Irish President Patrick Hillary’s decision to decline an invitation to Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding in 1981 may be seen as a snub within the government. concerns arose.
The president decided not to attend immediately after receiving the invitation from Buckingham Palace.
According to a newly declassified state newspaper, senior foreign ministry officials said any formal response needed to be carefully worded.
Officials said, “It is difficult to simply convey our regret for not being able to attend without a legitimate reason, and there is a strong possibility that it will cause misunderstandings both domestically and internationally.”
“The press will always ask the reason for your absence.
“From the perspective of the Protocol, invitations from friendly heads of state to such events should be accepted unless there are compelling arguments against this course of action.”
The ministry noted the sensitivity regarding the timing amidst the H Block hunger strike. “If you look at the current state of relations between the UK and Ireland, I’m sure there will be some pretty unfavorable comments.” [in the Republic] What if the president were to attend the royal wedding? ”
However, Hillary did not attend, incurring the ire of the British press. David Bryce, principal secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, described the president as “an outback man living in the past.”
Eventually, Edward Kennedy, the Irish ambassador to Britain, wrote to Buckingham Palace informing them that the president was unable to attend due to prior commitments. Kennedy attended the wedding as a representative of the Irish government. (File 2023/47/2319)
Princess Diana ‘ignores’ constitutional preferential treatment for Northern Ireland
Ten years later, Princess Diana reappears in the files when Ireland’s ambassador in London comments on her “ignorance or disregard” for the constitutional state of Northern Ireland.
The late princess referred to Northern Ireland as part of Ireland in an exchange recorded ahead of a historic visit to Buckingham Palace by Irish President Mary Robinson.
The May 1993 meeting marked the first time a sitting president of Ireland visited the United Kingdom and visited Queen Elizabeth II.
A folder containing briefing materials for the President of Ireland ahead of the visit includes a memo by Irish Ambassador Joseph Small stating that Princess Diana was visiting Ireland in a private capacity for an equestrian event. He said he did.
Small’s press conference notes, dated May 21, 1993, said: “Whenever I meet Prince Charles, he always says he wants to visit Ireland.”
“Of course, he visits Northern Ireland regularly. Princess Diana has also come.
“Early last year, she said to me, ‘I was in your country yesterday!’ in apparent disregard or disregard for constitutional niceties.”
Potential topics for discussion between Robinson and the Queen included Northern Ireland, bombing atrocities in the region and the UK, cross-border issues and general relations between Ireland and the UK.
One observer wrote to Downing Street before the visit, drawing similarities to “the last meeting between an Irish female leader and the British monarch.”
The author likens the meeting at Buckingham Palace to the visit exactly 400 years ago, in 1593, by Grace O’Malley, Queen of Connacht, to Queen Elizabeth at Greenwich Castle.
“Grace was a Mayo woman just like you!” Dr. Donald Martin of Killybegs, County Donegal, notes that the language spoken at the time was Latin.
Mr. Robinson’s special adviser responded that the president had read the letter with “great interest.” (File 2023/146/40)
Trinity College in Dublin demands ‘high-level apology’ for not inviting Robinson player
The chancellor of Trinity College Dublin has expressed displeasure at the government’s decision not to invite the university’s chancellor to the inauguration of former TCD professor Mary Robinson as President of Ireland in 1990.
William A. Watts wrote to the Foreign Office four days after the ceremony, complaining that Frank O’Reilly had not been invited to the ceremony.
He demanded an apology for what he perceived as being snubbed and pointed out that TK Whittaker, chancellor of rival National University of Ireland, had been invited.
He wrote that Trinity was relieved that university presidents were not invited to the ceremony at Dublin Castle, a decision taken by the Taoist Ministry.
Mr Watts said it was “very strange” that Mr Whittaker was present when the president of the university Mr Robinson had represented in the Seanad for many years was not.
“I don’t think anything other than an apology from a senior official is enough,” he wrote.
