Royal handlers of Prince Harry and Meaghan Markle were understandably cautious over a late March visit paid by the couple to Belfast, Northern Ireland. The goodwill visit was kept secret in light of the rocky history of tensions and violence between the country and England that took nearly four decades to be resolved.
The couple were there to chat with next-generation citizens of Northern Island doing their part to bridge better relations that were severed back in the 1960s, when the Irish Republican Army sought to oust the ruling Brits, an objective that was complicated by rifts between Northern Ireland's Catholic and Protestant populations.
Doing his part to mend those difference was Prince Harry, who spearheaded his Amazing the Space initiative that enticed the country's youth to become peaceful examples in their respective municipalities and communities. Once Harry and Markle landed, they had an audience with some of those ambassadors to hear accounts of their own reconciliation projects.
On March 23, the 2,000 kids, assembled in Eikon Exhibition Centre, initially thought they were attending a forum to exchange ideas and be kept abreast of progress in the Amazing the Space project. Instead, they were taken by a surprise announcement that Harry and Markle were in attendance specifically to hear what the young ambassadors had to say.
“The previous generations have caused such problems, but with your help it can never happen again," said Harry to the assembly. "You’re trying to educate the older generation which is just amazing. Well done. Clean the slates guys, you got this!”
The prince also engaged himself in discussions with several of the youths, and seemed genuinely interested in what they had to say. Harry, who's fifth in line to the throne, but will become sixth when his famous sister-in-law the Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to another heir later this month, has a personal stake in the project he started. Not only was the IRA conflict a huge black mark on the Commonwealth his family leads, it also was responsible for the death of his great uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten was killed by an IRA-planted bomb on his boat in 1979.
The rest of this visit included a stop at The Crown Liquor Saloon, the cornerstone of Belfast's historical structures under the curation of National Trust, which ensures the preservation of buildings seen as vital to Northern Ireland's heritage.
The couple also visited the popular Titanic Belfast tourist attraction, site of the construction of the famous ocean liner that sank off the east coast of North American in 1912.