King Charles and Queen Consort meet crowds in Northern Ireland during historic visit

The new monarch attended a memorial service for the Queen at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast after meeting Northern Ireland's senior political leaders at Hillsborough Castle.

belfast royal visit

News reporter @TomGillespie1

Tuesday 13 September 2022 16:12, UK

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belfast royal visit

King Charles and the Queen Consort shook hands and talked with members of the public as crowds gathered for their historic visit to Northern Ireland.

His Majesty later said the Queen "never ceased to pray for the best of times" for Northern Ireland in a short speech at Hillsborough Castle.

The monarch went on a brief walkabout in Hillsborough shortly after landing in Belfast for what is the first visit to the country by a British king in nearly 80 years.

The Queen is lying in state - watch our live stream as people pay their respects

King Charles has now visited 40 times but this is his first time as monarch.

His Majesty and his wife Camilla are now on their way to Belfast City Airport to fly to London where the monarch will receive his mother's coffin at Buckingham Palace.

Mourners view Queen's coffin after royal vigil led by King - latest updates

They ended their visit to Northern Ireland with a service of reflection for the Queen's life at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss, Irish President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Micheal Martin and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney were also at the memorial service.

King Charles and the Queen Consort met leaders from all the major faiths in Northern Ireland at the cathedral.

His Majesty and Camilla earlier met Northern Ireland's political leaders, including the vice president of Sinn Fein, at Hillsborough Castle.

belfast royal visit

Hundreds of people gathered in Royal Hillsborough ahead of the King's arrival, with many lining the village's Main Street near the castle.

Spectators were driven into the village on shuttle buses amid a massive security operation.

The King and Queen Consort held a private audience with the new Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris shortly after arriving at the castle.

They then received a message of condolence on behalf of the country's people from the speaker of Stormont Assembly Alex Maskey at a reception at the castle.

belfast royal visit

King Charles pledged to "seek the welfare" of all Northern Ireland's people and spoke of his mother and the peace process in his reply.

He said: "In the years since she began her long life of public service, my mother saw Northern Ireland pass through momentous and historic changes.

"Through all those years, she never ceased to pray for the best of times for this place and for its people, whose stories she knew, whose sorrows our family had felt, and for whom she had a great affection and regard.

"My mother felt deeply, I know, the significance of the role she herself played in bringing together those whom history had separated, and in extending a hand to make possible the healing of long-held hurts."

Read more: People against monarchy 'have right to protest', police say Where you will be able to see Queen's coffin as it is taken from Edinburgh to London Which shops will be open and which will be closed on the day of the Queen's funeral?

The royal couple later met with political leaders including Sinn Fein's vice president Michelle O'Neill.

The meeting highlights the rapid evolution of Irish republican politics over the last decade.

Back in 2011, Sinn Fein was widely criticised for boycotting the Queen's state visit to Ireland. It was the first state visit by a British monarch since Ireland won independence from Britain a century ago.

belfast royal visit

Members of the public were invited to line the streets between the castle and the cathedral before King Charles and Camilla travelled along Main Street and Lisburn Street in Hillsborough, before heading to Belfast along Wellington Place, Donegall Square North, Chichester Street and Victoria Street.

The King and Queen Consort will visit Writers' Square in Belfast after the memorial service.

The Northern Ireland visit began when the royal couple were greeted by a group of dignitaries at Belfast City Airport earlier this afternoon.

belfast royal visit

Lord Lieutenant of Belfast Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle and Belfast City Airport chief executive Matthew Hall were present as the King and Queen Consort left their plane just after noon.

Ella Smith and Lucas Watt, both 10, of Forge Integrated Primary School in Belfast, presented the King with a gift of truffles with an image of the Giant's Causeway on the tin, while Camilla was given a small posy of flowers taken from the gardens of Hillsborough Castle.

King Charles asked the two children: "Are you enjoying your day off school?"

The Queen's coffin will make a poignant journey to Buckingham palace from St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Members of the public are already queueing for the Queen's lying in state at Westminster Hall in London, which opens on Wednesday, and thousands are still placing flowers and tributes in Green Park.

QUEEN DIES 9PM SPECIAL PROMO_100922-VER2

Related Topics

Queen’s visits to Northern Ireland as princess and monarch

  • Northern Ireland
  • Friday 9 September 2022 at 8:20pm

belfast royal visit

Paul Clark reflects on the Queen's many visits to Northern Ireland.

The Queen visited Northern Ireland on 25 occasions, both as monarch and princess.

1. 17th July 1945

Her first visit came when she was just 19 years old as part of a ‘Victory Tour’ of the UK after World War Two, with her parents King George VI and her mother Queen Elizabeth.

Engagements included meeting with veterans outside Stormont, a garden party with war workers in Botanic Gardens and meeting American military personnel in Londonderry.

2. 18th - 21st March 1946

Princess Elizabeth took her first solo trip outside of Great Britain in 1946, visiting Northern Ireland.

She visited Harland & Wolff shipyard to launch HMS Eagle, with schoolchildren given the day off to line the streets of Belfast.

She also made stop offs in Dungannon, Armagh, Enniskillen and Comber.

3. 23rd - 28th May 1949

Princess Elizabeth took her first trip to Northern Ireland with the Duke of Edinburgh in 1949.

During this trip, they were both conferred the Freedom of Belfast.

