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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Ireland struggled with how to decline invitation to Charles and Diana’s wedding after hunger striker Bobby Sands’ death, documents reveal

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  • Wedding invitation issued one month after IRA POW Sands’ death



Immediately after the death of hunger striker Bobby Sands, documents reveal that the Irishman was struggling with how to decline an invitation to Charles and Diana’s wedding.

The decision by then Irish President Patrick Hillary to decline the invitation raised concerns from the Dublin authorities.

Invitations were sent to Mr and Mrs Hillary for their wedding on July 29, 1981, and they were asked to respond by June 26.

A national document released this year by Ireland’s Foreign Office includes an explanatory document on how to respond.

The memo asked whether people should respond after the Irish general election or whether it would be “rude” to do so, but also pointed out that it could also be “rude” to respond immediately after an invitation. .

The wedding invitation was issued a month after IRA prisoner Sands died after a 66-day hunger strike in May 1981.
Concerns were raised by then Irish President Patrick Hillary’s decision to decline the invitation.

The memo also considered that since this is a “negative” response, it could be misinterpreted as not giving a good reason, so “it would be advisable to provide a diplomatic excuse.” was.

The document also weighs the pros and cons of attending, saying that invitations from “friendly countries” to “such” events should be accepted, but that if the president were to attend, it would be “prejudicial.” It added that it would invite comments.

The wedding invitation was issued a month after IRA prisoner Sands died after a 66-day hunger strike in May 1981.

“In the current situation in UK-Ireland relations, if the President were to attend, it is certain that very adverse comments would be made,” the document said.

It added that the refusal to attend would not “undermine political dialogue with London”, provided there was an “appropriate diplomatic excuse”.

On June 26, the last day for participants to register their attendance, the Irish Ambassador to the United Kingdom expressed his gratitude to the President for the invitation, but said, “I regret that I will not be able to attend due to prior commitments.”

“They have directed that their ambassador represent them on this occasion,” it added.

The wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul’s Cathedral in London in 1981

Separate press notes detailed how Ireland’s ambassador to London believed Princess Diana was “clearly ignorant or ignorant of the constitutional details” regarding Northern Ireland.

A 1993 memo details how the late princess referred to Northern Ireland as part of Ireland.

Ambassador Joseph Small wrote in a memo dated May 21: “Whenever I meet Prince Charles, he always says he wants to visit Ireland.

“Princess Diana has been there too. Early last year, she said to me, clearly ignoring or disregarding the constitutional niceties: ‘I was in your country yesterday!’



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