29/04/2011

Carrickfergus Gets 'King Billy' Accolade

As all eyes turned to Westminster Abbey today an historic seaside town in Co Antrim has been boosted with a royal accolade.

'King Billy' is set to return to Co Antrim with the future King William IV - Prince William - and Kate Middleton becoming the Baron Carrickfergus and the Baroness Carrickfergus.

King William III - 'King Billy' landed in Carrick in 1690 to join his army which defeated King James at the famous Battle of the Boyne - to establish the current royal line - and led eventually to the current Queen Elizabeth II - Prince William's grandmother.

Carrick's Mayor Jim McClurg said this news added to the excitement over the wedding: "It's an extreme thrill for the people of Carrickfergus to have this honour bestowed on them. It's taken us completely by surprise."

"We certainly hope this means we can expect a special royal visitor in the near future," he commented.

Buckingham Palace also said today that the pair have received both the titles of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and will also be the Earl of Strathearn and Countess of Strathearn - which is a Scottish title.

Meanwhile, last night, the then Catherine Middleton stayed along with her family at the Goring Hotel in Belgravia - which was recently worked on by Rathfriland interior contracts firm 3 Interior Contracts Ltd.

Another NI connection saw David Rodgers, a piper from Maghera, welcoming in Royal newlyweds Prince William and Kate Middleton to their evening reception at Buckingham Palace.

The official 'lone piper', who now lives in Warminster, has been a member of the Irish Guards for the last 20 years, the regiment in which Prince William holds the post of Colonel.
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This happened after The Queen gave her formal approval for the honour in early 2011 to see the prince take a close interest in the lives and activities of the regiment's personnel.

William, 28, succeeds Major General Sir Sebastian Roberts who previously held the post.

The second-in-line to the throne already held honorary ranks in the RAF and Royal Navy.

In 2006 he was made Commodore-in-Chief of Scotland and Commodore-in-Chief of Submarines, and two years later was appointed Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Coningsby near Lincoln.

William is the Irish Guards' first royal colonel and its Colonel-in-Chief is the Queen.

He was wearing the tunic of an Irish Guards officer rather than his RAF uniform as he married Kate Middleton and has honoured the regiment by walking down the aisle in the scarlet uniform.

He was also wearing his Garter sash and star, Royal Air Force 'wings', and Golden Jubilee medal.

The decision is unexpected as the prince is a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF working as a search and rescue helicopter pilot, and could have worn the uniform of the air force.

Ulster Unionist Roy Beggs, the East Antrim Assembly candidate, has expressed his delight at the announcement that the Prince William has been granted the title Baron of Carrickfergus'.

Roy Beggs said: "Given our local history, the Baron of Carrickfergus is a very appropriate title to be granted to Prince William on this his Wedding day.

"I hope that it will not be too long before Prince William, Baron of Carrickfergus and his bride will visit east Antrim and view our Norman Castle and the spectacular Antrim Coast Road for themselves.

"Prince William and the Baroness Carrickfergus can be assured of a very warm local welcome," he said.

(BMcC/GK)

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