An early invitation – within the coming twelve months – for King Charles to visit Ireland is likely, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has said.
His remarks came as it was confirmed President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Micheál Martin are to represent Ireland at the State funeral of Queen Elizabeth in London on Monday.
Leaders from all over the world, including US President Joe Biden, are expected to attend the ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
On Tuesday the new King was scheduled to make his first visit to the island of Ireland since ascending to the throne at a memorial service in Belfast for his late mother, also attended by representatives of the Irish government.
Before that Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney raised the prospect of Charles, a frequent visitor to Ireland, visiting as King within the next year.
“He is somebody who has been to Ireland virtually every year with the exception of the Covid years for quite some time now,” he said and pointed out he had pledged to visit every county on the island.
“I know because I’ve been on a number of those visits with him how much he wants to use his position to try to reinforce and strengthen the British-Irish relationship and I suspect he’ll want to do the same as king.
“So yes, I will be very surprised if we didn’t formally invite him early in his monarchy to come and to build on the relationship that his mother I think so successfully impacted on back in 2011.”
Mr Coveney said that 2011 State visit “really did impact Ireland in terms of how we viewed her and the UK”.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1 the Cork TD recalled being the official ministerial companion to the Queen when she visited the Ireland in 2011.
‘I’m going to cross the street and I’m going to meet the public’
He said when he showed her around the English Market in Cork she spontaneously decided to speak to the public.
“After we finished the visit of the English Market, she walked out onto the main street and she said to me, ‘I’m going to cross the street now and I’m going to meet the public.
“She hadn’t met any of the Irish public during her visit and this was her last day, for security reasons. And I said to her, ‘Are you sure that’s the right thing to do and your security detail will allow you to do that?’
“And she turned to me again and said, ‘I’m going to cross the street and I’m going to meet the public’, as if to say, ‘I’m the queen and I’ll be doing what I see fit.’
“She must have spent 10 or 15 minutes talking to hundreds and hundreds of people.”