Sun greets William and Kate at Hillsborough Garden party

The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, Guests of Honour and the Secretary of State are pictured at the Annual Garden Party in Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland
The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, Guests of Honour and the Secretary of State are pictured at the Annual Garden Party in Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have arrived to a Co Down bathed in sunshine for a royal garden party at Hillsborough Castle.

They met a host of dignitaries, including Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster, on the steps of the historic building for the playing of the national anthem.

Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016

The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, Guests of Honour and the Secretary of State are pictured at the Annual Garden Party in Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland.

Photographer - �Matt Mackey / Press Eye

Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, Guests of Honour and the Secretary of State are pictured at the Annual Garden Party in Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland. Photographer - �Matt Mackey / Press Eye

The couple then made their way to the gardens where they chatted with guests.

Catherine wore a coat by Day Birger et Mikkelsen and a hat by Lock & Co.

She also wore a brooch presented to her as a wedding gift from the Irish Guards.

The region’s secretary of state has hosted the garden party event annually since 1984.

The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, Guests of Honour and the Secretary of State are pictured at the Annual Garden Party in Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland

The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, Guests of Honour and the Secretary of State are pictured at the Annual Garden Party in Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland

Around 2,500 guests were invited by Theresa Villiers this year, with attendees drawn from a wide cross-section of Northern Ireland society, including the voluntary and community sectors, local charities and youth organisations.

The occasion is only the second time the Royal couple have visited Northern Ireland together - and their first visit together since they married

The last time was in March 2011, only weeks before their wedding.

On that occasion Catherine tossed pancakes at Belfast City Hall and hammered in fence posts at Greenmount Agriculture College in Co Antrim.

Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016

The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, Guests of Honour and the Secretary of State are pictured at the Annual Garden Party in Hillsborough Castle

Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, Guests of Honour and the Secretary of State are pictured at the Annual Garden Party in Hillsborough Castle

The Duchess of Cambridge attends the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers' Garden Party at the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down

The Duchess of Cambridge attends the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers' Garden Party at the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (centre) attend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers' Garden Party at the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (centre) attend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers' Garden Party at the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down