President Michael D Higgins meets Prince Charles in Liverpool on day two of trip to England
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President Michael D Higgins meets Prince Charles in Liverpool on day two of trip to England

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has met with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in Liverpool on the second day of his state visit to England.

The Irish President and his wife Sabina Coyne attended an event at the Victoria Gallery and Museum alongside the royal duo to celebrate the culture, history and people of the Merseyside city.

President Higgins and the Prince of Wales signed a patronage agreement to become joint patrons of Liverpool University's Institute of Irish Studies in a historic move first announced in 2017.

Prof Dame Janet Beer, vice chancellor of UoL, said: "The Institute of Irish Studies plays a huge role in shaping the relationship between our islands, through its research, events, student programmes and expertise.

"This visit provides an excellent opportunity for us to showcase this important work."

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Charles and Camilla also met with Nelson Mandela's daughter Makaziwe Mandela during their stop-off in Liverpool, after she donated a set of her father's drawings for permanent display at the city's St George's Hall.

After saying their goodbyes to President Higgins, the royal pair visited Liverpool's Royal Albert Dock to celebrate its new royal status ahead of the 175th anniversary - which falls in 2021.

On Monday, President Higgins said the "dark days" of Ireland and the UK's relationship are "behind us" despite Brexit on a trip to Birmingham which also saw him pay tribute to the 21 people who died in the 1974 pub bombings in the city.

Speaking at Birmingham Town Hall, the Limerick native said "the deep friendships which have grown between Britain and Ireland" will be more important than ever in the wake of the UK leaving the EU.

"We will still continue to live in the shadow of each other."

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On Wednesday, President Higgins will have a further day of engagements before departing for Dublin.

The final day of the 77-year-old's trip will see him visit the headquarters of the Liverpool Irish Association, as well as the Liverpool Central Library and the Liverpool World Museum.