President Higgins and Taoiseach to attend Queen Elizabeth's memorial in Belfast

Charles and Camilla will visit Hillsborough Castle and attend a memorial at St Anne’s Cathedral
President Higgins and Taoiseach to attend Queen Elizabeth's memorial in Belfast

Gráinne Ní Aodha and Jonathan McCambridge, PA

Britain's King Charles has landed in Northern Ireland - for his first visit to the region since ascending to the throne.

Thousands of people are lining the streets outside the royal residence at Hillsborough castle in Co Down.

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina, will join Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney in attendance at a service in Belfast on Tuesday, in memory of Britain's Queen Elizabeth.

After touching down in Belfast, Charles and Camilla are to travel to Hillsborough Castle in Co Down, the royal residence in Northern Ireland, for several engagements.

They will hold a private audience with the new Northern Ireland secretary Chris Heaton-Harris, as well as meeting representatives of political parties in the region.

The couple will then receive a message of condolence on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland from the speaker of the Stormont Assembly Alex Maskey.

David Trimble death
Northern Ireland Assembly Speaker Alex Maskey signing a book of condolence (Liam McBurney/PA)

They will then go to a reception at the castle, hosted by Mr Heaton-Harris, which some members of the public will also attend.

Charles and Camilla will then travel to St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast where they will attend a service of reflection for the life of the Queen.

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina, Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney are due to attend the memorial service at St Anne’s Cathedral.

The new British monarch will also meet leaders from all the major faiths in Northern Ireland.

Before leaving, Charles and Camilla will undertake a walkabout at Writers’ Square.

Although the square will be closed to the public, people are being invited to line the route to Hillsborough Castle and the route to the cathedral.

The couple will travel along Main Street and Lisburn Street in Hillsborough before heading to Belfast along Wellington Place, Donegall Square North, Chichester Street and Victoria Street.

Both houses of parliament gathered at Westminster Hall in London on Monday to express their condolences to the new kind, and Charles promised “faithfully to follow” the example set by his mother.

Later, the king led his family in a procession behind the queen’s coffin in Edinburgh as it was taken from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to St Giles’ Cathedral.

Thousands of members of the UK public moved past the oak coffin through the night as it stood on public view for 24 hours at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Charles, on his Operation Spring Tide tour around the UK with Camilla, will leave Scotland and head to Belfast before returning to London in the evening.

Members of the UK public are already queueing for the queen lying in state at Westminster Hall, which opens on Wednesday, and thousands are still placing floral tributes in Green Park.

DEATH Queen
(PA Graphics)

Mourners have been asked by Royal Parks not leave marmalade sandwiches – a nod to the queen’s comedy sketch with Paddington Bear – for fear of a negative effect on wildlife.

At 6pm, they will depart Scotland for the last time.

Her coffin will be flown from Edinburgh Airport to London on an RAF Globemaster C-17 flight, accompanied by her daughter Princess Anne.

The king will be joined by Camilla as he receives his mother’s coffin at Buckingham Palace, where she spent so many of her decades as sovereign.

Charles' son, Willam and his wife Kate - now the Prince and Princess of Wales - will also be at the palace.

A guard of honour formed of three officers and 96 soldiers from The King’s Guard will be mounted in the Quadrangle.

Military commands, usually shouted, will be given as quietly as possible in honour of the solemn occasion.

DEATH Queen
(PA Graphics)

The coffin will be carried by a bearer party to the Bow Room where a sovereign’s piper will play a lament.

It will remain in the Bow Room overnight before a procession on Wednesday to Westminster Hall for the start of the lying in state.

The king’s visit to Northern Ireland earlier in the day comes ahead of a trip to Wales later in the week.

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