What was said when King Charles III met Northern Ireland politicians at Hillsborough Castle

Clarence House has provided a glimpse of the new King’s conversations with Northern Ireland's leading politicians.

Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey and Michelle O’Neill, DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Alliance Leader Naomi Long, UUP Leader Doug Beattie and the SDLP’s Matthew O’Toole all held a meeting with the new monarch at Hillsborough Castle.

On meeting with Michelle O'Neill, King Charles III thanked the first minister in waiting for her "incredibly kind words" about his mother, the Queen.

Responding, Michelle O’Neill: “Well she played a great role here in terms of reconciliation and building our peace so it is the end of an era for sure.

King Charles III said it was "frustrating" his mother will never know the kind words said as part of his mother's many obituaries

"You never get to read your obituaries and all the nice things people say about you."

Michelle O’Neill added: “I know we don’t say enough about people when they are alive.”

UTV's Mark McFadden reflects on the Kings visit to Northern Ireland

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson welcomed the King to his constituency, while Alliance leader Naomi Long said the Queen was a "truly remarkable woman"

"We are all very saddened by her loss,” he added.

King Charles III described his mother's passing as "one of those appalling moments.”

The King questioned the leader of the DUP about the party’s position on the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol. Charles had a lengthy conversation with Sir Jeffrey Donaldson about the European Union and the ongoing issues surrounding the protocol at Hillsborough Castle, the royal residence in Northern Ireland. Sir Jeffrey told the new monarch that there are positive sounds coming from the EU side and that he was hopeful matters would “progress”. Naomi Long added: “She made wonderful contributions in terms of reconciliation here and I think gave other people permission to be generous which is a wonderful gift and wonderful legacy to leave.”

The King expressed a keen interest on the topic during his talks with Sir Jeffrey and other Northern Ireland political leaders.

Before the King’s arrival, the atmosphere among the political leaders was relaxed with Sir Jeffrey and Ulster Unionist leader Doug Beattie sharing a joke.

UUP leader Doug Beattie offered his, and his party's condolences to the King.

"Very sad times," he said, "very moving times I have to say and our thoughts are with you all at this difficult time.”

King Charles III: “It is so wonderful that so many people want to express their thoughts and feelings.”

SDLP Assembly leader Matthew O'Toole also offered his condolences.

“Our deepest condolences and thank you for what your mother did for all of Ireland and relations between the islands," he told the King.

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