On Wednesday night, The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall attended a dinner at the Irish Embassy to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, as well as the close diplomatic ties and friendship of the UK and Ireland.
During the reception, Prince Charles and Camilla met guests from across British and Irish communities, including Sir Kenneth Branagh, Fiona Shaw, Dara O’Briain. Also in attendance were important members of the Irish government such as the deputy Prime Minister, Simon Coveney, the cabinet office minister David Lidington.
Highlighting the importance of the British and Irish friendship in his speech, The Prince of Wales said: “Above all we are friends, we are partners and we are the closest of near neighbours, bound together by everything that we have in common – and by just how far we have come together.”
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have made official visits to Ireland for four consecutive years since 2014, attending engagements in 15 counties, visiting Cork and Kerry last year.
Talking about their visits the Prince said: “I must say I’m slightly amazed to find that we’ve managed to visit 15 counties already. I am quite determined before I drop dead and finally lose my marbles that I should get around to the remaining 17.”
“This is precisely why it has been so important to my wife and myself that we too should visit Ireland so often over these past few years – to experience, and celebrate, as best we can, the unparalleled bonds between our two countries, and to highlight just what a fundamental difference they make to us all.”
During a speech at the dinner, Simon Coveney said: “This evening is about celebrating the extraordinarily vibrant and overwhelmingly positive connections that we now enjoy together – of culture and art, of economics and commerce, of friendship and family.”
“In the visits by Their Royal Highnesses to the island of Ireland in recent years, they have created opportunities to strengthen that friendship and celebrate the many people who work for their communities and strive to build lasting relationships North and South, East and West.”
The royal couple were also given a tour of the embassy, and shown a portrait of Seamus Heaney.