They also visited the then Royal Ulster Agricultural Show in the Balmoral Showground - more commonly known now as the Balmoral Show.

4. 1st - 3rd July 1953

Queen Elizabeth II first came to Northern Ireland as monarch in 1953, just a month after her coronation.

A public holiday was declared by the Governor of Northern Ireland, Lord Wakehurst, so that as many people as possible could see the Queen.

Along with taking a grand railway tour to the north west, the Queen also visited Belfast.

5. 17th August 1954

In her second visit to Northern Ireland as monarch, the Queen launched a new liner, the Southern Cross at Harland & Wolff Shipyard.

It was one of the most luxurious ocean liners of the time.

Her visit was only a short one, with political tensions growing across Northern Ireland.

6. 8th - 9th August 1961

It would be another seven years before the Queen visited Northern Ireland, this time accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

The family arrived in Carrickfergus on the Royal Yacht Britannia.

They also visited Bangor where the Queen watched a regatta from the Royal Ulster Yacht Club.

7. 4th - 6th July 1966

On her visit in 1966, the monarch opened the Queen Elizabeth II bridge across the River Lagan in Belfast.

However, her visit grabbed the headlines for the wrong reasons.

A brick was dropped from a high building onto the bonnet of the royal car during its cavalcade through Belfast city centre.

8. 10th - 11th June 1977

It wasn’t until 1977 that the Queen next visited Northern Ireland for her Silver Jubilee.

For most of the trip, and with the Troubles raging, the Queen remained in Belfast Harbour on the Royal Yacht being taken by helicopter to various visits.

During the visit there were a number of anti-royal demonstrations in nationalist areas with slogans such as ‘Queen of Death’ and ‘Stuff the Jubilee’ being commonplace.

9. 29th June 1991

For the entirety of the 1980s the Queen did not visit Northern Ireland with the ongoing political situation.

Her June 1991 visit was tightly controlled with a strict news blackout enforced until her arrival.

She visited the Army’s Thiepval headquarters and she also hosted a garden party at Hillsborough Castle for victims of the Troubles.

10. 11th June 1993

The Queen’s one-day visit in 1993 came just weeks after the monarch met Irish President Mary Robinson in Buckingham Palace. That was the first official contact between the two respective heads of state.

The Queen was received in Northern Ireland by the then Secretary of State Sir Patrick Mayhew.

During her short one-day visit she attended a lunch and garden party at Hillsborough Castle.

11. 9th March 1995

The Queen’s visit to Northern Ireland in 1995 with the Duke of Edinburgh was highly symbolic. It was the first since the IRA Ceasefire in the previous year.

It was also the Queen’s first ever meeting with the Roman Catholic Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Cahal Daly, as well as his Anglican counterpart, Archbishop Robin Eames.

The Queen also visited Belfast, meeting politicians including the DUP MP Peter Robinson who would later become First Minister of Northern Ireland.

12. 11th June 1997

This was the Queen’s final visit to Northern Ireland before the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998.

During this one-day visit, she travelled to Belfast and Dungannon, where she met Catholic and Protestant school children.

She also held a Garden Party in Hillsborough Castle for around 2,000 people.

13. 12th April 2000

In her first visit to Northern Ireland since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, the Queen presented the RUC with the highest award of bravery, the George Cross.

During the ceremony at Hillsborough Castle the Queen praised the "outstanding contribution" made by the RUC to peace in Northern Ireland.

However, some republicans were critical of the event arguing that many had suffered at the hands of the RUC.

14. 15th November 2001

During the Queen’s visit, she met with the then First and deputy First Ministers, David Trimble and Mark Durkan.

She also had her first engagement in Derry since 1953, visiting the Maydown Ebrington Centre.

She also made visits to Banbridge, Hillsborough and Lisburn.

15. 13th - 15th May 2002

The Queen came to Northern Ireland in 2002 as part of celebrations for her Golden Jubilee.

During the visit, she spoke at Stormont telling politicians: “You now have a better future for Northern Ireland in your grasp.”

In her three-day tour, she also visited Omagh to the bombing of the town in 1998 which killed 29 people.

She also conferred city status on Lisburn and Newry.

16. 26th February 2003

In 2003, the Queen officially opened the £30million Laganside Court complex in Belfast.

She also attended an engagement at the £45m Halifax Bank of Scotland call centre building, as part of the regeneration of the city’s Waterfront area.

Other engagements included with charities including Help the Aged and Action Cancer.

17. 7th - 8th December 2005

The Queen’s visit in 2005 will be remembered for the meeting between the monarch and Irish President Mary McAleese.

It was the first time any such meeting had taken place on the island of Ireland.

The Queen met a mother and toddler group in Hillsborough, and also visited the Belfast Central Mission.

18. 6th October 2006

Prince Andrew, Duke of York joined the Queen on her visit to Northern Ireland in 2006.

Whilst here, she awarded The Royal Irish Regiment the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross in recognition of the bravery, sacrifice and service of the Home Service battalions of The Royal Irish Regiment and their forebears, The Ulster Defence Regiment.

In her speech to the regiment she said: “Your contribution to peace and stability within Northern Ireland has been unique.”

19. 1st June 2007

The Queen returned to Coleraine in her first visit to the town since 1977.

While in Coleraine, she attended a garden party at the Ulster University campus, hosted by then Secretary of State Peter Hain.

The event was attended by numerous organisations from the community and voluntary sector.

