Ahead of the tour, the couple said they were “looking forward to building a lasting friendship with the Irish people”.

This is the first time the couple has visited Ireland on an official tour.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are greeted by Art O'Leary, Secretary General to the President. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are greeted by Art O'Leary, Secretary General to the President. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet the president at the official residence. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet the president at the official residence. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne. (Press Association)

The couple was greeted by Art O’Leary, secretary general to the president, as they arrived for afternoon tea.

President Higgins invited the royals to sign the Distinguished Visitors’ book, before they spent time together in his study.

They were joined by Higgins’ wife Sabina, O’Leary,  the Irish Ambassador to the UK Adrian O’Neill and Claire Power, the president’s adviser.

The Duke of Cambridge signs a distinguished visitors' book at Aras an Uachtarain. (Press Association)
The Duke of Cambridge signs a distinguished visitors' book at Aras an Uachtarain. (Press Association)
Shamrock shortbread was on the menu for afternoon tea. (Press Association)
Shamrock shortbread was on the menu for afternoon tea. (Press Association)

Kate and William were joined by the British Ambassador to Ireland Robin Barnett and Simon Case, the Duke of Cambridge’s private secretary.

On the menu for afternoon tea was Barry’s Tea, shamrock shortbread, oat biscuits and lemon drizzle cake made by the president’s in-house chef.

After tea, they laid a wreath at a garden of remembrance which honours those who gave their lives for Irish independence.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Michael D Higgins and Sabina Coyne ahead of laying a wreath. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Michael D Higgins and Sabina Coyne ahead of laying a wreath. (Press Association)
The Duchess of Cambridge gives the president's dog Brod a cuddle. (Press Association)
The Duchess of Cambridge gives the president's dog Brod a cuddle. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge ring the Peace Bell. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge ring the Peace Bell. (Press Association)

They were joined by Higgins’ dog, Brod, with animal lover Kate bending down to give him a cuddle.

Kate and William also rang the Peace Bell, which was first unveiled in 2008 by then president Mary McAleese to mark the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

The royal couple were given a round of applause by waiting fans as they entered the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin, with some in the crowd cheering “Welcome to Ireland”.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge lay a wreath during a visit to the Garden of Remembrance. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge lay a wreath during a visit to the Garden of Remembrance. (Press Association)
The duchess takes a moment after laying a wreath with her husband. (Getty Images)
The duchess takes a moment after laying a wreath with her husband. (Getty Images)
The couple bowed their heads in reflection after laying a wreath which said 'may we never forget the lessons of history'. (Getty Images)
The couple bowed their heads in reflection after laying a wreath which said 'may we never forget the lessons of history'. (Getty Images)

They left a message on a wreath which read: “May we never forget the lessons of history as we continue to build a brighter future together.”

The garden was designed by Daithi Hanly, and they laid a wreath near to a large sculpture by Oisin Kelly, based on the theme of the Children of Lir.

The story is about four children who were turned into swans by their stepmother who was jealous of their father’s love.

The laid the wreath at the base of the artwork and then paused for a minute.

The message on the wreath laid by Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. (Press Association)
The message on the wreath laid by Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet Leo Varadkar, Taoiseach of Ireland, and his partner Matt Barrett. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet Leo Varadkar, Taoiseach of Ireland, and his partner Matt Barrett. (Press Association)

A spokesman for Higgins confirmed the royal couple did talk Brexit with the political leaders.

A statement said: “The couples discussed the close ties between the people of Ireland and Britain and the importance of continuing and deepening close relations between all of the peoples of these Islands.

“President Higgins, Sabina and Their Royal Highnesses spoke of the challenges ahead, including the implications of the UK’s departure from the European Union and the importance of continuing to build on the foundations of the Good Friday Agreement.”

The Duke and Sabina Coyne appear to share a joke with a photographer on tour. (Press Association)
The Duke and Sabina Coyne appear to share a joke with a photographer on tour. (Press Association)
The duke and duchess were accompanied by two servicemen in the garden. (Getty Images)
The duke and duchess were accompanied by two servicemen in the garden. (Getty Images)

After laying the wreath, the royal couple travelled to the government buildings in Dublin where they met Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett.

Varadkar is currently the caretaker Taoiseach, having offered his resignation to Higgins on 20 February.

Varadkar tweeted: “It was a pleasure to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Government Buildings this afternoon as part of their visit to Ireland.”

The duchess’s green outfit is in keeping with a royal tradition to wear the national colour on arrival in Ireland.

The Queen wore green when she made her historic trip to Ireland in 2011, donning a crepe coat and silk jade green and blue floral dress, made by Stewart Parvin.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet with Leo Varadkar, Taoiseach of Ireland, and his partner Matt Barrett. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet with Leo Varadkar, Taoiseach of Ireland, and his partner Matt Barrett. (Press Association)

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Meghan wore a dark green dress when she and the Duke of Sussex visited in 2018, their first tour as a married couple.

And the Duchess of Cornwall wore turquoise when she carried out her first official visit in 2015.

The Prince of Wales and Camilla have made five joint visits to Ireland over the past five years, a sign of the closer Anglo-Irish relations ushered in by the Queen’s tour.

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