|Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Ireland was a “huge turning point” in her reign.
Ireland became a republic on April 18, 1949, and historically based anti-monarchist sentiment meant Britain’s queen had never been able to visit, until a historic occasion last year, when she made her first official state trip, which her grandson Prince William has explained how much it meant to her.
He told the BBC: “It’s like a door that’s been locked to her for a long time and she’s been dying to see what’s behind the other side to it. Because many people won’t understand not being able to go somewhere or see something for a long time, for her almost like being a child not allowed to go into a certain room.
“It’s very much a case of Ireland being off limits, and she’s always wanted to go and be able to in some official capacity, so it was a huge turning point for her.”
After her momentous trip to the Emerald Isle, the queen said she had enjoyed it greatly.
TV presenter Diarmuid Gavin spoke to Queen Elizabeth at the Chelsea Flower Show in London afterwards, and explained: “I said to the queen, ‘Thank you for coming to Ireland and as a reward I brought my garden over. She said, ‘I had a brilliant time.’ “
During the visit, the queen unveiled a statue marking her visit, met with jockeys and was offered prime racing horse sperm for one of her own mares, took a tour of the Guinness Storehouse where the famous beer hails from, as well as attending a state dinner at Dublin castle.