20. 18th - 20th March 2008

In 2008, the Queen held her annual Maundy Thursday service at St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh.

It was the first time in the Queen’s reign that it had been held outside England and Wales.

On this three-day visit, she also met members of the Territorial Army and also with Irish President Mary McAleese at Queen’s University Belfast.

21. 6th to 8th May 2009

On her royal visit in 2009, the Queen again travelled to Derry, this time for an engagement at Lisneal College.

The Queen was in North Down to visit the Police Rehabilitation and Retraining Trust in Holywood and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in Bangor.

The three-day tour concluded with a visit to the FE McWilliam Art Gallery near Banbridge.

22. 21st - 22nd October 2010

The Queen visited UTV’s studios in Havelock House on the Ormeau Road to mark the broadcaster’s launch of high definition television. A first for the island of Ireland.

The Queen also met around 180 guests at a reception which celebrated 150 years of Cadet Forces.

A reception was also held at Hillsborough Castle for the charity Children in Action, which the Queen was a patron of.

23. 26th - 27th June 2012

During the two-day trip, marking her Diamond Jubilee, the Queen visited Enniskillen - a trip that will be remembered for her visit to both the Church of Ireland and the Catholic cathedrals in the town.

In fact, her visit to St Michael’s marked the first time the Queen had set foot in a Catholic Church on the island of Ireland.

The following day saw an even more historic moment - in a reception at Belfast’s Lyric Theatre, the Queen shook hands with the then Sinn Féin deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness.

24. 23rd - 25th June 2014

The Queen visited the set of HBO TV series Game of Thrones in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter.

She also had various engagements in Belfast City Centre including a lunch at City Hall and a tour around St George’s Market.

She also visited Crumlin Road Gaol in north Belfast, accompanied by the First and deputy First Ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuiness - both of whom were detained in the jail during the Troubles.

25. 27th - 28th June 2016

In her final and most recent visit to Northern Ireland, the Queen paid a trip to the Giant’s Causeway on the North Coast.

She also visited the nearby Bushmills where she unveiled a statue to the Victoria Cross recipient Robert Quigg.

The Queen also took a steam train through Coleraine and Bellarena - a trip that harked back to her coronation tour of 1953.

The remarkable life of the Queen remembered in our latest episode of What You Need To Know

Prince William and Princess Kate Middleton arrive in Northern Ireland - recap of Royal visit

Prince William and Princess Kate also visited Carrickfergus

  • Updated 18:45, 6 OCT 2022

belfast royal visit

The Prince and Princess of Wales arrived in Northern Ireland on Thursday morning for a Royal visit.

They were here on Thursday, October 6, for engagements with cross-community organisations.

They began with a visit to suicide prevention charity PIPS in North Belfast .

Read more: The Queen: Details on how to visit Queen Elizabeth's grave after the funeral

Along with others, Lord Mayor Tina Black and Sinn Fein MP John Finucane welcomed the Royal couple.

12-year-old Elyse Quinn, the daughter of the charity's executive director Renee Quinn, presented Kate with a bouquet of flowers.

William and Kate spoke with staff about their work helping people at risk of suicide and self-harm.

The charity also arranged for them to take part in an art therapy session - painting pumpkins - with some vulnerable children who have been supported by PIPS.

They also visited Trademarket.

Check out our below for a recap of the Royal visit...

  • Prince William arrives at Carrickfergus Castle 14:53
  • Last stop during NI visit is Carrickfergus 14:24
  • Their Royal Highnesses to visit Trademarket 13:10

All ages coming out to meet the Royals

belfast royal visit

Princess of Wales challenged by woman who suggested Kate was not in her own country

The exchange unfolded when Kate and William were undertaking an impromptu meet and greet with people in north Belfast.

While shaking hands with the princess, the woman said: “Nice to meet you but it would be better if it was when you were in your own country.”

The woman, who appeared to be videoing the exchange on a mobile phone, added: “Ireland belongs to the Irish.”

Prince William gives local brand the thumbs up

belfast royal visit

Final hellos before the Royal couple leave

Mother and baby meet Princess Kate before the Royals get ready to leave pic.twitter.com/3vBZyK32De — Belfast Live (@BelfastLive) October 6, 2022

Prince William gives the crowds a big wave

Big waves for Carrickfergus from Prince William pic.twitter.com/nZmRxRn3BA — Belfast Live (@BelfastLive) October 6, 2022

Exciting time for the children

Pupils had been learning a lot about the Royals in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s death

A local primary school teacher told Belfast Live that the pupils had been learning a lot about the Royals in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s death so this visit is very exciting for the children pic.twitter.com/kxC520Sg69 — Belfast Live (@BelfastLive) October 6, 2022

Princess of Wales challenged by member of public

When meeting members of the public on her visit to Northern Ireland, the Princess of Wales was challenged by a woman who suggested Kate was not in her own country.

While shaking hands with the princess, the woman said: "Nice to meet you but it would be better if it was when you were in your own country."

The woman, who appeared to be videoing the exchange on a mobile phone, added: "Ireland belongs to the Irish."

FB live of them meeting crowds

You can check out our FB live of the couple meeting crowds in Carrickfergus. Click here to visit our FB page .

William and Kate meet the crowds in Carrickfergus

Hundreds of people are lining the Marine Highway in Carrickfergus as the Prince and Princess of Wales continue their visit to the Co Antrim town.

