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Kate and William on post-Brexit charm offensive with Irish trip

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge pull pints of lager during a visit to the Empire Music Hall in Belfast in February 2019

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge pull pints of lager during a visit to the Empire Music Hall in Belfast in February 2019

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge pull pints of lager during a visit to the Empire Music Hall in Belfast in February 2019

Brexit, a Galway walkabout and obligatory pints of Guinness are on the agenda for the royal visit to the Republic this week.

Preparations for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's historic first visit there have been under way for months, but details of their itinerary can be revealed today.

Over the course of three days, William and Kate will visit Dublin, Meath, Kildare and lastly Galway, chosen to celebrate the city's status as 2020's European Capital of Culture.

To begin proceedings, they will meet Irish President Michael D Higgins, his wife Sabina and - as is now par for the course - their dogs Sioda and Brod. They will also meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings.

The Duke and Duchess have been deployed as soft diplomatic agents post-Brexit and are employing a charm offensive. With the Queen no longer carrying out overseas visits at the age of 93, and Prince Philip having retired, diplomatic Brexit trips fall to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, as well as William and Kate.

'The Firm' will no longer be able to call on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to share the burden of overseas tours as they will embark on their 12-month review period of quitting their royal roles from March 31.

In a sign of respect and the seriousness with which they are treating their first trip here, the royal couple will be visiting the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square, dedicated in 1966 by Eamon de Valera to the memory of "all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom".

In doing so they will be following in the footsteps of both the Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles.

During the three-day visit they will be given a personal lesson in the art of pouring a pint of Guinness by Master Brewer Fergal Murray, standard fare for visiting stars.

Pictures of the couple pulling pints of Harp Lager during a trip to Northern Ireland last year set a competitive tone - with Kate emerging as winner.

The couple have meetings with youth mental health charity Jigsaw as well as Teagasc, and will visit Galway later in the week.

The couple are also considering a visit to Newgrange in Kildare, and a pit-stop in Dublin's Temple Bar.

Charles recreated his mother's 2011 trip with visits to Dublin and Cork, but the Duke and Duchess are veering slightly off course with a visit to the West.

It is expected they will take part in a 'walkabout' to speak and shake hands with any well-wishers who waited to see them.

One curveball has emerged after the extensive planning behind this trip - the impact of the coronavirus. The Department of Health has established a National Public Health Emergency Team which has advised against mass gatherings to reduce the spread of the virus.

They do not comment on specific events; however advice remains in place for all mass events asking that people wash their hands with sanitiser regularly, and if they cough or sneeze, to do so in their elbow or wash their hands immediately afterwards.

Belfast Telegraph