By Padraic Halpin
DUBLIN (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan began a two-day visit to Dublin on Tuesday, their first trip abroad since their wedding in May.
“Pleasure to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to government buildings at the start of their visit to Ireland,” Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Twitter, using the titles the Prince and the former Hollywood actress received on their marriage.
Meghan, wearing a dark green Givenchy dress which appeared to have been chosen with Ireland’s national color in mind, and Prince Harry, in a dark suit and green tie, met Varadkar shortly after touching down in Dublin airport.
They were due to attend a summer garden party at the British Ambassador’s residence in the south of the city later on Tuesday, where they will meet people from across Ireland’s arts, sports, military and social enterprise sectors.
They will also visit some of the city’s main cultural attractions, including Ireland’s oldest university, Trinity College, and Croke Park, where British troops opened fire on a crowd nearly a century ago, on a day known as Bloody Sunday during Ireland’s War of Independence.
Britain’s royal family has played an important role in developing Anglo-Irish relations in recent years, in particular six years ago when Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, made the first state visit by a British monarch since Ireland won its independence from London in 1921.
The Queen, whose husband’s uncle was killed by an Irish nationalist bomb in 1979, offered powerful gestures of reconciliation during the hugely successful four-day trip made possible by a 1998 peace deal ending a paramilitary war against British rule of Northern Ireland.
Kensington Palace tweeted an update of Harry and Meghan’s arrival in both English and Irish.
The pair are also scheduled to meet Irish President Michael D. Higgins on Wednesday before visiting a memorial to Ireland’s Great Famine years of the 1840, an Irish Emigration Museum and a technology startup hub.
Many Irish people have a gossipy interest in their nearest neighbor’s royal family. Ireland’s national broadcaster carried live coverage of the royal wedding, part of a global TV audience of many millions.
RSVP, one of Ireland’s most popular celebrity magazines, ran a live blog of the visit on Tuesday which was also the top story on the website of the Irish Independent, the country’s highest selling daily newspaper.
(Editing by Peter Graff)