Buckingham Palace has today confirmed details of the forthcoming Irish State Visit. This will be the first State Visit to the UK by a President of Ireland and follows The Queen's historic State Visit to Ireland in May 2011. The Queen will host President Higgins and Mrs Higgins at Windsor Castle during the visit from 8 to 11 April 2014.
Monday 7 April
The President of Ireland and Mrs Higgins will arrive in the United Kingdom in the afternoon of Monday 7 April, at London Heathrow Airport. They will be greeted by The Viscount Hood, Lord-in-Waiting, on behalf of The Queen.
Tuesday 8 April
The President of Ireland and Mrs Higgins will be met by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall at the Irish Embassy, London. Their Royal Highnesses will travel with The President and Mrs Higgins to Windsor, where The President will receive a Ceremonial Welcome.
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will formally greet The President and Mrs Higgins at the Royal Dais in Datchet Road, Windsor, before aState Carriage Procession to Windsor Castle.
Members of the general public can watch the Ceremonial Welcome at Datchet Road, Windsor and the Carriage Procession along Thames Street and the High Street. Information about timings and access can be found on the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead website (opens in new window).
In the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle, a Guard of Honour will give a Royal Salute and The President of Ireland, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, will inspect the Guard of Honour.
At the end of the Inspection, President Higgins and The Duke of Edinburgh will join The Queen and Mrs Higgins on the Dais to view the Rank and Mark Past of the military.
After a private lunch at Windsor Castle, given by The Queen, Her Majesty will invite The President and Mrs Higgins to view an exhibition of Irish related items, from the Royal Collection, in the Green Drawing Room.
In the afternoon, The President of Ireland and Mrs Higgins will visit Westminster Abbey, where The President will lay a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior. During a tour of the Abbey, President Higgins and Mrs Higgins will meet Hughie O'Donoghue who designed the new stained glass window which was installed in June 2013 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Coronation of The Queen. Before departing, The President will sign the Distinguished Visitors' Book and view the 20th Century Martyrs statue over the Great West Door.
The President of Ireland and Mrs Higgins will then visit the Palace of Westminster, where they will be welcomed by The Speaker of the House of Commons and The Lord Speaker. President Higgins will deliver an Address in the Royal Gallery and attend a reception in the Royal Robing Room with members of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups.
President Higgins will later receive a call at Windsor Castle by the Leader of the Opposition, The Right Honourable Ed Miliband, M.P.
In the evening, The Queen will give a State Banquet for the President of Ireland at Windsor Castle. Her Majesty and President Higgins will both make speeches at the start of the Banquet.
Wednesday 9 April
In the morning, The President of Ireland and Mrs Higgins will be joined by The Duke of York, Colonel-in-Chief, The Royal Irish Regiment, to view the Colours of the disbanded Irish Regiments at Windsor Castle.
Afterwards, The President and Mrs Higgins will visit University College Hospital, London. They will be met by The Earl Howe, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health. The President and Mrs Higgins will meet medical staff and will be given a tour of the Elderly Medicine Ward and the Hyper-Acute Stroke Unit.
Following this, The President of Ireland will visit the Royal Society. The President will deliver an Address to a joint meeting of the Royal Society and Science Foundation Ireland before meeting research fellows and young scientists.
In the afternoon, President Higgins will meet with the Prime Minister at No.10 Downing Street for a private lunch and a bilateral meeting.
Later, the President of Ireland and Mrs Higgins will attend a Youth Workshop event at City Hall, where they will meet with young people from Ireland and Britain, including from Gaisce – The President’s Award, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the British Youth Council, the Being Young & Irish initiative and Irish Community groups in Britain.
The President of Ireland will later receive a call at Buckingham Palace from the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, The Right Honourable Nick Clegg, M.P.
In the evening, President Higgins and Mrs Higgins will attend a Banquet at Guildhall given by The Lord Mayor and the City of London Corporation, in the presence of The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. The Lord Mayor and the President will both make speeches at the end of the Banquet.
Thursday 10 April
In the morning, The President of Ireland and Mrs Higgins will visit Food Animal Initiative (FAI) Farms, Oxford. They will be briefed on the work of the Farms and on British and Irish sustainability initiatives.
The President and Mrs Higgins will then visit Park House Stables, Kingsclere, Newbury, where they will be received by Mr and Mrs Andrew Balding. President Higgins and Mrs Higgins will meet with trainers, jockeys and other staff at the stables and visit the tack room, the yard and training areas.
Later in the afternoon, The Queen will host a Northern Ireland themed reception at Windsor Castle, attended by The President and Mrs Higgins.
In the evening, The President of Ireland and Mrs Higgins will attend Ceiliúradh (Celebration) at the Royal Albert Hall – an Irish cultural concert of music, spoken word and dance. They will be joined by Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
Friday 11 April
The President of Ireland and Mrs Higgins will formally bid farewell to The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle in the morning.
The President and Mrs Higgins will then visit the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Stratford-Upon-Avon. They will take a tour of the building, viewing the dressing rooms, wigs and make-up department and backstage. In the Royal Shakespeare Theatre the President and Mrs Higgins will watch a short performance, after which The President will make a brief address and meet the actors and the creative team.
The President of Ireland and Mrs Higgins will then visit Shakespeare's Birthplace, where they will tour the building and view a display of Shakespeare's treasures.
In the afternoon, The President and Mrs Higgins will visit Coventry Cathedral. During the tour of the cathedral they will meet Denominational Representatives in the Chapel of Unity. The President and Mrs Higgins will also visit the ruins of the old cathedral.
Afterwards, The President and Mrs Higgins will be received by the Lord Mayor of Coventry and members of Coventry City Council at St Mary's Guildhall, where The President will meet members of the Irish Community.
The Lord Chamberlain will bid farewell to The President of Ireland and Mrs Higgins on behalf of The Queen, at Coventry Airport.