Royals take in sights and tastes of NI agri-food at Balmoral Show

Showgoers at Balmoral Park were in good company this afternoon (September 23) as HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and HRH Sophie, Countess of Wessex, spent the afternoon at the showgrounds.

The royal couple were in Northern Ireland for two days beginning their visit with a reception at Hillsborough Castle for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s 50th Annual British Isle and Mediterranean Region Conference (BIMR) on Wednesday evening.

This afternoon’s itinerary included a visit to the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum, where the museum’s handloom weaver weaved a damask linen napkin commissioned to commemorate the granting of Royal status to nearby Hillsborough Village. The village will officially become ‘Royal Hillsborough’ later this year.

The final engagement for The Earl and Countess of Wessex was at the Balmoral Show.

Their Royal Highnesses met organisers, exhibitors and participants at the annual agricultural event, which showcases the very best of Northern Ireland’s agri-food and rural sectors.

Touring the Eikon Exhibition Centre in Lisburn, the Earl and Countess visited the equestrian arena, cattle hall and Northern Ireland Food Pavillion.

The pair also enjoyed dinner at the Member’s Pavillion and called into the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society headquarters to sign the official guestbook.

Prince Edward last visited the show in 2017, a year which also saw Prime Minister Theresa May among show attendees, and opened the show in 2013.

Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots, UK Brexit Minister Lord Frost, UK Climate Change Committee chairman Lord Deben and Defra Secretary George Eustice were among other dignitaries attending the show today.