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Controversy over Prince Harry’s new Irish title

Just last month, the world watched as Prince Harry married Meghan Markle, who are now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. In Ireland, Prince Harry will now be known as Baron of Kilkeel, a title which has caused some upset.

The area of Kilkeel, once the capital city of the Celtic Irish Kingdom of Mourne, sits on the coast of County Down. Its main industry is fishing, supported by Northern Ireland’s largest fishing fleet. Kilkeel’s history dates back to the tribes of McMahon who came to form Cremorne. Colla Nais, King of Ireland from A.D. 323-326 ruled his people who were known as the Mughdoorna.  Eventually the British seized possession of these lands.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on a visit to Northern Ireland.  Photo Credit: NorthernIrelandOffice/Flickr.

With a large Unionist heritage, it was recorded in 2001 that five wards in and around Kilkeel represented a dedication to both Catholic and Protestant values. Kilkeel Central was recorded as 69% Protestant, while Kilkeel South was only 55% Catholic. Currently, demographics show Northern Ireland to be of a Catholic majority.

To some, Prince Harry’s claim to Kilkeel is an insult to the Irish, making his new title quite polarising. Considering Harry has not spent any time in Kilkeel, and is now given landlord rights over lands that have been there for centuries will most likely not sit well with some Irish Catholics.

Despite some taking insult to Prince Harry’s new title, many do not and are supportive. Democratic Unionist Party MP, Jeffrey Donaldson, sais on Twitter: “Thrilled that Prince Harry is to become Baron Kilkeel on his wedding day. The folk in my native Mourne will be over the moon. A truly historic day for Kilkeel.”

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