WATCH: How Connie the Corgi caught King Charles III’s eye in Hillsborough

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For crowds that gathered to meet the new King and his Queen Consort in Hillsborough today it was a bittersweet visit.

Sharing his grief for the loss of his mother last week, they were also keen to give him a warm welcome and pass on their warm wishes for his reign.

Eleanor Flynn travelled from just outside Hillsborough with her Corgi, Connie, who caught the eye of the new King - a poignant reminder of his mother’s favourite breed of dog.

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“She did indeed [catch his eye], she got a stroke on the head and a shake of the paw, so a royal seal of approval,” Eleanor told the News Letter proudly.

King Charles told her: ‘We have a lot of those at home’.

“So he definitely recognised her as a Corgi and I am sure he has seen plenty in his lifetime with the Queen having so many,” she added.

It is now a very special memory for Eleanor. “It really is. It was really nice to meet him and he was such a lovely guy. It was really nice for him to take the time to meet people... and take time to have a little conversation with them.”

She affirmed that Connie got a lot of wider attention on account of being the Queen’s favourite breed. “She has indeed and she has been absolutely loving it...she has brought a smile across a lot of people’s faces.”

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Susan McCague from HillsboroughSusan McCague from Hillsborough
Susan McCague from Hillsborough

Susan McCague from Hillsborough was pleased just to catch a glimpse of the royal couple.

“I was absolutely delighted,” she said. “I got quite an up close one, so it was just an incredible experience and a lovely atmosphere here this morning.”

Like so many, the passing of the Queen had a profound impact on her. “It was the end of one era and the start of another... it is a bittersweet day today really, the sadness with the Queen’s passing, but - long live the King!”

Anna Robinson from Carryduff noted how the excitement had been building for some time waiting for the King.

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“But it was all worth it,” she said. “It is definitely a big day to go down in history.”

She agreed the royal couple got a warm welcome. “The people of Hillsborough and wider [afield] were very welcoming of the king and very happy with his arrival.”

She added: “It is the start of a new era and we have a new king and we know he will do just as good a job as the Queen.”

Seb Ferson from Meadowbridge PS in Hillsborough was one of the fortunate few to shake hands with both the King and the Queen consort. Seb told the News Letter: “He said to me, ‘Had I got a day off school?’”. Happily, he was able to confirm that he had. Moments later he was also greeted by the Queen consort, who also shook his hand. Not surprisingly, Seb concluded that he felt “really good” from the whole experience.

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Sebastian Ferson from Meadowbridge PS in HillsboroughSebastian Ferson from Meadowbridge PS in Hillsborough
Sebastian Ferson from Meadowbridge PS in Hillsborough

Jacqueline Boyd from Hillsborough was particularly moved to meet the new King after a very moving encounter with the Queen in 2005, when the monarch opened the new Hillsborough Village Centre and Primary School.

On that occasion, she said, the monarch personally spoke with everyone present - about 70 people. It was “a lovely welcome for them to come up and see local people from the villages” she said of the new King and Queen consort..

History conscious Alan Tyndall from Hillsborough drank in everything about the visit. Only a few years ago he created a video on the history of the village. “And of course this is a really historic day in the village, so it would be criminal not to be here,” he said.

Speaking of the Queen’s passing he said: “You couldn’t say it was a surprise but it was certainly a shock. No matter what political persuasion you are or what religion you are, she was an outstanding woman and did an outstanding job.”