She waited and waited until her Prince William finally popped the question, and now she’s Britain’s Princess Catherine to be, but back in 2007 the “commoner” Kate Middleton and her mother paid a visit to Dublin for a couple of days to support an artist friend and take in the sights.

Kate and Carole Middleton’s visit to the Urban Retreat Gallery on Dublin’s Hanover Quay to support their friend Gemma Billington, an artist originally from Co. Kerry who lives near the Middletons in Berkshire, England, was very low key, though there were photographers on hand to capture the future princess.  She didn’t utter a public word all night and declined a request to speak to the media, explaining that she doesn’t do press interviews.

The Irish Times reported that the April 2007 trip was Kate’s first time in Dublin.  The next time she visits – if there is a next time – she’ll be a fully-fledged royal.

Politicians in Northern Ireland of the Unionist persuasion were quick to congratulate William and Kate after Tuesday’s long-expected engagement  announcement.

First Minister Peter Robinson said Northern Irish citizens would be all gung-ho for the big royal shindig next spring or summer.   "Northern Ireland will be massively supportive of a royal wedding. There is nothing like a royal wedding in terms of getting people interested, especially the women,” said Robinson.

“This announcement is of huge significance not only for the royal family but for all the people of the United Kingdom. I would like to offer them my warmest congratulations and best wishes in their future life together."

Ulster Unionist Party leader Tom Elliott said he was delighted and would "look forward to celebrating the wedding next year."

And the current Northern Minister for Employment Arlene Foster says she’s so excited about the engagement that she’ll even wear a hat while watching TV coverage of the big day – if she doesn’t get a coveted royal invite.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein remained mum on the royal wedding, which isn’t surprising given that Sinn Fein party members refuse to take their seats in the Westminster Parliament because a loyalty oath to the queen is required.  But Robinson did crack a joke at his deputy’s expense.

When asked how the Northern Ireland Assembly would mark the wedding, Robinson wisecracked, "Maybe the deputy first minister and I could go along to it."