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Britain's King Charles III is considering an official state visit to Ireland following his coronation in May.
Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, former Irish Ambassador to the EU and the UK Bobby McDonagh said the monarch has a "special affection" for Ireland.
"It would not be unreasonable to think that King Charles will visit Ireland at some point," Bobby said.
"I think a visit to the North is a separate question, because it would be surprising if after his coronation he didn't visit all the different parts of the United Kingdom.
"It wouldn't be unreasonable to think he will come Ireland at some point, even though there are very many parts of the world he could visit.
"Irish-UK relations are of particular importance to both countries, and I think he has a special affection for Ireland.
"I think, if and when it does happen, it would be highly important because state visits play an important role in relations between other countries".
The visit would be "highly important", says former Irish Ambassador Bobby McDonagh. Image via Shutterstock
Restoring EU relations
Mr. McDonagh also spoke about the King's other scheduled visits in Europe, intended to help restore relations between the UK and the EU.
"Prior to his coronation he's already visiting France and Germany; those will be his first state visits.
"They send a clear signal that's in line with [British] Prime Minister Sunak's wish to restore relations with the EU.
"I think a further state visit to Ireland, especially after the recent difficult few years with the Northern Ireland Protocol and so on, would send a message", he said.
King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla, image via Shutterstock
A special place
The former Irish Ambassador also divulged that King Charles "holds a special place for Ireland", and that he always "comes away with his spirits lifted" after spending time with Irish people.
"He's also conscious of the historic role that his mother played in improving British-Irish relations with her state visit in 2011", Bobby added.
Header image via Shutterstock
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