The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visit Northern Ireland


To begin the second day of the Royal visit to Northern Ireland, The Prince of Wales received Mrs Arlene Foster, First Minister of Northern Ireland, and Mr Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister, at Hillsborough Castle.

This was followed by a visit to the PORTICO Arts & Heritage Centre in Portaferry.

The centre was recently restored by after falling into disrepair. The gardens have been newly landscaped, but inside all the original fabrics remain. The building is now used by many different members of the local community.

While at the centre, His Royal Highness met architects and craftsmen involved in the restoration project, as well as Portaferry school children and people from the local community. The Prince unveiled a plaque and signed the visitors book before leaving. 

The Prince of Wales was then joined by The Duchess of Cornwall and together Their Royal Highnesses visited the Yellow Door Deli in Portadown.

This thriving delicatessen and catering business is owned by the Dougan family, and strives to champion local produce. The Yellow Door Deli has four outlets in Belfast and Lisburn.

The Prince and The Duchess met the owner of the deli, Simon Dougan, and toured the store, which showcased some of the very best food and drink Northern Ireland has to offer. In the cafe area, Their Royal Highnesses viewed the different produce, including bacon, butter and gin.

2016 marks the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink and this theme continued with The Duchess’s visit to the Armagh Cider Company later in the day. Earlier this month, The Prince attended a celebration of Northern Irish food and drink at Fortnum & Mason in London. 

Next, it was a visit to Ulster Carpets, a family-owned carpet manufacturing firm.

While at the factory, The Prince and The Duchess met staff, saw some carpets being made and were shown a carpet currently being produced for Buckingham Palace. His Royal Highness also met representatives from The Prince’s Campaign For Wool initiative.

The Prince and The Duchess then separated and His Royal Highness went on to visit the Museum of Orange Heritage. The museum aims to promote shared understanding and greater levels of reconciliation through education. 

The Prince was welcomed by a band before touring the museum accompanied by the Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson and the County Grand Master of Armagh County Grand Lodge, Denis Watson. 

Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson, said: "We are absolutely thrilled to receive a Royal visitor as we play our part in Northern Ireland society moving forward to an accepted and shared future for all. 

"This was a special and momentous day which will live long in our memory and be cherished for many generations to come."

Meanwhile, The Duchess of Cornwall visited the Armagh Cider Company and toured their beautiful blooming orchards. After being greeted by the Directors of Armargh Cider, Her Royal Highness was taken through the orchards and heard about the different varieties of apples grown before moving inside the production unit to view the cider-making process. The company is a family business based on a farm at Ballinteggart in Co Armagh, and has belonged to the Troughton family since 1898. All of the company’s ciders are made ‘from blossom to bottle’ on the farm. 

While at the Armagh Cider Company, The Duchess also had the opportunity to try a variety of traditional and modern ciders. 

In the evening, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall jointly attended a musical event at Hillsborough Castle. The evening was compared by BBC Radio 3 presenter Sean Rafferty, and featured performances from the DIT Harp Ensemble from the Dublin Conservatory of Music & Drama, The Belfast Opera and The Folk & Trad group of The Royal Irish Regiment. 

After the concert, Their Royal Highnesses met the performers before joining a reception with concert guests.

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