A burst of the National Anthem from a regimental bagpiper heralded Prince Andrew’s latest visit to the Province.
The Duke of York arrived alongside his entourage at Belfast’s Clonaver Park Army Reserve Centre mid-afternoon yesterday, greeted by a presentation of soldiers in dress uniform from the Second Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment.
The soldiers have recently taken over at the base from the 40 Signals Regiment, after it disbanded last year.
After being greeted with a 15-second fanfare of God Save the Queen from the bagpiper, he was escorted past a quarterguard (a contingent of seven soldiers) and went indoors for a private meeting with Lt Col Owen Lyttle, commanding officer of the Second Battalion. The Army said the visit went well, and that after the private meeting the Prince had spoken with a number of troops before leaving later in the afternoon.
Yesterday evening he went on to Hillsborough Castle for a business event.
He has long-standing links with UK enterprise, and was a special guest at a gathering where several Northern Irish firms were giving presentations to potential investors.
Among the businessmen involved was Paul Brewster, founder of wave energy firm Pure Marine, who described it as a “fantastic opportunity for a young business like ourselves to connect into that sort of network”.
He jokingly added of the Prince: “He might be a potential investor – you never know!”
The Prince met members of the firms – ranging from bio-technology firms to the makers of inflatable children’s seats – as well as the Minister of State Andrew Robathan, and Frank Hewitt, chairman of the Northern Ireland Science Park.