The King and Queen visit Northern Ireland
Published 24 May 2023
The King and Queen are visiting Northern Ireland to carry out a series of engagements, marking Their Majesties' first visit to the country following the Coronation.
Their Majesties spent a day in the city of Belfast, celebrating the best of Northern Ireland, from community and entrepreneurship to flora and fauna.
The Coronation Garden
The ‘Botanical Borough’ of Antrim and Newtownabbey has created a new community space, and it was in bloom for Their Majesties’ arrival. Named in honour of the new King and Queen, The Coronation Garden is the first step in developing a huge green initiative for residents.
The garden is framed by a flowering meadow of 932 square metres, which includes both annuals and perennials, with colour from the first year and many years after that. It is a 100% Island of Ireland provenance wildflower seed mix.
The Garden has followed ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ practices, with many elements being locally composted or reclaimed.
Their Majesties met groups enjoying the new garden, including schoolchildren taking part in a Coronation Microgreens Horticulture Project and volunteers who had helped organise recent events to celebrate the Coronation.
The Coronation Bench
At Hillsborough Castle, Their Majesties met the winners of a School Bench Competition. In January 2023, Historic Royal Palaces invited schools across the UK to take part by designing a bench which explored their hopes for the future.
Blythefield Primary School’s winning design incorporated a variety of flowers to reflect the diversity of their school: Costus Spectabili to repesent Nigeria, Hibiscus to represent Malaysia and Water Lily to represent Bangladesh.
Audiences at Hillsborough Castle
His Majesty held an audience with Chris Heaton-Harris, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, at Hillsborough Castle.
Their Majesties welcomed Guests were chosen for their links to: youth, community, diversity and sustainability. Guests from across Northern Ireland to a Garden Party held in the grounds of Hillsborough Castle.
The King and Queen spent their second day in Northern Ireland meeting communities in Enniskillen and Armagh.
Their Majesties began the day in Armagh, where The Queen – who has a long-standing commitment to encouraging a love of reading across all age groups - visited Armagh Robinson Library.
Her Majesty met parents and children taking part in the Playful Museums Initiative, which enables parents to visit the library and explore its collection, while their children are playing. The Queen also learnt more about the role the Library plays in making people living with dementia feel safe and welcome.
Meanwhile, The King attended a service in St Patrick's Cathedral, where His Majesty met representatives from the Church of Ireland, the Roman Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church and the Irish Council of Churches.
The King and Queen watched a ‘Celebration of Culture’ to showcase the diversity of the area, bringing together a fusion of cultures on one platform, bringing together local myths and legends with Chinese and South Asian cultures.
Their Majesties also met local food producers making the most of the rich environment of good agricultural land to develop and market award-winning products, as well as community groups including ‘Knit and Natter’ before meeting the crowds.
At their final engagement, The King and Queen visited the Kindness Postbox in Enniskillen and learnt more about this social initiative which has helped more than 12,000 people who are experiencing loneliness since it was set up during the pandemic.
Against the extraordinary backdrop of Enniskillen Castle, Their Majesties learnt more about the area’s natural history, traditional rural life and local crafts.
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