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The Earl and Countess of Wessex visit Northern Ireland to celebrate jubilee

The Countess of Wessex during a visit to Belfast (Charles McQuillan/PA)
The Countess of Wessex during a visit to Belfast (Charles McQuillan/PA)

The Earl and Countess of Wessex have visited Northern Ireland to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The Earl and Countess first visited Belfast, where the Royal couple joined members of the public at a 1950s-themed celebration on Royal Avenue in the city.

The event is to mark the third day of festivities to mark 70 years since the Queen’s reign began.

Jubilee celebrations continued across Northern Ireland on Saturday, as large crowds gathered throughout the province to mark the occasion.

Platinum Jubilee
The Earl and Countess of Wessex speak to wellwishers in Bangor (Clodagh Kilcoyne/PA)

In Belfast, the earl and countess met groups of performers, including the Belfast Busking Band, and heard stories of the city’s diverse communities over the last 70 years, which is explored through fashion, photography, music and dance.

The earl also met older members of the local community, brought together by Age Friendly Belfast to share their memories and experiences.

Meanwhile, the countess joined in with special platinum jubilee craft activities, making crowns and corgis with school children, before viewing a showcase of fashion through the ages.

Platinum Jubilee
The Earl and Countess of Wessex cook omelettes with French chef Jean-Christophe Novelli during their visit to Bangor, Northern Ireland, as members of the Royal Family visit the nations of the UK to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. Picture date: Saturday June 4,, 2022.

The couple also tried a local delicacy, the Belfast Bap, and visited stalls at the retro jubilee market.

They also watched a community dance group perform a routine that celebrates the last seven decades.

The royal couple then headed off to their second engagement of the day and travelled to Bangor, Co Down.

On the beachfront of Bangor, which has newly been awarded city status, the Earl and Countess of Wessex joined members of the public to celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee at a vintage, seaside funfair.

Having viewed vehicles from the last 70 years, The Earl visited a 1950s pop-up diner, where he had was able to try his hand at pulling a pint of Guinness.

Platinum Jubilee
The Earl and Countess of Wessex attend a Platinum Jubilee celebration in Belfast, as members of the Royal Family visit the nations of the UK to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. Picture date: Saturday June 4,, 2022.

After successfully pulling a pint the famous Irish stout, he served it to a local customer.

Meanwhile, the Countess was put through her paces at a 50s and 60s dance demonstration.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex also met the winner of a local Platinum Jubilee Pudding Competition.

Their Royal Highnesses also meet Royal Navy sailors and RNLI crew.

To end their visit, the Royal couple went head-to-head in a cooking contest, chaired by professional chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.

The pair cooked up some scrambled eggs, with Mr Novelli declaring them joint-winners.

Meanwhile, a number street parties were held in Belfast to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee, including one in the Shankill Road.

Hundreds of locals thronged the closed-off street to watch a re-enactment of the Queen with her son, Prince Charles, as they passed through the area on a horse-drawn carriage.

Locals dressed up as members of the royal family and took part in a parade, while others were bedecked in the Union flag.

Platinum Jubilee
Gary Lenaghan beside the new Queen Elizabeth II mural on the Shankill Road (Peter Morrison/PA)

Community worker Gary Lenaghan said it was important to celebrated the Queen.

“We as a community have been through a lot. We have had four decades of the Troubles and two years of Covid so this is a community coming together,” he said.

“It’s a community that has always stood by each other and we are proud of its rich history and military history.

“It’s also recognition of family and what it means to us.

“We had the Jubilee parade, we had the unveiling of the Queen’s mural and had different bands, and Scottish dancers.

“It is important that everyone took part in these celebrations.”

Shankill native Julie, who did not want her surname published, said: “The Shankill has always been British and I believe we should celebrate our wee Queen who has reigned for 70 years.

“It is important for us, especially the way the protocol is, to strip away our Britishness, it is important to celebrate today.

“We love that the community can get back out today to show that we are still British and we always will be.

“I am part of the Women’s Act Group who have been getting get people on to the streets, got the mural open and have a festival, to let the Queen know she is not forgotten about.”