The Duke of Cambridge has urged the UK and Ireland to "work together" to ensure the relationship remains strong post Brexit. And he described "relationships between people" in the two countries as just as important as legal treaties. In his most direct comments on the UK’s departure from the EU to date, Prince William also highlighted the royal family’s commitment to strengthening the bond. He said: "The changing relationship between the UK and the EU will require us to work together, to ensure that the relationship between Ireland and the UK remains just as strong."
WATCH: Kate and Will Ireland Tour Day One - A meeting with the Taoiseach and the British Ambassador
The Prince continued: "Legal treaties are vital in underpinning the relationships between states. But relationships between people are equally, if not more essential – especially between the people of our two countries, whose lives, histories and futures are so deeply intertwined. I am confident that friendship, understanding and a shared vision for a peaceful and prosperous future will ensure that the unique and precious bond between our people is not broken. My family is determined to continue playing our part in protecting, preserving and strengthening that bond."
In a speech at a reception hosted by Ireland’s Tanaiste Simon Coveney at the Museum of Literature Ireland, William said the UK and Ireland should not be bound by the "many wrongs" of the past. The future King also referenced the historic visit to Ireland by his grandmother the Queen in 2011 – the first by a reigning British monarch for a century.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have enjoyed their first official visit to Ireland
He said: "Growing up, I remember seeing the Troubles that took place, which affected so many people across the UK and Ireland. This explains why one of the truly profound moments for Catherine and I took place yesterday when we laid a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance. It was a reminder of the complexity of our shared history, and as my grandmother said during her visit in 2011, 'our islands have experienced more than their fair share of heartache and turbulence.' But it was also a reminder of how far we have come. It is right that we continue to remember those who suffered as a consequence of our troubled past. And whilst many wrongs have been done, it is important that we are not bound by these."
The Duke also reflected on the royal couple’s first official visit to the country, telling guests: "Over the past two days, Catherine and I have seen for ourselves why Ireland is a country looked upon with such envy. As we stood on the cliffs at Howth and looked across the Irish Sea – a mere 50 miles from the British coastline – it was easy to see why so many people find the lure of this beautiful country so difficult to resist. And beyond the breathtaking landscapes, we have received such wonderful hospitality and friendship from all those we have met."
William toasted to "the President of Ireland and to the people of this wonderful country in thanks for the warmth of your welcome on what I hope will be the first of many visits for us." He then ended his speech in Gaelic, telling his hosts: "Go raibh mile maith agat go leir" ("Thank you very much"), winning praise for his efforts.
William and Kate, who wore a stunning vintage Oscar de la Renta dress, joined guests at the new landmark cultural institution in St Stephen’s Green after a busy day of engagements which saw them meet young people being supported by Ireland’s leading youth mental health charity Jigsaw in Dublin.
They donned aprons to make soup with children from the social justice charity Extern at Savannah House in County Kildare – after surprising locals by stopping to pick up groceries at a branch of Londis in the nearby village of Prosperous. And they visited Teagasc, Ireland’s Agriculture and Food Development Authority in County Meath before enjoying a romantic walk on the spectacular Howth Cliffs, strolling hand in hand as they looked out across the Irish Sea. The tour concludes in Galway on Thursday.
Make sure you never miss a ROYAL story! Sign up to our newsletter to get all of our celebrity, royal and lifestyle news delivered directly to your inbox.