Belfast Telegraph

Royal visit to Northern Ireland: Belfast enjoys a clever piece of marketing

By Amanda Poole

Never before had the public in Northern Ireland been able to see the Queen at such close quarters. And thousands turned up to make the most of the opportunity.

The public was invited to St George's Market to catch a glimpse of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh on their visit to Belfast and they didn't disappoint.

In an unprecedented move, the Northern Ireland Office released detailed information about the royal couple's usually closely-guarded itinerary, allowing the people of the city and beyond the opportunity to see them up close.

Yesterday, St George's Market was packed with well-wishers keen for such a chance.

Crowds gathered both inside and outside the market to greet the royal entourage as the best of our food and drink produce was showcased.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh toured the market and chatted to traders before being presented with a selection of Northern Ireland products, including a Harland and Wolff-themed T-shirt for their great grandson George (below, with trader Claire Mullan).

Little George could soon be photographed wearing the green T-shirt emblazoned with cartoon versions of the iconic Samson and Goliath yellow cranes that dominate the Belfast skyline.

Trader Jim Moore from Auntie Sandra's confectionery company told the Belfast Telegraph that meeting the Queen had "made my day".

"She was brilliant," he said. "She was asking me did we make our own sweets and said she recognised some of the sweets.

"I was saying to her my aunt started the business in 1953, that was the year of her coronation. She shook hands with me. She was lovely. It has made my day."

Tanya Blamphin from Holywood via New Zealand said it was great the public was made aware of the visit.

"I saw her in Christchurch many years ago and wanted to see her again," she said. "Someone told me the other day she was coming, I was quite surprised. I couldn't believe it."

Schoolgirl Ariana Stevens added: "I am really excited to see her."

Bell Atkinson from Whiteabbey was moved to tears on seeing the Queen. "She is just a year older than me," Bell said.

"I cried when I saw her. She is very important to me. I wouldn't have missed it. My daughter brought me and we are very glad to be here.

"We were supposed to meet people at the airport but we said they would just have to wait for I have to see the Queen."

Irene Dempsey from Maghera said: "I have never seen the Queen before. It's a lovely occasion. Brilliant. I think Northern Ireland is a lovely place and all the lovely things we have have been shown off."

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