While Brexit may have caused fresh strains on Anglo-Irish relationships it is still a measure of how far those relationships have developed in the last decade that the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge which began yesterday got off on a relatively low key.
illiam may be a future King but his presence, along with Kate, in Dublin was not accompanied by sense of great occasion, but rather the visit of a senior member of a neighbouring monarchy.
That sense of almost normality about the visit of members of the Royal family to the Republic is due entirely to the Queen's ground-breaking visit in 2011 - the first by a member of the Royal family in exactly 100 years.
So much had happened in the intervening period including the creation of the Republic, partition and the horrors of the Troubles. But the Queen's adept and practised diplomacy, including a visit to the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin where the dead who fought for independence are remembered, help strip away old hatreds. Her subsequent handshake with Martin McGuinness and Prince Charles's visit to Mullaghmore in Co Sligo in 2015 to see where his great uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, was killed by the IRA cemented the growing rapprochement between the two nations.
This has been a very difficult time for the Queen with the controversy over Prince Andrew and Prince Harry stepping away from royal duties but in William and Kate she has a couple who are growing more sure-footed in their royal duties by the day.
A visit to the Republic, especially after the harsh political exchanges between the two countries over Brexit and the continuing work to seal a trade deal, requires acknowledgement of the sensitivities involved as there are still those who would like to make political capital out of any missteps.
This is quite a major three-day visit and every step will be well choreographed. However, William and Kate are regarded as the modern face of the monarchy and the Duchess's down-to-earth manner with young people has endeared her to many. William may present a more reserved image as befits his future role but with Harry about to go into virtual self-imposed exile he carries a large part of the burden of the House of Windsor's reputation on his shoulders. That is no easy task for a man born to be king but uncertain whenever that exacting role will be assumed.
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