HOPES that one of the iconic UK City of Culture events in Londonderry might receive the Royal seal of approval from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been dashed, with news that the couple have postponed any visit across the Irish Sea until 2014.
Royal visits are always subject to tight security, with announcements frequently not officially confirmed until the day they take place, but it has now been confirmed that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have postponed the tentative plans they had to visit until well into 2014. It has not been made clear whether it will include a trip to Northern Ireland, or whether it will only include a visit to the South. The royal couple originally had made tentative plans to travel to Ireland this year, but the trip has been delayed until after the birth of the couple’s first baby, which is due in July.
It is believed that the itinerary for a visit would involve the Duke of Cambridge’s role as a search and rescue pilot with the RAF. As a pilot the Prince performs search and rescue duties in and around the Irish Sea.
The ‘Ireland trip’ if it takes shape, will be among the first post-pregnancy trips to be undertaken.
While nothing has been said about whether the new royal Prince or Princess would also make the journey with the Royal couple, it has been widely reported that the Duke and Duchess are keen to be very hands on parents, and it is rumoured that Prince William will take a leaf out of his parents’ book when they took him as a 10-month-old toddler to Australia and New Zealand, and bring his own child with him if and when the trip does take place.
Confirmation that the Cambridges has postponed any plans to travel to Ireland was greeted with mixed emotions by DUP Alderman, Gary Middleton, who said that while he was delighted that the popular young couple were expecting their first child, it would have been “great” to see them during 2013.
“There is a lot of excitement around the couple and especially around Kate, and while I hope everything goes well for her and her husband with the birth of their child, it still would have been great to see them, given that this is a special year for us in Londonderry winning the UK City of Culture. It would have been a wonderful coup to have had the Royal couple in the city at one of our keynote events, particularly given that both of them have studied history of art and those are two things that Londonderry has plenty of, history and art. It would have been a great time to have them here to help us celebrate.
“That said it would be great to have them visit any time and maybe they will visit us in the near future, when they will be given an equally warm welcome,” he said.