William & Kate Make a Surprise Visit to Ireland

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Surprise! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have embarked on their own mini-tour this month – to Ireland (where they are actually known as the Baron and Baroness of Carrickfergus). Between Wednesday and Thursday, the two are visiting Belfast, Fermanagh and Ballymena to “celebrate the young people of Northern Ireland,” per Kensington Palace. Wonderful – and as you may recall from 2017, the two also took on a short trip in the winter that was followed by a longer tour that summer, so it’s good to see Kate is officially back on the international bandwagon following Prince Louis’s birth last year.

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Before I start ticking through engagements, I’d like to add that having quickly swept through the photos from the first day it’s actually remarkable how downright delighted Kate seems at every stop. Granted, these first engagements ticked all of her favorite things – sports and children – but she looks absolutely joyful throughout the day and it’s nice to see.

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The day began with a visit to Windsor Park football stadium, home of the Irish Football Association (IFA). As we well know, William is a huge football fan and here he was given a chance to highlight the work of two initiatives – “Shooting Stars,” which encourages girls to play, and “Ahead of the Game,” which supports youth suffering from mental health issues.

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Both were very enthusiastic participants in the football/soccer.

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From there, the two headed Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh where they met with children participating in an outdoors camp as part of the organization, Extern.

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Kate took part in a canoe lesson…

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…and archery…

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While William was given a lesson in balancing on a low-ropes assault course.

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Kate mixed up for the day’s engagements, arriving in her red Carolina Herrera coat that gave her an air of formality for a quick walkabout. Underneath it, however, she was prepared for a days of sports with skinny jeans and a new (to us) Ralph Lauren sweater. She also changed from her L.K. Bennett heeled ankle boots (debuted earlier this month) to a pair of New Balance trainers. And the coat, of course, was swapped to a navy quilted Barbour.

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I liked all of it – pretty stealth costume change, actually.

The evening took the two to Belfast at the Empire Music Hall where they attended a party honoring youth who are making a difference in Northern Ireland. According to KP, “Guests will encompass representatives from Northern Ireland’s business, arts and sport sectors, including Dame Mary Peters who was today appointed Lady Companion of the Most Noble of the Garter by Her Majesty The Queen.”

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Oh, and beer was had by all…even Kate.

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William made brief remarks on stage, while Kate wore a new sparkling mint green dress by Missoni. Another win for me.

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One final note, there’s been speculation that William and Kate took a ski holiday with their children over the last week – hence their absence from engagements. My guess is that’s correct – William and Kate are big skiers and we know that they took Prince George and Princess Charlotte back in 2016 in the hopes of introducing them to a love of the sport. Regardless, they’re officially back in action now.

With that we’ll move on to Day Two, but I’m going to wait a few hours for all of the activities to unfold. See you back here later!

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