IN PICS: Insults and fist bumps – a look at William and Kate's surprise tour of Northern Ireland

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Kate Middleton and Prince William both looked elegant yet relaxed on their surprise visit to Belfast. (PHOTO:
Kate Middleton and Prince William both looked elegant yet relaxed on their surprise visit to Belfast. (PHOTO:

Leaving their three children behind, the Prince and Princess of Wales made their way to Belfast, Northern Ireland, to carry out royal duties this week. This marks their first official visit to the country since William was proclaimed Prince of Wales by the new monarch, King Charles.

The royals' official Twitter account expressed Kate and William's excitement ahead of their day of activities as they arrived in the country.

"It’s wonderful to be back in Northern Ireland today!" The post reads.

Sinn Féin MP John Finucane and Belfast Lord Mayor Tina Black were among those who welcomed the royal couple.

Their first engagement of the day was at PIPS Charity in Belfast, which works to provide crisis care for anyone at danger of suicide or self-harm.

Upon arrival, Elyse Quinn, the 12-year-old daughter of Renée Quinn, the organisation's executive director, presented Kate with an exquisite arrangement of flowers.

The Princess of Wales takes part in an art therapy session at PIPS Charity, a suicide prevention organisation. (PHOTO:

The princess was clearly delighted as she spoke briefly with her young host about the organisation’s life-saving work. Employees, counsellors and members of the organisation chatted to the royals about their own struggles and how they overcame them.

Kate and William also took part in an art therapy session with a group of PIPS-supported disadvantaged kids.

This visit was followed by a stroll along Antrim Road where a large crowd had gathered to greet them – not all of them friendly greetings. 

“Nice to meet you, but it would be better if it was when you were in your own country … Ireland belongs to the Irish,” one woman blurted out to the princess in a video widely shared on social media.

@irishunity When Kate Middleton is told 'Ireland belongs to the Irish' during a visit to Belfast ???? #KateMiddleton #BritishRoyalFamily #RoyalFamily #Belfast #Ireland #Irish #fyp #fyp? ? Give Ireland Back To The Irish - Paul McCartney & Wings

In response to the remark Kate just smiled and continued shaking hands with others in the crowd.

After that, the prince and princess went to Trademarket, a newly launched outdoor street food and shopping centre on Dublin Road.

When the couple arrived, project director Will Neill welcomed them and introduced them to merchants so they could learn how the market has helped the new enterprises.

Crowds of well-wishers gathered to greet the famous couple. (PHOTO:

The royals then took up positions on either side of the bar for a competition to see who could prepare a cocktail, called "Up the Lagan in a Bubble", the fastest and Wills took the title.

The couple were also gifted with a collar for Orla, their beloved cocker spaniel back home.

The royal couple met Vice Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim Miranda Gordon on a visit to Carrick Connect. (PHOTO:

The couple's next stop was Carrickfergus, where they visited Carrick Connect, a youth organisation that helps young people who are struggling socially or emotionally. They learned about some of the charity's initiatives, including a mentoring programme designed to help young people acquire positive coping mechanisms.

READ MORE| King Charles appears in first official portrait – and there’s even a rare touch of royal PDA!

In concluding their first day, they took another stroll to greet well-wishers along the Carrickfergus coastline, offering handshakes and good-natured fist bumps. 


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