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Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles meet staff at Belfast City Hall in Northern Ireland

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles kicked off their two-day visit to Northern Ireland today with a trip to Belfast City Hall and the famous Harland & Wolff shipyard – where Charles followed in his late father’s footsteps by walking under its towering yellow cranes. 

The Prince of Wales, 72, and Duchess of Cornwall, 73, were welcomed to the City Hall by Lord Mayor Frank McCoubrey, with Charles offering his signature namaste greeting in favour of a handshake.

The royal couple chatted with staff as they learned about the rich and varied history of the city, and made sure to sign the visitor’s book.

Charles, donning a blue suit with a white shirt and a jolly dog-themed tie, met with local historians and discussed the centenary of Northern Ireland, while Camilla heard about Belfast’s ambition to become a Unesco City of Music, and was introduced to the women’s steering group behind the bid. 

Later the prince paid tribute to the ‘inspiring’ efforts of youth workers to bring about reconciliation in Northern Ireland during a speech at the Education Authority in Belfast city centre.

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles kicked off their two-day visit to Northern Ireland today with a trip to Belfast City Hall

Prince Charles is seen at the Harland & Wolff shipyard beneath Samson and Goliath - the twin shipbuilding gantry cranes - in the same spot as his late father Prince Philip

Prince Charles is seen at the Harland & Wolff shipyard beneath Samson and Goliath – the twin shipbuilding gantry cranes – in the same spot as his late father Prince Philip

The Duke of Edinburgh visited the Harland & Wolff shipyard in 1977 during his Silver Jubilee trip to Northern Ireland with the Queen (pictured)

The Duke of Edinburgh visited the Harland & Wolff shipyard in 1977 during his Silver Jubilee trip to Northern Ireland with the Queen (pictured)

The Prince of Wales, 72, and Duchess of Cornwall, 73, chatted with staff as they learned about the rich and varied history of the city

The Prince of Wales, 72, and Duchess of Cornwall, 73, chatted with staff as they learned about the rich and varied history of the city

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall chatted animatedly as they toured the Northern Irish capital's city hall in Donegall Square today

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall chatted animatedly as they toured the Northern Irish capital’s city hall in Donegall Square today

Following his engagements in Belfast city centre, Charles then visited the infamous Harland & Wolff shipyard - the shipping company which built RMS Titanic, RMS Olympic and RMS Britannic

Following his engagements in Belfast city centre, Charles then visited the infamous Harland & Wolff shipyard – the shipping company which built RMS Titanic, RMS Olympic and RMS Britannic

The Duchess looked impeccably stylish in an outfit recycled from a visit to meet soldiers from The Rifles in Bulford, Wiltshire earlier this month. The battalion had recently returned from a seven-month operational tour to Estonia.

Her forest green Rifles coat dress with black bugle buttons designer by Fiona Clare was incredibly fitting for a trip to the Emerald Isle, and she once again teamed it with tall black boots.

The royal couple together met with staff from City Hall to hear about the past, present and future of Belfast and learn of new visions for the city.

Both royals wore face coverings, with Camilla matching her emerald mask featuring an embroidered Prince of Wales’s feathers to her outfit and Charles opting for a disposable blue one.

In keeping with royal visits to Northern Ireland, details were not released in advance and the itinerary was not disclosed for security reasons. 

Upon arrival at City Hall, the royal couple viewed a mural by Belfast artist John Like which was painted for the Festival of Britain in 1950 before viewing a copy of a John Conor painting which showed the State Opening of Stormont in 1921. Before leaving, they met with council staff who had worked in the community in Northern Ireland throughout the pandemic.