William and Kate are taking part in a walkabout along the seafront to meet local people.

They exchanged handshakes and fist-bumps with local schoolchildren who had waited for hours to catch a glimpse of the royal couple.

Earlier they visited a local charity and were then greeted by the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Noel Williams.

The late Queen gave William and Kate the titles Baron and Baroness Carrickfergus on the morning of their wedding in 2011.

Meeting one of her youngest fans at Trademarket

belfast royal visit

The Princess of Wales chats to the crowds at Trademarket

belfast royal visit

Photos from their Trademarket visit

belfast royal visit

Excited young people can't wait to meet the Royal couple

Pupils from Victoria PS are just some of those in the crowd at Carrickfergus.

An excited bunch down from Victoria Primary School all hoping to see Prince William and Princess Kate pic.twitter.com/HjwuaQRNvN — Belfast Live (@BelfastLive) October 6, 2022

Puppy love at Trademarket

belfast royal visit

Lots of people have come out to catch a glimpse of the couple

Big crowds gathered on the banks of Carrickfergus Castle pic.twitter.com/Q9UtJ4BBvs — Belfast Live (@BelfastLive) October 6, 2022

The couple are now in Carrick

The Prince and Princess of Wales have arrived in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, where they are visiting a youth charity. The royal couple were greeted by cheering crowds who had lined the streets.

William and Kate are learning about the work of Carrick Connect, which offers support services to local young people experiencing social or emotional difficulties.

The royal couple are being told about some of the projects the organisation is currently implementing in the community, and meeting with their team of mentors and some of the young people who benefit from the projects.

How they got on at Trademarket

The Prince and Princess of Wales took up position on the other side of the bar for a spirited cocktail-making race at the outdoor market in Belfast city centre.

The next-in-line-to-the-throne and his wife laughed during the duel to be the quickest to make the potent drink, before William was declared the winner.

The prince and princess visited Trademarket on the second stop of the day during a visit to Northern Ireland.

They met with local entrepreneur, Will Neill, and heard about his aim to showcase new businesses while also increasing footfall in a less visited area of the city centre.

They also met with representatives from Kainos, a Belfast-based software company who came on board and provided the site for the market at a peppercorn rent, and heard about the measures that have been put in place to ensure the site is both ethically and environmentally sustainable, including the removal of single use plastics and a commitment to paying staff a real living wage.

Prince William and Princess Kate at Trademarket

belfast royal visit

Prince William arrives at Carrickfergus Castle

belfast royal visit

Excitement outside Carrickfergus Castle

Excited school children in carrickfergus, comment from kainos on their meeting with the prince and princess of wales.

Colette Kidd, Chief People Officer at Kainos, said: “It was an honour to meet The Prince and Princess of Wales during their trip to Belfast today, and we were delighted to spend time with them alongside William Neill and the vendors at Trademarket.

"They were particularly interested in hearing about the work we do through the Kainos Academy, which includes coding camps, our Earn as you Learn apprenticeship scheme, and outreach activities designed to support young people and underrepresented groups to pursue careers in technology. I’m so pleased that some colleagues who joined us through the Academy got to share their own stories today.

"We spoke about our future headquarters on the Dublin Road too and our aspirations to build an incredible, modern and sustainable working environment for our people. It really has been a special day and we’re so grateful to The Prince and Princess of Wales for taking the time to meet with us.”

Danielle Keenan, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Kainos, said: “At Kainos we are committed to nurturing talent, developing skills and empowering exceptional people to do great things. As part of our social outreach, we work closely with many organisations to help increase technology skills in our local communities and schools. It was such an honour to spend some time with The Prince and Princess of Wales talking about the work we do in this area and introducing them to some of the people who support our outreach activities.”

Last stop during NI visit is Carrickfergus

Carrick Connect is a youth charity based in Carrickfergus which offers support services to local young people experiencing social or emotional difficulties. Carrick Connect works closely with the young people it supports to help them remain on the right track and feel empowered to make positive life choices.

During their visit, The Prince and Princess will learn about some of the projects which Carrick Connect are currently implementing in the community, including a mentoring service created to help young people develop strategies for coping with life. Their Royal Highnesses will meet with the charity’s team of mentors and some of the young people they support to hear more about the positive impact that the mentoring service is having on their lives and future plans.

In June, the organisation launched its new ‘Feel Good Hub’ – a project designed, organised and driven by young people aged 18-25 who are supported by Carrick Connect. The Prince and Princess will join some of the young people behind the Hub taking part in an activity workshop to discuss what they have learnt from the project so far.

Following their visit to Carrick Connect, Their Royal Highnesses will have the opportunity to meet members of the local community along the town’s seafront.

The Prince and Princess of Wales were given the titles of Baron and Baroness Carrickfergus by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth upon their marriage in 2011.

Crowds waiting on the Royal couple in Carrickfergus

Princess catherine with flowers from a well-wisher.

belfast royal visit

'Wonderful to be back in NI'

Princess catherine speaks with a young well-wisher.

belfast royal visit

Prince William with volunteers

belfast royal visit

Princess of Wales with PIPS volunteers

belfast royal visit

Prince William chatting to John Finucane MP

belfast royal visit

  • North Belfast
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belfast royal visit

Princess Elizabeth: The future Queen’s first visit to Northern Ireland

Remembering Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In July 1945, 18-year-old Princess Elizabeth Windsor first visited Northern Ireland landing at Long Kesh Airfield.

