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Royal couple all smiles on Ulster visit

By Kerry McKittrick

Smiling and surrounded by supporters, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall look happy and relaxed as they stroll through the countryside on their visit to Northern Ireland and Donegal this week.

Prince Charles arrived first to Northern Ireland, touching down on Monday. He began his trip with a visit to Queen's University's Institute of Electronics, Communication and Information Technology in Belfast's Titanic Quarter.

There he watched a demonstration of weather satellite technology and learned more about cybersecurity.

He was greeted by First Minister Arlene Foster, East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson and Belfast's Deputy Lord Mayor Guy Spence.

The heir to the throne went on to mark Portaferry Presbyterian Church's re-opening as the Portico Arts Centre after an eight-year redevelopment and £1m funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. On his visit he was presented with a hurley and ball by Portaferry GAC.

Later in the day, the prince was joined by the Duchess in Co Armagh, when they visited the Yellow Door Deli and Ulster Carpets in Portadown. They were shown carpets in the process of being manufactured - including one destined for Buckingham Palace.

Day two of the Royal couple's visit saw Prince Charles spend time with local political leaders away from prying eyes. He held separate, private meetings with First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at Hillsborough Castle.

The Duchess continued to mark the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016 as she was welcomed at the Armagh Cider Company by owners Helen and Philip Troughton. Meanwhile, Prince Charles toured the Museum of Orange Heritage - greeted by the thunder of Lambeg drums.

The day ended with an evening of entertainment at Hillsborough, with performances from Belfast comedian Tim McGarry and the folk and trad group of The Irish Regiment. The event was attended by the First Minister and representatives of royal-supported charities.

The royal couple concluded their visit on Wednesday in Donegal, where they visited the Magee Tweed factory.

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