Charles rounds off NI public engagements meeting young people from across divide

Prince Charles completed his final public engagement in Northern Ireland, watching children from across the divide singing and dancing together.

Arriving at Brownlow House in Co Armagh, Charles was greeted by the sound of bagpipes before meeting one of his very youngest namesakes, two-week-old Charlie.

The baby is the son of DUP MLA Carla Lockhart who was rushed to hospital during a local council election count to give birth.

Royal visit to Northern Ireland – Day 2
Royal visit to Northern Ireland – Day 2

Ms Lockhart said: “Little Charlie arrived quite hastily just over two weeks ago at the election count, he was born weighing six pounds, three ounces.

“The prince today was inquiring after him and what weight he was. It was just such an honour to meet Prince Charles and little Charlie enjoyed it as well.

“We were able to tell him that he was just two days older than his latest little grandchild Archie.”

Royal visit to Northern Ireland – Day 2
Royal visit to Northern Ireland – Day 2

Moving through the historic Lurgan property, Charles met members of the Orange Order and Royal Black Preceptory.

Lambeg drummer Colin McCusker was among those who enjoyed a quick chat with the special visitor.

Former Ulster Unionist councillor Mr McCusker said Charles had heard the powerful Lambeg drum in action during a visit to Co Armagh two years ago.

Royal visit to Northern Ireland – Day 2
Royal visit to Northern Ireland – Day 2

“He was told about my father being MP for the area for 16 years and asked had I ever thought about following in his footsteps. I said I’d just left in the last week or two which he seemed to find quite funny,” he said.

“I had been asked to bring one of my Lambeg drums with me, he had experienced those when he visited Loughgall two years ago, they played for him outside, so he had remembered how loud they were, so maybe that’s why he didn’t ask me to play for them – they are not really an inside instrument.”

The visit to Brownlow House finished with music and dance as school children from across the divide performed for the prince.

A joint choir of pupils from St Ronan’s College and Lurgan Junior High sang for Charles before young Ulster Scots and Irish dancers came together to put on a joint performance for him.