On 8th September 2022, the world learned of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest serving monarch of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth realms. She reigned for 70 years, remaining a popular figurehead and a much-loved leader of the nation.

There are many stories of Her Majesty’s time during the Second World War. As a teenager, she visited survivors of the Blitz in London’s east end, and served as a Second Subaltern in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. A lesser known tale from the time is that of her first visit to Northern Ireland where she arrived on 17th July 1945.

The war in Europe was over although many in Ulster had family and friends still serving in the Pacific. Princess Elizabeth, on her first visit to Northern Ireland, accompanied their Majesties on the Ulster stage of the Victory Tour. Crowds gathered all along processional routes, flags and buntings flew from buildings, and the mood was jubilant.

First flight of the future Queen

Long Kesh Airfield, Co. Down

At 1639hrs on 17th July 1945, a pair of Douglas Dakota planes of R.A.F. Transport Command touched down at Long Kesh Airfield, Co. Down. Overhead swooped an escort of two squadrons of Mustang fighters piloted by Poles, and Warwick Aircraft of the Air Sea Rescue Service. On board the Dakotas were the King and Queen, accompanied by Princess Elizabeth. This marked the first occasion a sovereign arrived in Northern Ireland by air and was the first flight for the teenage heir to the throne. It was an exciting time for the prices who spent some time with her father the King in the pilot’s cabin. Newspaper reports suggest she was “thrilled and delighted” by her first aerial experience – a flight of 2 hours and 1 minute from R.A.F. Northolt, Middlesex, England.

Upon arrival at Long Kesh, His Grace the Governor, the Duke of Abercorn received the royal party. Alongside the Governor was the Marquess of Londonderry (His Majesty’s Lieutenant for Co. Down), and Colonel G.J. Brownlow (High Sheriff of Co. Down).

Her Majesty the Queen and 18-year-old Princess Elizabeth smile after landing at Long Kesh Airfield, Co. Antrim. Photo taken on 17th July 1945.

A crowd of civilian spectators fell into a hush as the doors of one Dakota opened. Moments later, the King stepped down from the plane in his Royal Air Force uniform to a rousing cheer. The Queen followed wearing a two-piece suit of dove-grey and a matching hat with a royal blue bow. The applause and cheering continued as Princess Elizabeth stepped onto the Long Kesh aerodrome in the khaki uniform of the A.T.S.

Her Majesty the Queen chats with W.A.A.F. Station Officer Conan-Doyle while Princess Elizabeth looks on with Air Commodore A.R. Churchman at Long Kesh Airfield, Co. Antrim. Photo taken on 17th July 1945.

The band of No. 1136 (Belfast Central) Squadron of the Air Training Corps struck up the national anthem. A Royal Air Force guard of honour gave the royal salute as the royal standard raised over the aerodrome station. His Majesty inspected the guard of honour before the royal visitors met with the gathered dignitaries.

  • Sir Basil Brooke (Prime Minister of Northern Ireland)
  • Mr. Edmond Warnock K.C. (Minister of Home Affairs)
  • Air Commodore A.R. Churchman (Air Officer Commanding Northern Ireland)
  • Rear Admiral R.H.L. Bevan (Flag Officer in Charge Northern Ireland)
  • Captain the Earl of Kilmorey
  • Major General G.C. Bucknall (General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland)
  • Major General Paret (Belgian Army in Northern Ireland)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Ralph A. McGinn (United States Forces in Northern Ireland)
  • Major Davies (Deputy Inspector General Royal Ulster Constabulary)
  • Mr. Robert Gransden (Secretary of the Cabinet)
  • Squadron Officer Conan Doyle (W.A.A.F. Station Officer)
  • Commander Oscar Henderson (Private Secretary to the Governor)
  • Captain C.A.R. Shillington
  • Captain H. de C. Martelli

The royal party included:

  • Countess Spencer (Lady of the Bedcamber to the Queen)
  • Sir Eric Mieville (Assistant Private Secretary to the King)
  • Captain Sir Harold Campbell R.N. (Groom of the Robes)
  • Wing Commander Peter Townsend R.A.F.
The Princess, combining regal dignity and informal friendliness most happily, showed much of the Queen’s animation and she smiled delightedly as she caught sight of the Queen standing with her hand raised to shade her eyes as she looked up at a six-foot-three Belgian officer who was presented. The Princess’ eyes were raised in admiration as the escorting Mustangs roared overhead in close formation as they departed for Aldergrove. Belfast News-Letter

Lambeg drummers beat a welcome to the Royals

Government House, Hillsborough, Co. Down

The royal visitors spent the rest of the day on 17th July 1945 at Government House in Hillsborough, Co. Down. On the short journey from the Long Kesh airfield, crowds lined the roads to welcome the guests. After dining with the Governor and the Duchess of Abercorn, the thundering of Lambeg drums shattered the silence of the Northern Irish village. The royal visitors and hosts walked to the courtyard to meet with the drummers, listen to the music, and speak to those involved. They spent around 15 minutes in conversation before retiring for the evening in advance of a busy two-day visit.

The Victory Tour Begins

On 18th July 1945, the King, Queen, and Princess Elizabeth undertook a full day of engagements in Belfast. This marked the official beginning of the Victory Tour in Northern Ireland. At every stop, crowds gathered amidst scenes of jubilant celebration. Although the royal party arrived a day early by plane, they began the day at Musgrave Channel as planned when the intention was to travel by sea. Through scattered showers, military personnel and civilians gathered to take part in the historic day.