The Duchess looked impeccably stylish in an outfit recycled from a visit to meet soldiers from The Rifles in Bulford, Wiltshire earlier this month

The Duchess looked impeccably stylish in an outfit recycled from a visit to meet soldiers from The Rifles in Bulford, Wiltshire earlier this month

The Duchess looked impeccably stylish in an outfit recycled from a visit to meet soldiers from The Rifles in Bulford, Wiltshire earlier this month

The royal couple were welcomed to the City Hall by Lord Mayor Frank McCoubrey, with Charles offering his signature namaste greeting in favour of a handshake

The royal couple were welcomed to the City Hall by Lord Mayor Frank McCoubrey, with Charles offering his signature namaste greeting in favour of a handshake

The Prince of Wales with Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Frank McCoubrey as he meet historians and staff at Belfast City Hall

The Prince of Wales with Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Frank McCoubrey as he meet historians and staff at Belfast City Hall

Camilla's forest green coat dress with black bugle buttons was incredibly fitting for a trip to the Emerald Isle, and she once again teamed it with tall black boots (pictured with Charles at Belfast City Hall)

Camilla’s forest green coat dress with black bugle buttons was incredibly fitting for a trip to the Emerald Isle, and she once again teamed it with tall black boots (pictured with Charles at Belfast City Hall)

The royal couple looked in high spirits as they chatted to historians and staff at Belfast City Hall today to learn about the new vision for the Northern Irish capital

The royal couple looked in high spirits as they chatted to historians and staff at Belfast City Hall today to learn about the new vision for the Northern Irish capital

Camilla matched her emerald green silk face mask featuring an embroidered Prince of Wales's feathers crest to her outfit

Camilla matched her emerald green silk face mask featuring an embroidered Prince of Wales’s feathers crest to her outfit

It is understood there was a large police presence outside City Hall today in preparation for the royal couple’s arrival, in the wake of Unionist rioting last month.

Charles and Camilla are set to take part in a number of engagements over the next two days. The Northern Ireland Office welcomed the arrival of Their Royal Highnesses, saying in a statement: ‘Delighted to welcome TRHs The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall as they commence a two-day visit to Northern Ireland. They can be assured of a very warm welcome!’ 

Following their City Hall visit, the couple went on to visit the Education Authority in the Cathedral Quarter, where they met with local youth workers. Charles and Camilla chatted with two young people living in deprived areas about their experiences of growing up in Belfast, and how they benefitted from the youth services. 

In a speech, Charles hailed the ‘tireless work’ being done to bring about reconciliation. He said: ‘I cannot tell you how really inspiring it has been to hear of the tireless work being carried out by youth workers on all sides of the community, and I just wanted to take this opportunity, if I may, to pay special tribute to your dedication and commitment to the cause of peaceful co-existence.

‘We must never underestimate the risk, and of course the cost, of holding to peaceful ways, and how much determination and courage is necessary. All of you whom I have met here today and many more of your colleagues in your communities have shown those qualities in the most challenging circumstances. We owe you a deep debt of gratitude and above all of admiration.’

Among the work discussed at the engagement were schemes to stop bonfire builders from engaging in anti-social behaviour.

Charles added: ‘Whenever I visit I never cease to be profoundly moved by the work that is being done to heal the pain of the past, to bring understanding and reconciliation in the present and to build hope for the future. All who love this very special part of the world can only wish you renewed strength of spirit and resolve as you take forward this work of such vital importance to these islands.’ 

The Prince of Wales is pictured climbing out of his vehicle ahead of his visit to Belfast City Hall in Donegall Square, Belfast today

The Prince of Wales is pictured climbing out of his vehicle ahead of his visit to Belfast City Hall in Donegall Square, Belfast today

It is understood there was a large police presence outside City Hall today in preparation for the royal couple's arrival, in the wake of Unionist rioting last month

It is understood there was a large police presence outside City Hall today in preparation for the royal couple’s arrival, in the wake of Unionist rioting last month

The Duchess of Cornwall meets historians and staff at Belfast City Hall and to hear about the past, present and future of Belfast and learn of the new vision for the City

The Duchess of Cornwall meets historians and staff at Belfast City Hall and to hear about the past, present and future of Belfast and learn of the new vision for the City

For the visit Prince Charles donned a blue suit with a white shirt and a jolly dog-themed tie. He added a pop of colour with a small pink bloom on his lapel

