Protester grabs Princess of Wales’s hand and tells her ‘Ireland belongs to the Irish’ during royal tour

The Princess of Wales was confronted by a protester who told her that “Ireland belongs to the Irish” during a walkabout of Northern Ireland.

The incident occurred on Thursday while Kate Middleton and her husband Prince William were greeting members of the crowd during a visit to north Belfast, with a video shared on social media showing the Irish woman confronting the royal.

“Nice to meet you but it would be better if it was when you were in your own country,” the woman, who appeared to be filming the interaction on her phone, was heard telling Kate as she shook her hand.

The statement was met with a continued smile from Kate, who appeared to laugh in shock, before dropping the woman’s hand.

As Kate turned to greet other individuals in the crowd, the woman, who was still filming, added: “Ireland belongs to the Irish.”

The exchange took place on the city’s Antrim Road after William and Kate visited suicide prevention charity Public Initiative for Prevention of Suicide and Self Harm (PIPS) during their day-long trip, which marked their first visit to the country since the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

While visiting the charity, the couple spoke to staff about their work helping people at risk of suicide and self-harm, and participated in an art therapy session.

Princess of Wales continued to smile throughout the confrontation (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Princess of Wales continued to smile throughout the confrontation (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Following the brief meet-and-greet outside the charity, the prince and princess travelled to Trademarket, an outdoor market in Belfast’s city centre that has been set up as a site for food and retail businesses. During the visit, the couple competed against one another to see who could make the fastest cocktail.

For their last stop of the trip, the couple travelled to Carrickfergus, where they visited Carrick Connect, a charity dedicated to helping teens facing social or emotional difficulties. There, their arrival was met by cheering crowds.

Kate and William’s visit to Northern Ireland comes after King Charles III visited Belfast for the first time as monarch last month. During the visit, Charles, who was accompanied by his wife Camilla, Queen Consort, travelled to Royal Hillsborough, where the couple greeted the crowds of people who had lined up to meet them. The couple later spent time viewing floral tributes left outside Hillsborough Castle in honour of the late Queen.