Newspaper reports at the time spoke particularly fondly of Princess Elizabeth during the visit.

The Princess won all hearts. She seemed to be tireless and to enjoy every minute of the tour. In addition to accompanying the King and Queen to the main functions of the day, she attended an informal reception of members of the Women’s Services at Queen’s University and inspected youth organisations at Lisburn. Belfast News-Letter on 19th July 1945

Musgrave Channel, Belfast

At Musgrave Channel, thousands of shipyard workers of Messrs. Harland and Wolff Ltd. assembled. They waved flat caps and gave hearty cheers from precarious positions on cranes, gantries, and vessels under construction. The noise reached a crescendo as the royal party climbed from their car. A guard of honour from the Royal Navy gave the royal salute as the band of the Royal Ulster Constabulary played the national anthem.

His Majesty sported the uniform of an Admiral of the Fleet while the Queen wore a two-piece moonlight blue suit. Princess Elizabeth opted for civilian dress for the day’s engagements in a shade of dove grey.

Accompanied by His Grace the Governor and the Duchess of Abercorn, the royal party met with:

  • Mr. Edmond Warnock (Minister for Home Affairs)
  • Sir Thomas Dixon (His Majesty’s Lieutenant for Belfast)
  • Sir Crawford McCullagh (Lord Mayor of Belfast)
  • Councillor R.B. Alexander (High Sheriff of Belfast)
  • Mr. John Dunlop (Town Clerk)
  • Mr. E.R.H. May D.S.O. (Lord Mayor’s Secretary)

The Harbour Board presented:

  • Sir Ernest Herdman (Chairman)
  • Sir Milne Barbour
  • Mr. J. McCaughey
  • Mr. Berkley
  • Mr. James Alexander (Assistant General Manager and Secretary)

Representatives of Messrs. Harland and Wolff Ltd. included:

  • Sir Frederick Rebbeck (Managing Director)
  • Mr. J. Morrison O.B.E.
  • Mr. A. Blair
  • Mr. V. Spark
  • Mr. W. Strachan
  • Captain A.T. Marshall (Secretary)

Princess Elizabeth meets with members of the women's services at Queen's University, Belfast. Photo taken on 18th July 1945.

Over the next few days, we will bring you more updates on this historic visit, looking back at the first visit to Northern Ireland of a young woman who would one-day be Queen.

British Pathé Footage

'Royal Visit To Ulster (1945)': On 18th-19th July 1945, their Majesties the King and Queen, and Princess Elizabeth visited Northern Ireland as part of a United Kingdom-wide "Victory Tour".

  • Belfast News-Letter , 18th July 1945, Available at: [https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000038/19450718/086/0004], Accessed 8th September 2022." target="_blank" rel="noopener"> Staff Writer (1945) 'The Royal Visit', Belfast News-Letter , 18th July 1945, Available at: [https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000038/19450718/086/0004], Accessed 8th September 2022.
  • Belfast News-Letter , 18th July 1945, Available at: [https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000038/19450718/108/0005], Accessed 8th September 2022." target="_blank" rel="noopener"> Staff Writer (1945) 'Arrival of the Royal Visitors', Belfast News-Letter , 18th July 1945, Available at: [https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000038/19450718/108/0005], Accessed 8th September 2022.
  • Belfast News-Letter , 19th July 1945, Available at: [https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000038/19450719/134/0005], Accessed 8th September 2022." target="_blank" rel="noopener"> Staff Writer (1945) 'Belfast's Royal Victory Visit', Belfast News-Letter , 19th July 1945, Available at: [https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000038/19450719/134/0005], Accessed 8th September 2022.

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Platinum Jubilee: The Queen and Northern Ireland through the years

  • Published 3 June 2022

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Platinum Jubilee: The Queen in Northern Ireland through the years

The Queen has made 25 visits to Northern Ireland, including three before she ascended to the throne.

She was 19 years old when, as Princess Elizabeth, she visited Stormont with her father, King George VI, and her mother Queen Elizabeth.

The royal visit in 1945 also included trips to Belfast City Hall, Queen's University and Botanic Gardens.

At the time, Northern Ireland, like the rest of the United Kingdom, was recovering from World War Two.

Further visits by the young princess followed in 1946 and 1949.

Her father died in 1952 and after an extended period of mourning, Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in June 1953 and subsequently went on a coronation tour.

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She went to Hillsborough Castle, accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.

The royal couple were greeted by two Lambeg drummers. One of the drums was preserved and played again outside the castle last year as a tribute to Prince Philip on the day of his funeral .

With Belfast renowned for its shipbuilding, the Queen was asked to launch the passenger liner Southern Cross at Harland and Wolff shipyard in August 1954.

The royal couple did not visit Northern Ireland again until the summer of 1961, when they arrived at Carrickfergus on the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Continuing the travel theme, the Queen officially opened a Belfast bridge named in her honour in July 1966.

Queen at bridge

The Queen Elizabeth II bridge crosses the River Lagan and is now one of the busiest routes in and out of the city.

During the trip, a brick was thrown at the royal couple's car as it was driven through the city centre. It hit the bonnet of the vehicle but neither the Queen or the duke was injured.

It was another 11 years before they returned to Belfast.

