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William and Kate to praise those who have overcome division in Northern Ireland

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are in Northern Ireland today on a two-day trip where they will praise how the community here has come together.

The carefully planned visit – which was kept secret until their arrival in Belfast this afternoon - will acknowledge how much division has been overcome in the last twenty years.

The arrival of the royal couple is very sensitive as the UK border with the Republic of Ireland remains at the centre of the fractious Brexit negotiations.

The Duchess of Cambridge speaks with members of the public as she arrives for a visit to Windsor Park, Belfast as part of a two day visit to Northern Ireland. Credit: PA

They will be at engagements in Belfast, Balleymena and County Fermanagh during the visit.

Fermanagh is close to the border with the Irish Republic.

William and Kate will head first to Windsor Park in Belfast – the Northern Irish national football stadium.

The Football For All campaign run by the Irish FA has worked to rid sectarian elements from the game to unite all communities through football.

  • Duke and Duchess of Cambridge playing football at Windsor Park

As the Duke and Duchess will praise the sport for helping to bridge the divide in Northern Ireland, it will be seen as a subtle reminder to politicians in both Westminster and Stormont to overcome their differences.

The Stomont Executive remains suspended following a dispute between politicians from the two parties in the devolved government, the DUP and Sinn Fein.

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There will be no direct mentions of Brexit or Stormont from William and Kate.

The Royal Family must always operate above politics.

But the visit is yet another sign that senior Royals are concerned about division at a time of great economic and political uncertainty.

The Duchess of Cambridge speaks to crowds in Northern Ireland. Credit: Press Association

At a Women’s Institute visit in Sandringham last month, the Queen urged politicians to respect "different points of view" and should come together "to seek out the common ground".

She said: "These approaches are timeless and I commend them to everyone."

The Queen also made similar remarks in her Christmas Day broadcast.

How to keep the UK-Irish border fully open after the UK leaves the European Union has been the biggest stumbling block in the Brexit negotiations.

The Democratic Unionists and many Brexiters in the Conservative Party have rejected Theresa May’s plan for the so-called ‘backstop’ solution.

They fear it could leave Northern Ireland with a different set of customs regulations from the rest of the UK and effectively put a form of trade border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Therefore, Prince William and Kate both have a careful path to tread over the next 48 hours.