Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made a surprise visit to Northern Ireland today to support youth-led peacebuilding initiatives through the arts.
The royal trip to Northern Ireland today, Friday, March 23, was kept top secret until the couple touched down in Northern Ireland this morning. It marks Meghan Markle's first official visit to Northern Ireland with her husband-to-be, Prince Harry.
Their first stop of the day was an especially meaningful and exciting one. They surprised 2,000 young students who are part of the Amazing the Space initiative. Led by Co-Operation Ireland, Amazing the Space seeks to build peace through youth arts work at the Eikon Exhibition Center, on the site of the former Maze Prison where 10 Irish Republicans died on hunger strike during the Troubles.
Harry had helped to launch the project during his first official visit to Northern Ireland last September.
Funded by the Northern Ireland Executive Office and organised by @cooperationirl, ‘Amazing the Space’ was launched by Prince Harry in September 2017 to encourage young people to become ambassadors for peace within their communities. pic.twitter.com/yc7KBdqARi— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) March 23, 2018
The young people involved, who have committed to act as ambassadors for peace within their communities, were overjoyed to meet the couple and talk about their work.
After watching some performances, Prince Harry and Ms. Markle heard from the young people themselves about the reconciliation work going on across Northern Ireland. pic.twitter.com/f9JHWU2d0j— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) March 23, 2018
Harry's words of encouragement to the students were quoted by People.com:
“Over the years religion has divided us but we’re all the same underneath. The most important thing is that the door is open and you just keep pushing at it. Ten, fifteen, years ago you would have been up against the tide, but you’re going with it now. Keep it up!”
Next up they stopped for pints and Irish stew at Belfast's historic Crown Liquor Saloon
Prince Harry addresses Northern Ireland's turbulent past in speech to pupils - before heading to iconic Belfast pub with Meghan https://t.co/55Gaku5839— Irish Daily Mirror (@IrishMirror) March 23, 2018
Onlookers gathered to shake hands and gave Markle a small bouquet of flowers.
In the afternoon, Prince Harry and Ms. Markle meet members of the public gathered on Great Victoria Street. pic.twitter.com/xxbP9M6dea— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) March 23, 2018
Ms. Markle receives a posy from a member of the public on Great Victoria Street in Belfast. pic.twitter.com/n6Hv67TG7C— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) March 23, 2018
The couple, who just sent out the invitations for their royal wedding in May, stopped by Belfast's science park to meet with the inventors and entrepreneurs with Catalyst HQ.
They are now wrapping up the day with a visit to Titanic Belfast:
Would you want to meet Prince Harry and Megan Markle if they made an official visit to your area?