The Royal couple were greeted at George Best Belfast City Airport by Dame Mary P eters DBE, Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast, and The Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, Minister of State for Northern Ireland .
Their Royal Highnesses have begun the first of a number of engagements with a visit to soldiers and families of The 2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment at their base in Palace Barracks near Belfast .
His Royal Highness is Colonel in Chief of the ‘The Mercian’s’ and this is the second visit by HRH to their base in Holywood.
HRH Colonel in Chief and The Duchess were welcomed to the base by Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Colin Marks.
In separate programmes His Royal Highness accepted an invitation from the Commanding Officer to a briefing at Battalion Headquarters, while The Duchess of Cornwall, accompanied by Mrs Sarah Marks, went on to visit some of the civilian staff who work on the base supporting the Battalion and also visited the Community Centre to meet Day Care and Pre-School groups.
His Royal Highness also visited soldiers attending a career development event and had the opportunity to discuss with them their programme of pre-deployment training in preparation for their fourth tour of Afghanistan later this year.
The Royal Couple accepted an invitation to join Officers for a formal photograph and then went on to meet solders, wives and families in the nearby Sergeants’ Mess.
In this first formal visit by His Royal Highness to the Battalion following its return from Afghanistan in late 2009, HRH presented a number of Long Service and Good Conduct medals to soldiers.
Notes to Editors
Their Royal Highnesses were greeted at George Best Belfast International Airport by:
Dame Mary Peters DBE, Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast
and went on to meet:
The Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, Minister of State for Northern Ireland
Mr Brian Ambrose OBE, Chief Executive George Best Belfast City Airport .
His Royal Highness last visited Northern Ireland from12-14 May 2010
Her Royal Highness last visited Northern Ireland , accompanying HRH, on 3 February 2009