Buckingham Palace has today released the programme for the forthcoming Irish State Visit. The programme confirms what the Irish President will be doing on his four day visit of the UK.
The Queen will host the President of Ireland, Mr Michael D Higgins and his wife at Windsor castle during from April 8 to April 11. This will be the first State Visit to the UK by any President of Ireland and follows The Queen’s historic State Visit to Ireland in 2011.
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One of the highlights of President Higgins visit will be on Tuesday April 8 when he will be given a ceremonial welcome at Windsor Castle. He will then be accompanied by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in a Stare Carriage Procession to Windsor Castle. Later on in the day, Mr Higgins will visit Westminster Palace where he will be greeted by the Speaker of the House of Commons and The Lord Speaker.
The following day, the President will have a private lunch with Prime Minister David Cameron at Number 10 Downing Street. He will also attend City Hall to look at a youth workshop event before attending a Banquet at Guildhall given by The Lord Mayor and the City of London Corporation, with The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester present.
On Thursday 10th April, The Queen will host a Northern Ireland themed reception at Windsor Castle. Later in the evening, Mr and Mrs Higgins will attend Ceiliúradh, an Irish cultural concert of music, spoken word and dance, at the Royal Albert Hall. They will be accompanied by Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
On the final day, the President will bid farewell to the Queen at Windsor Castle. He will then visit the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as the place William Shakespeare was born. At the end of the day, the President will depart the UK and will be bid farewell by The Lord Chamberlain on behalf of the Queen.
Mr Higgins has visited the UK on many occasions before however; these were not official state visits. Likewise, when the former President, Mary McAleese and her predecessor Mary Robinson met the royals, they were not deemed official state visits as well.