Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Palace asked to join green scheme

Tourism Ireland hopes the Queen will agree to turn Buckingham Palace green for St Patrick's Day

Cash-strapped Ireland is calling in an unlikely favour from the Queen to help out her nearest neighbour in its hour of need.

Tourism chiefs have asked the monarch if she will turn Buckingham Palace green for St Patrick's Day in a gesture that would signal another milestone in relations across the Irish Sea.

Some of Earth's most famous sights - including the Pyramids and Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue - are to be illuminated emerald on the national day of celebration in a bargain-basement bid to bring more visitors to Ireland.

But despite the Queen's ground-breaking visit to the Irish Republic, she has not yet given the green light for a change of colour at her world-famous official residence in London.

Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said they were still awaiting a response from Buckingham Palace.

"I have written to the private secretary to the Queen, but we haven't had a reply yet," he said.

"We wrote a couple of months ago, but it is a dialogue that is in progress. I wouldn't be putting any pressure on people."

To help their case, the tourism agency is expected to unveil details in the coming weeks about the previously unknown Irish roots of the Duchess of Cambridge.

"We have actually traced Kate Middleton's Irish ancestry back as well. We have a report on it," said Mr Gibbons. "We have an authenticated connection, with all the certificates and everything."

Other international attractions going green on March 17 include the Sydney Opera House, Niagara Falls, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Burj al Arab in Dubai, Table Mountain in South Africa, New York's Empire State Building and Berlin's TV Tower.

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