In the weeks before their marriage in 2011, Prince William and Kate Middleton surprised and delighted well-wishers with a visit to Belfast.
For security reasons that trip to Northern Ireland had to be kept secret, and there was only a small crowd to greet them when they arrived at City Hall.
But word travels, and they emerged from the building to a much larger number of cheering bystanders that day.
Yesterday, Prince William’s younger brother Harry also made a pre-wedding visit to Northern Ireland with his fiancee, Meghan Markle. The visit was part of what has become a tradition ahead of a royal wedding, of the engaged couple touring the United Kingdom.
One of the people who withstood the rain outside the Crown Liquor Saloon to see Harry and Meghan was Maud Dugan from Newtownards, with her husband Ken (on their 33rd wedding anniversary). “It brings a lovely bout of happiness amid the doom and gloom,” said Maud.
There has been plenty of doom and gloom alright, with major political and social problems locally and further afield, on a range of issues.
But the public appetite for royal weddings is seemingly as strong as it has ever been.
In this case the bride-to-be is an intelligent and glamorous American. Meghan Markle was made very welcome in Northern Ireland yesterday, and we hope to see much more of her after she weds her prince.