Category: current
Updated: 16/04/18 : 06:28:05

Sligo's mixed reaction to 'Duke and Duchess of Connaught'

Could Prince Harry and Meghan Markle about to become the Duke and Duchess of Connaught?
Could Prince Harry and Meghan Markle about to become the Duke and Duchess of Connaught?

The queen, who traditionally hands out new titles on royal wedding days, will choose from a shortlist of extinct royal dukedoms.

Some royal experts are not ruling out the possibility that she could opt for Connaught, a dukedom created by Queen Victoria for her third son, Arthur, in 1874, which became extinct less than 70 years later.

However the possibility of such a dukedom being announced has had a mixed reaction in Sligo.

In Mullaghmore in Co Sligo, self-confessed royal fan Caroline Devine said she believed the titles Duke and Duchess of Connaught would suit the newly-weds well.

"I remember there was a time when you would certainly not have had a mug of the queen in your home, but that's all gone now."

Caroline, who lives in Classiebawn Castle, the former home of Lord Mountbatten, the great uncle and mentor of Prince Charles who was killed with three others in an IRA explosion in 1979, met the prince when he visited Mullaghmore in 2015.

"It felt like a terrible weight was lifted off the place that day," she recalls.

Caroline adds that the young generation of royals are much loved by young people in Ireland.

"There's no question about it and Meghan is an independent woman who has made her own money and is well able for the public role. It's as if she has been born to it.

"Making Prince Harry and Meghan the Duke and Duchess of Connaught would be as much an acknowledgement of the Irish who have done well in the UK as of the Irish here."

But not everyone shares her sentiments. Noted Mullaghmore author Joe McGowan, who has written extensively on the history of Sligo, says he wouldn't be greeting any such news with rapture.

"It would be appalling and an anathema to any real Irish person. If they want to give dukedoms over in England, they can give them away in abundance. It doesn't bother me, but I think they should keep their noses out of Connacht."

          Author and historian Joe McGowan with Classiebawn Castle in the background.

Royal commentator Noel Cunningham, hotel manager at Harvey's Point in Co Donegal, was proud to welcome Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, to Donegal two years ago - and is convinced the environment has never been more positive.

"It is not beyond the realms of possibility that almost as a nod and a courtesy to Ireland and the new-found 'détente' that has developed between both countries, that the English foreign office would advise the queen that this is a good time to resurrect that title," he says.