The visit in 1977 was part of the Queen's Silver Jubilee tour. Once again, the royal couple travelled in the royal yacht and large crowds lined the County Down coast to watch the vessel sail up Belfast Lough.

The Royal Yacht Britannia

The royal tour also included the north Antrim coast and a visit to the new University of Ulster in Coleraine.

By this time, the Troubles were raging in Northern Ireland and security around the royal visit was stepped up. There were republican protests, and the words 'stuff the jubilee' were painted on some walls.

The Queen did not visit at all during the 1980s. When she returned in 1991, it was a relatively short visit, to honour the Ulster Defence Regiment at a ceremony at Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn.

Graffiti in Northern Ireland saying 'stuff the jubilee'

Gradually, the security situation improved as the peace process developed and the number of royal visits increased.

The Queen hosted a number of garden parties at Hillsborough Castle.

The signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 led to power-sharing at Stormont, the creation of new political structures and a new era in Anglo-Irish relations.

It also meant major changes to policing with the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) becoming the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

In April 2000, the Queen presented the RUC with the highest award for bravery, the George Cross.

Queen and RUC

During that decade, she visited Northern Ireland on nine different occasions. At the same time, diplomatic and personal relations were developed with the then Irish head of state, President Mary McAleese.

This built on a meeting in 1993 at Buckingham Palace with Mrs McAleese's predecessor as president, Mary Robinson. It was the first meeting between the British and Irish heads of state.

Delicate work in the background culminated in an historic visit by the Queen to Dublin in 2011, the first by a British monarch since the creation of the Irish Republic.

It was a milestone in Anglo-Irish relations and rather than being simply a short, symbolic visit, the Queen stayed for four days.

Queen in Dublin

In a speech at Dublin Castle , she began in Irish saying: "A Uachtaráin agus a chairde (President and friends)."

  • The Queen's speech at Dublin Castle

Another significant moment came the following year when the Queen and Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness shook hands .

He was a former leading member of the IRA. The Queen's cousin, Lord Mountbatten, was killed by the IRA in 1979 .

For both the Queen and Martin McGuinness, the encounter was a step outside their comfort zone. Some of their supporters may not have welcomed the handshake.

Queen and McGuinness

Looking back at the Queen's role in the peace process and reconciliation, a retired civil servant once said: "Her Majesty does not just name bridges, she builds them."

In 2012, on a visit to Enniskillen, she attended a service in a Protestant place of worship and then walked across the road to a Catholic church.

The walk between St Macartin's Cathedral and St Michael's Catholic church was cheered by crowds on both sides of the street.

Since that visit 10 years ago, the Queen has visited Northern Ireland three times. She had to cancel a visit last year for health reasons .

She had been due to attend an inter-denominational church service in Armagh marking 100 years since the establishment of Northern Ireland, and the partition of Ireland in 1921.

Now in her 97th year, the Queen has got to know Northern Ireland well over the past eight decades.

After the cancellation of her visit in October, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: "The Queen sends her warmest good wishes to the people of Northern Ireland and looks forward to visiting in the future."

Related Topics

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  • Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
  • Queen Elizabeth II

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  • Published 19 May 2011

27 Photos of Prince Charles, Prince Harry, and More Royal Family Members Visiting Northern Ireland

For decades, royals have thoroughly enjoyed their trips to the province.

royal family in northern ireland

Prince William and Kate Middleton practice their soccer moves during a visit the National Stadium in Belfast, home of the Irish Football Association.

Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit Northern Ireland - Day One

Kate receives multiple bouquets from a crowd gathered to greet her and William outside the National Stadium.

Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Visit Northern Ireland

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry get a taste of Northern Ireland's history during a visit the Crown Liquor Saloon, a former Victorian gin palace owned by the National Trust.

Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Visit Northern Ireland

Harry and Meghan smile at the crowd after leaving the Crown Liquor Saloon.

Prince Harry in Northern Ireland

Prince Harry meets Emma Mason and her seven-month-old son Henry in St Anne's Square, Belfast.

Prince William Visits Belfast

Prince William dedicates a new lifeboat, called the "Ray of Hope" by pouring a measure of whiskey onto it.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Attend The Secretary Of State For Northern Ireland's Garden Party

Kate Middleton attends the Secretary of State's annual garden party at Hillsborough Castle in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

BRITAIN-NIRELAND-ROYALS-VISIT

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth sample the local fare during a visit to St George's indoor market.

William and Kate visit Northern Ireland

Kate Middleton flips a pancake with Ellie Tang, 6, at a display put on by the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children.

Britain's Prince William (L) and his fia

Prince William and his then-fiancee Kate Middleton, take part in a demonstration by farming students at Greenmount Agricultural College.

Britain's Prince Charles (2ndL) smiles a...

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince Charles chuckle as a horse nibbles at Charles's hand.

ULSTER Prince 3

Prince Charles meets local farmers and their animals at the World Ploughing Contest at Ballykelly, in Derry, Northern Ireland.

The Princess Royal ceremony on St Patricks day

On St. Patrick's Day, Princess Anne presents a shamrock to the Irish Guards, including their canine mascot.

Wessexes visit Ulster/ Archery

Prince Edward and his wife, the Countess of Wessex, try their hand at archery at Barnetts Park in Belfast.

prince charles northern ireland

Prince Charles sits on the stones in the Giant's Wishing Chair at the Giant's Causeway, holding a Irish blackthorn stick. He later followed the site's tradition by making a secret wish.

