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Nesbitt enjoys a shot of Co Down whiskey with Prince Charles

By Cate McCurry

Published 12/05/2016

First Minister Arlene Foster greets Prince Charles as James Nesbitt looks
on in Fortnum & Mason in Piccadilly, London, yesterday before the trio
toured the store and sampled some NI produce along the way
First Minister Arlene Foster greets Prince Charles as James Nesbitt looks on in Fortnum & Mason in Piccadilly, London, yesterday before the trio toured the store and sampled some NI produce along the way
The Prince of Wales (right) and actor James Nesbitt sample some Dunville's Old Irish Whiskey 10 Year Old 46%, during a visit to Fortnum and Mason, London, to celebrate the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016
The Prince of Wales (centre) and actor James Nesbitt look at the display on a meat counter, during a visit to Fortnum and Mason, London, to celebrate the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016

As controversy over The Secret rages on, James Nesbitt looked relaxed as he knocked back a shot of a Co Down whiskey with the Prince of Wales yesterday.

The actor showed no signs of concern over the unfolding controversy as he rubbed shoulders with royalty at a luxury department store in London.

Looking particularly dapper in a blue suit with matching suede shoes, the Broughshane-born star joined Prince Charles and First Minister Arlene Foster at the NI Year of Food event in Fortnum & Mason.

The Prince of Wales also met Northern Irish food and drink producers during the event.

Charles drank a small shot of Dunville's Old Irish Whiskey, a 46% 10-year-old single malt, as he paid a midday visit to the famous grocery store in London's Piccadilly.

He also sampled blue cheese and Northern Irish butter on crackers but turned down a taste of some smoked salmon as he chatted with the producers.

Charles sniffed the whiskey and toasted Nesbitt and his hosts before he drank it all in one go and said: "It's very good, it goes straight up the nose."

Shane Braniffe, managing director of Echlinville Distillery in Kircubbin, Co Down, said the senior royal seemed to love his taste of the drink, which is on sale at the department store for £46.75.

"He said he might have to change his allegiance from being a Bushmills man to a Dunville man," he added.

"It was lovely to see him drink it. If he left half a glass that wouldn't have looked good, but he drank it all, so I'm glad he approved. It wasn't just politeness."

Charles, who walked over to the department store from nearby Clarence House carrying an umbrella, also inspected Irish Lumper potatoes from Glens of Antrim and some Abernethy Butter, a Stilton from Mike's Fancy Cheese, Glenarm organic salmon and Glenarm Himalayan salt-aged beef from Hannan Meats as part of Fortum & Mason's pop-up "year of food in Northern Ireland celebration".

Mr Nesbitt said: "This is two weeks celebrating ordinary craftsmen doing extraordinary things. To have the endorsement of Prince Charles is very important.

"As Northern Ireland continues to emerge we are trying to spread the goodness of the place.

"It's a perfect fit because of the knowledge he has about the process of farming organic produce. He seemed to be a big fan of the butter and the whiskey."

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