Thursday, 7 September 2017

The Prince and the President


They've looked to be in complete harmony for years now so it was no surprise that the latest meeting between the Prince of Wales and his friend, the President of Ireland, came at a celebration for an anniversary with musical links. Charles and Michael D Higgins met up again at Dumfries House in Scotland where, among other things, they helped mark a quarter century of Classic FM. And this bond between the heir to the British throne and the President of the Republic of Ireland is turning into a real classic itself.





Their first encounter came in 2014 when the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall welcomed President Higgins and his wife, Sabine, to the UK as they began the historic State Visit, the first by an Irish Head of State.




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The bonhomie between the prince and the president was clear to see during this trip - they were smiling soon after shaking hands at the Irish Embassy in London as Charles and Camilla arrived to accompany their visitors to Windsor for the official welcome. The friendship clearly grew during this historic visit.



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In April 2015, the prince and the president took part in commemorations in Turkey to mark the centenary of the Battle of Gallipoli. There were several events during those few days but among the most poignant images is this one of Prince Charles and President Higgins at V Beach where the majority of Irish casualties fell at Gallipoli. The men stood side by side to pay tribute, underlining the emotional side of the commemorations.





The friendship between the prince and the president was more than clear to see when they met again just a month later as Charles and Camilla made a four day visit to the island of Ireland between 19th and 22nd May. The royal visitors joined Michael and Sabina for a private dinner at the end of the first day and the word relaxed appears to be an understatement.




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In July 2016, they met again for more World War One commemorations when they both took part in ceremonies marking 100 years since the Battle of the Somme.




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So it was very much a meeting of old friends as Charles and Camilla arrived in Dublin for an official visit earlier this year. The royals were hosted by President and Mrs Higgins and clearly they were already looking forward to seeing each other as they said goodbye in May.





The return visit started on September 6th with Michael and Sabina Higgins meeting Charles at Dumfries House, the Scottish property he has been restoring. The visit was to mark the tenth anniversary of Dumfries House. The prince gave his friends a tour of the house and its gardens where the  bond between them all was more than evident. They just look so relaxed in each others company that this high level friendship is more than before Camilla joined them for that celebration for Classic FM alongside stars including Aled Jones, Alan Titchmarsh and Myleene Klass.




Just when you thought this royal/ presidential bromance couldn't get any better, the Prince of Wales and the President of the Republic of Ireland were then announced as joint patrons of the Irish Institute at the University of Liverpool which has been established to promote peace. The men have been described as having ''promoted a vision of constructive relationships'', underlining that beneath the smiles of this clearly warm friendship is a lot of hard work and diplomacy. Both men have played a big part in developing relationships between their countries and no doubt will continue to do so. There is a lot to like about the friendship between the prince and the president. 

Photo credit: University of Liverpool press release

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