Diana Laughing

Princess Diana laughs with clergymen in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Diana Blowing Out Candles

Princess Diana helps a child blow out the candles on a birthday cake, celebrating the fourth anniversary of a child care unit in Belfast.

Diana, Princess of Wales - Ulster

Diana, Princess of Wales, greets local fans during her surprise visit to Ulster, Northern Ireland. It was her first to the Province.

British Royalty - The Silver Jubilee - Prince Andrew - Coleraine - 1977

Prince Andrew samples a piece of Ulster bread, a type of soda bread. Andrew joined Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on the second day of their Silver Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland.

Royalty - Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee - Northern Ireland

The Queen and Prince Philip wave to the cheering crowds from a window in Hillsborough Castle during their Silver Jubilee visit to Ulster.

Headshot of Chloe Foussianes

Chloe is a News Writer for Townandcountrymag.com , where she covers royal news, from the latest additions to Meghan Markle’s staff to Queen Elizabeth’s monochrome fashions ; she also writes about culture, often dissecting TV shows like The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and Killing Eve .

preview for Society Section Curated

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The Royal Belfast Golf Club

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Royal Belfast Golf Club was founded in November 1881 making it Ireland’s oldest golf club.

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  • Station Road

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Course open 12 months

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The Queen's delight at many visits to Northern Ireland and the Republic

  • Published 9 September 2022

A smiling Queen greets guests during a garden party in Coleraine, Northern Ireland in June 2007 during an one-day visit to Northern Ireland

The Queen played a part in Northern Ireland's peace process with her words and her actions.

She visited Belfast more than 20 times but it was perhaps her visit to Dublin in 2011 that was the most politically and historically significant.

She was the first British monarch to visit the city for more than 100 years.

The Queen was also the first to set foot in the Republic of Ireland since it gained independence, following the Anglo-Irish war.

She used the ground-breaking four-day trip to try to heal the wounds of the past.

Irish President Mary McAleese and Queen Elizabeth II lay a wreath at Dublin Memorial Garden in May 2011

This was epitomised by her address to a state banquet in Dublin when she began by speaking in Irish.

The then Irish president Mary McAleese looked stunned, and exclaimed: "Wow".

It was seen as a personal way of making the political point that after many years of hostility, Ireland and Britain were now friends.

The Queen also laid a wreath at the Dublin's Garden of Remembrance, which commemorates those who fought against Britain to achieve Irish independence.

The following year, the Queen shook hands with Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness, a former IRA leader at an event in Belfast.

Queen Elizabeth II's historic handshake with former IRA leader Martin McGuinness in Belfast on 27 June 2012

Again, it was seen as a bridge-building gesture.

In 1979, Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was related to the Royal family, was killed by the IRA while holidaying on the Irish coast.

For security reasons, the Queen's visits to Northern Ireland were less frequent during the violent years of the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s.

The then Princess Elizabeth waving as she arrived at Dungannon High School for Girls in County Tyrone in March 1946

She visited in the summer of 1977 on the Royal yacht Britannia as part of her silver jubilee celebrations, but did not return until June 1991.

Her first visit to Northern Ireland was back in 1945, one of three visits before she became Queen.

In July 1953, she made her first visit as monarch. When she stayed overnight at Hillsborough Castle, local Orangemen arrived playing Lambeg drums to mark her coronation.

In total, she made 25 visits to Northern Ireland, the majority of them coming in the 1990s and 2000s after the peace process took hold.

John Warden Brooke, 2nd Viscount Brookeborough (L), Queen Elizabeth II (C) and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh listen to drummers, on July 3, 1953 during their official visit to Northern Ireland

Following the Good Friday Agreement, she visited the power-sharing Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont in 2002.

In an address, she said: "Over the last half century I have always enjoyed my visits to Northern Ireland. Even in the most troubled of times I have been heartened by the warmth and good humour of the people I have met."

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh arrive to attend a State Banquet in Dublin Castle in May 2011 in Dublin, Ireland

Ten years later, she returned to Stormont, and was driven through the estate in an open-topped vehicle. An estimated 20,000 people gathered to see her and the Duke of Edinburgh.

In 2014, she visited Belfast's largest indoor market, St George's, and was shown around by the then chief executive of Belfast City Council, Suzanne Wylie.

Security staff had a momentary scare when a teenager suddenly emerged from the crowd in front of the Queen, but it was merely to take a "selfie" photograph with the monarch.

The Royal couple chat to stall holder Simon Matthews during a visit to St George's market in Belfast in June 2014 in Belfast

During her many speeches and statements about Northern Ireland, she always chose her words carefully.

In remarks issued to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland in May 2021, she said: "The continued peace is a credit to its people, upon whose shoulders the future rests."

She was supposed to attend a church service in Armagh in October 2021 to mark the centenary but was unable to attend for medical reasons.

Related Topics

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  • UK Royal Family
  • Queen Elizabeth II

More on this story

Queen makes historic Ireland trip

  • Published 17 May 2011

The Queen

IMAGES

  1. ROYAL VISIT: QUEEN VISITS BELFAST CITY HALL

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  2. Northern Ireland Royal Visit 1

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  3. Northern Ireland Royal Visit 1

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  4. Northern Ireland Royal Visit 1

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  5. Northern Ireland Royal Visit 1

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