The department responded to the letter, but the response was not satisfactory to Watts. (File: 2023/47/2503)
NI Police’s new name had to be a ‘face-saver’ for Trimble
Records from 2000 show that the new name for the Northern Ireland Police Service, replacing the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), was a “face-saving” need for David Trimble.
A meeting between Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern at 10 Downing Street on 31 July that year discussed opposition, demilitarization and House of Commons facilities for Sinn Féin.
This meeting was held after the original decommissioning deadline of May 2000 had passed.
The Northern Ireland Police Independent Commission, chaired by Chris Patten, made recommendations in 2001 that led to the RUC becoming the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
According to a memo sent by Ireland’s ambassador to the UK, Ted Barrington, Blair said it was important to leave something behind for unionists during the hour-and-a-half meeting.
Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, had come under intense pressure after signing the Belfast Agreement with the party in 1998.
It needed to be made clear not only that “RUC is not a name used,” but that it “has not been erased from history.”
He said the chief constable agreed that “double names” were impossible, but “unionists didn’t want it rubbed in their faces”, adding that in Britain and Ireland “the government We need to be smarter in our approach,” he added.
“If David Trimble didn’t have a face-saving formula to his name, we would be in real trouble. I needed to make sure it was.”
“We’re not going to be overturned by the police bill,” Trimble said.
Mr Ahern said he “doesn’t feel at all” that nationalist and republican leaders are “triumphant”, adding that Gerry Adams “want police reform to work and is a young nationalist”. I really wanted a police service that people could participate in.” (File 2023/154/4)
Roger Casement’s ‘Black Diary’ remains an ‘unfortunate episode in Anglo-Irish relations’
Former Taoist teacher Bertie Ahern has called on Tony Blair to “uncover the truth” about Roger Casement’s infamous “Black Diary”.
Casement was hanged in August 1916 for his involvement in the Easter Rising. He had been arrested after being washed ashore in County Kerry by a German submarine on Good Friday 1916.
As part of an attempt to discredit Casement, the British government informed the media of the discovery of his incriminating diary. These allegedly included graphic details of Casement’s activities with young men at a time when homosexuality was illegal.
In December 1999, Ahern reminded the British Prime Minister that Casement’s body had been repatriated to Ireland in 1965.
“There is still intense historical debate about the authenticity of certain diaries that he is said to have kept in addition to his traditional diary,” Ahern added.
“Is it possible that the Home Office and the intelligence services, even so far apart in time, can shed the full light on the truth?
“It should be possible to set the historical record straight and somehow resolve the issue, given that it is a matter of fact rather than a value judgment, but it is not possible to end the unfortunate episode in Anglo-Irish relations. It is of great value to both communities and, of course, to Northern Ireland’s heritage.”
It is not clear from the files what support the British government gave in the process of unraveling the truth, as the Black Diary remains a controversial issue to this day.
Former British Prime Minister says there is no excuse for Bloody Sunday
Almost 30 years later, Edward Heath, British Prime Minister at the time of the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre, told Irish diplomats that he would “make no excuses” for the Derry shootings that day.
Over lunch at his London mansion in 2001, Heath told the Irish ambassador to the UK, Dicey O’ Shealey, that he still felt he needed full-time police protection because of Bloody Sunday. .
“He told me personally that he was not going to make any excuses for what happened on Bloody Sunday. “He never expected me to do something like that,” he said. “,” O Seeley’s notes from the meeting said.
Mr Heath referred to the Savile investigation which was ongoing at the time and said it was right for the soldiers involved that day to be able to give evidence away from Derry as it could have put their lives at risk. .
At the end of his memo, Mr. Ó Seeley added the following observation: “What I find extraordinary is that there is no understanding of what happened in Derry when British troops shot dead 13 unarmed civilians in a country that is supposed to be governed by Derry.”Law of. ”
A formal national apology for Bloody Sunday was not issued until June 2010, when British Prime Minister David Cameron called the shootings “unjust and unwarranted.” (File: 2023/155/22) — Additional report PA