Prince William and Kate Middleton planning to escape Harry and Meghan controversy with spring trip to Ireland

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PRINCE William and Kate Middleton are planning to escape the Harry and Meghan controversy with a visit to Ireland.

HOAR has learned that officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs are finalising arrangements for the royal couple to come here in March.

William and Kate are coming to Ireland
Meghan and Harry
Meghan and Harry pictured during a visit to Croke Park
Kate pulls a pint of Harp in Northern Ireland
Kate pulls a pint of Harp in Northern Ireland

Details of royal trips are always closely guarded secrets until shortly before the event due to security concerns.

But insiders say William, 37, and Kate 38, will take part in a series of engagements over two days which will most likely take in Cork and Dublin.

Tourist bosses here believe a visit by the royal pair would boost Ireland as a holiday destination after a drop off in British visitors to the Republic in the past year due to Brexit.

HISTORIC VISIT

And Buckingham Palace is hoping that coverage of a historic visit by the future king to Ireland could be the perfect distraction to the fall-out over Prince Harry and Meghan Markles announcement they would step back from duties.

In 2011, Prince Williams grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, became the first monarch to visit this country since 1911 during a four-day stay in May of that year famously enjoying a walk through Corks English Market.

William and Kate are the latest major royals to visit. Charles and Camilla have made five trips to Ireland since 2015, with the prince sharing a joke with former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams at a reception in Dublin in 2017.

And in 2019, Prince Harry and Meghan embarked on a two-day royal tour to the Emerald Isle, their first official trip outside England as a married couple.

On that stopover, they visited Croke Park and the Book of Kells at Trinity College and met President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

KEEN ON IRELAND

However, older brother William, the second in line to the throne, is said to be even keener on Ireland.

A colonel of the Irish Guards, he has been previously snapped celebrating St Patricks Day with a pint of Guinness and presented shamrock to officers and guardsmen of the First Battalion of the Irish Guards at Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow in west London.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have visited Northern Ireland twice in recent years.

In 2016, and in February last year when, during a two-day trip, they played football at Belfasts Windsor Park, took part in a canoe race in Co Fermanagh, visited the Roscor Youth Village, a residential centre for children, before pulling pints at a reception for young leaders at Belfasts famous Empire Music Hall.

The Queen chats to fishmonger Pat O'Connell at the English market in Cork
The Queen chats to fishmonger Pat O’Connell at the English market in Cork

During that trip, Prince William made a stirring speech calling on people to come together for the common good.

It was widely interpreted as a plea for unity over Brexit and echoed comments made by the Queen in her Christmas Speech.

William, speaking at an event to celebrate the regions inspirational youngsters, made his call for harmony as he praised Northern Ireland Olympic legend Mary Peters, who won gold in the womens pentathlon at the 1972 Games.

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