For the visit Prince Charles donned a blue suit with a white shirt and a jolly dog-themed tie. He added a pop of colour with a small pink bloom on his lapel

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are seen signing the visitor's book during a visit to Belfast City Hall

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are seen signing the visitor’s book during a visit to Belfast City Hall

Following their visit to Belfast City Hall, the Duchess of Cornwall is seen arriving at the Education Authority in the Northern Irish capital

Following their visit to Belfast City Hall, the Duchess of Cornwall is seen arriving at the Education Authority in the Northern Irish capital

A very animated Prince of Wales and a smiling Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to the Education Authority Headquarters in Belfast

A very animated Prince of Wales and a smiling Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to the Education Authority Headquarters in Belfast

Charles delivered a speech during a visit with the Duchess of Cornwall to the Education Authority in Belfast

Charles delivered a speech during a visit with the Duchess of Cornwall to the Education Authority in Belfast

Charles is pictured delivering a speech during his visit with the Duchess of Cornwall to the Education Authority in Belfast today

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall met with local youth workers and chatted with two young people about their experiences of growing up in Belfast, and how they benefitted from the youth services

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall met with local youth workers and chatted with two young people about their experiences of growing up in Belfast, and how they benefitted from the youth services

A smiling Prince Charles gestures as he and Camilla visit the Education Authority in Belfast, Northern Ireland, their second stop of the day

A smiling Prince Charles gestures as he and Camilla visit the Education Authority in Belfast, Northern Ireland, their second stop of the day

The Prince of Wales then visited the infamous Harland & Wolff shipyard – the shipping company which built RMS Titanic, RMS Olympic and RMS Britannic. The shipyard is celebrating 160th anniversary as part of the long history of commercial shipbuilding in Belfast. 

Charles enjoyed a laugh with staff members and was pictured beneath Samson and Goliath – the twin shipbuilding gantry cranes – in the same spot as his late father Prince Philip, who visited the shipyard in 1977 during his Silver Jubilee trip to Northern Ireland with the Queen.

The prince commented on the size of the towering yellow cranes which famously dominate the Belfast skyline as well as meeting a number of workers who represent the third and fourth generations of their families to work at the shipyard.

Looking towards the future of the business, the royal visitor was also shown automatic welding machinery.

He unveiled a plaque for the 160th anniversary of Harland and Wolff and was presented with a photograph of his father visiting the shipyard in 1977. 

The Prince of Wales pictured chatting to staff at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland

The Prince of Wales pictured chatting to staff at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland

The Prince of Wales pictured chatting to staff at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland

The Harland & Wolff shipyard is celebrating 160th anniversary as part of the long history of commercial shipbuilding in Belfast (pictured: Charles chats to staff)

The Harland & Wolff shipyard is celebrating 160th anniversary as part of the long history of commercial shipbuilding in Belfast (pictured: Charles chats to staff)

The Prince of Wales breaks into laughter as he talks to delighted staff during a visit at the Harland & Wolff shipyard this afternoon

The Prince of Wales breaks into laughter as he talks to delighted staff during a visit at the Harland & Wolff shipyard this afternoon

It’s not long since the couple visited the country; they made a whirlwind one day trip there in September last year for a series of engagements in order to thank individuals who have gone the extra mile during the pandemic. 

They visited local communities and organisations as well as the Ulster Museum in south Belfast where they met a number of young nurses who had recently completed their training early to help with the coronavirus pandemic. 

At the museum Charles and Camilla were shown an exhibition marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, which also celebrates the contribution of nurses since the First World War up to the present day. 

Before departing, the prince and the duchess met Belfast Lord Mayor Frank McCoubrey and city council employees who maintain the gardens outside the Tropical Ravine building.

The pair went on to split for further engagements, with Prince Charles travelling to a food and grocery distribution centre in Newtownabbey.

Meanwhile the Duchess visited Belfast & Lisburn Women’s Aid, where she met with staff, supporters and service users to hear of the challenges they have faced in recent months. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk