Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall embark on two day visit to NI

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The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall

By Jonathan McCambridge

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were told about the rich and varied history of Belfast at the beginning of a two-day visit to Northern Ireland.

The royal couple visited Belfast City Hall on Tuesday where they were welcomed by Lord Mayor Frank McCoubrey.

Upon arrival, the royal couple viewed a mural by Belfast artist John Like which was painted for the Festival of Britain in 1950 before viewing a copy of a John Conor painting which showed the State Opening of Stormont in 1921.

Charles then met and discussed the centenary of Northern Ireland with local historians.

The duchess, meanwhile, heard about Belfast’s ambition to become a Unesco City of Music and was introduced to the women’s steering group behind the bid.

Camilla, wearing an emerald green Rifle’s coat dress and matching face mask, designed by Fiona Claire, discussed issues around domestic violence with the women.

Before leaving, they met with council staff who had worked in the community in Northern Ireland throughout the pandemic.

In a speech to youth workers, the Prince of Wales said he was inspired by their “tireless work” to bring reconciliation.

“I cannot tell you how really inspiring it has been to hear of the tireless work being carried out by youth workers on all sides of the community, and I just wanted to take this opportunity, if I may, to pay special tribute to your dedication and commitment to the cause of peaceful co-existence,” he said.

“We must never underestimate the risk – and of course the cost – of holding to peaceful ways, and how much determination and courage is necessary.

“All of you whom I have met here today and many more of your colleagues in your communities have shown those qualities in the most challenging circumstances. We owe you a deep debt of gratitude and above all of admiration.

“Whenever I visit I never cease to be profoundly moved by the work that is being done to heal the pain of the past, to bring understanding and reconciliation in the present and to build hope for the future.

“All who love this very special part of the world can only wish you renewed strength of spirit and resolve as you take forward this work of such vital importance to these islands.”

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