Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive in Ireland for first official foreign visit as royal couple
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive in Ireland for first official foreign visit as royal couple

THE Duke and Duchess of Sussex will arrive in Dublin today for their first official royal engagement overseas as a married couple.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Irish visit was confirmed in a statement on the official Twitter account of Kensington Palace last month, which read: "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will visit Dublin, Ireland on 10th & 11th July. The visit is at the request of Her Majesty’s Government.

"They are looking forward to learning more about Ireland's history and experiencing its rich culture, as well as meeting the people who are shaping the country's future."

The royal couple will meet both President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during their relatively short two-day trip.

They will also visit a number of Dublin's main cultural attractions, including the Irish Emigration Museum, EPIC - where the Duchess will learn about her Irish ancestry.

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One of the 36-year-old's ancestors was Mary McCague - who was born to William McCague and Brigid Galaher in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway in October 1829.

Researchers found that Mary married a British Soldier, Thomas Bird, before the pair moved to Malta where Thomas was transferred by the Cheshire Regiment in June 1860.

Years later the couple's daughters, Mary and Hattie, travelled across the Atlantic Ocean to North America - and the rest, as they say, is history.

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This evening, Prince Harry will accompany his American bride to a summer party at the British Ambassador's residence, with the guestlist including members of the Irish arts, sporting, military and social enterprise communities.

On the itinerary tomorrow is a visit to Croke Park and the Book of Kells at Trinity College Dublin, as well as the Famine Memorial at Custom House Quay and EPIC.

The royal couple with also meet with young people interested in coding when they visit the startup hub Dogpatch Labs in Dublin 1.

The choice of Ireland for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's first official foreign trip holds special significance given the impact of Brexit on the Irish border and the Queen's focus on strengthening British-Irish relations.

It is expected that the visit will conclude sometime on Wednesday evening.