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Sonia Irvine on life in locked-down Monaco and her sadness at not being able to visit her mother in NI

The businesswoman and sister of ex-Formula One star Eddie talks to Lorraine Wylie about her daughter's recovery from coronavirus and her plans for Amber Lounge when the world re-opens

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Sonia Irvine

Sonia Irvine

Sonia, Katie, Megan and Eddie Irvine

Sonia, Katie, Megan and Eddie Irvine

Lewis Hamilton with Sonia Irvine

Lewis Hamilton with Sonia Irvine

Sonia Irvine while attending the Amber Fashion Show and Charity Auction at Le Meridien Beach Plaza Hotel on May 25, 2012 in Monaco, Monaco.  (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Sonia Irvine while attending the Amber Fashion Show and Charity Auction at Le Meridien Beach Plaza Hotel on May 25, 2012 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Megan with Katie Irvine

Megan with Katie Irvine

Sonia and Eddie Irvine

Sonia and Eddie Irvine

Sonia, Eddie and father Edmund Irvine

Sonia, Eddie and father Edmund Irvine

Sonia Irvine

Occupying less than one square mile, an area approximately the size of Holywood in Co Down, Monaco is one of the smallest countries in the world. With more billionaires and millionaires per capita, it's also among the wealthiest on the planet. Throughout the year the tiny principality hosts some of the most glamorous events in the social and sporting calendar, including the famous Monaco Grand Prix which usually takes place in May. But in recent months, coronavirus proved an unwelcome visitor when it forced everyone indoors and sent the party lifestyle into lockdown.

Originally from Conlig in Co Down, businesswoman Sonia Irvine, who has two children, Megan (18) and Katie (10), has been living in Monaco for over 15 years and is a familiar face among the local jet-setting community. Now 56, Sonia, sister of former F1 racing driver Eddie Irvine and founder of Amber Lounge, known for its bespoke party events and VIP guest list, tells me how Covid-19 has impacted her family.

"Monaco is quite small and everyone tends to know everyone else - it's a very friendly place," she says. "But like everywhere, we were affected by the coronavirus. Compared to other countries though, Monaco has had very few cases.