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Princess Diana calls Northern Ireland part of the Republic

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A 1993 memo from Ireland’s ambassador to the UK said Britain’s Princess Diana had shown “a clear ignorance or disregard for constitutional fine points” regarding Northern Ireland.

The late British princess was noted to have referred to Northern Ireland as part of the Republic during an exchange ahead of her historic visit to Buckingham Palace by then 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.

The folder containing briefing materials for Mrs Robinson ahead of the visit includes a note by the Irish Ambassador in London, Joseph Small, in which the Princess Royal visits 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 would like to visit Ireland.”

“Of course, he visits regularly.” [sic] To Northern Ireland. Princess Diana also came.

“Early last year, she said to me, ‘I was in your country yesterday!’ in apparent disregard or disregard for constitutional niceties.”

The report also details the latest political developments in the UK, including notes on the Irish diaspora in the UK and the royal family ahead of what will be a significant visit as relations between Britain and Ireland deepen. It was.

Mrs Robinson’s visit to London is scheduled from 26th to 28th May, where she will receive a Doctor of Civil Law degree with a Diploma from Oxford University, become an Honorary Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford, and receive the Irish Post Award. was scheduled to be awarded. Celebrating the Irish in Britain.

At 5pm on the second day of the trip, Mrs Robinson was to pay a ‘courtesy call’ to Queen Elizabeth II, in response to the King’s invitation.

Among the topics likely to be discussed between Mrs Robinson and Queen Elizabeth include Northern Ireland, bombing atrocities in the region and the UK, cross-border issues and general relations between Ireland and the UK. It was mentioned.

Royal Family – The Queen and Mary Robinson Meeting – Buckingham Palace, London
Mary Robinson and Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace, 1993 (Martin Keene/Pennsylvania)

Mrs Robinson’s assessment of “her response on Somalia” and her “concerns” about Sudan, Yugoslavia and “Britain’s UN military involvement” were also noted.

The meeting was scheduled to last approximately 40 minutes and tea and snacks were to be provided.

Mr Robinson also attended the engagement, while the Duke of Edinburgh was in Liverpool to attend Remembrance Day.

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 compared the meeting at Buckingham Palace with Grace O’Malley, Queen of Connacht, who visited Queen Elizabeth I at Greenwich Castle in 1593, exactly 400 years ago.

“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.

Mrs Robinson’s special adviser responded that Mrs Robinson had read the letter with “great interest”.

This material can be viewed in the National Archives, file 2023/146/40.

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