William and Kate on first visit to Northern Ireland as Prince and Princess of Wales

The Prince and Princess of Wales are in Northern Ireland for a day-long visit to the region. William and Kate are fulfilling a number of engagements with cross-community organisations that provide support to people from all backgrounds.

They began with a visit to suicide prevention charity PIPS in north Belfast before heading to the city centre to make cocktails at Trademarket and then visiting a community project in Carrickfergus.

The couple also hold the title of Baron and Baroness of Carrickfergus.

As part of a series of engagements on Thursday, the Royal couple visited PIPS charity in north Belfast where they were greeted by Lord mayor Tina Black and Sinn Fein MP for the constituency John Finucane.

Inside, 12-year-old Elyse Quinn, the daughter of the charity's executive director Renee Quinn, presented the princess with a bouquet of flowers.

PIPS was founded in 2003 following the loss of 14 young people to suicide in Belfast over a short period of time the previous year.

Compelled to act, stakeholders from across the city came together to try to tackle the issue.

During their visit, William and Kate spoke with staff about their work helping people at risk of suicide and self-harm.

The charity also arranged for them to take part in an art therapy session, painting pumpkins, with some vulnerable children who have been supported by PIPS.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the organisation has seen a significant rise in those reaching out for help.

Prince William meeting Sinn Fein MP John Finucane.

That includes an increase of more than 500% among young people. At the close of their visit, the prince and princess joined a group of volunteer counsellors in packing up the charity's Little Boxes of Hope.

The support packages are given to children following their time with PIPS to assist their ongoing recovery and ensure that their parents and guardians feel better equipped to cope.

After the visit to PIPS, the couple travelled into Belfast city centre to view Trademarket, a new outdoor street-food and retail market where they took part in a spirited cocktail making race.

The Prince and Princess of Wales are presented with flowers by 12-year-old Elyse Quinn. Credit: PA

After William was declared winner, the couple heard more about the Trademarket enterprise which transformed a previously vacant site, aiming to showcase new businesses while also increasing footfall in a less visited area.

They also met with representatives from Kainos, a Belfast-based software company provided the site for the market at a peppercorn rent.

The final visit of the day was to the town of Carrickfergus in Co Antrim. The royal couple were greeted by cheering crowds who had lined the streets as they arrived to visit youth charity Carrick Connect which offers support services to local young people experiencing social or emotional difficulties.

On their first stop, the couple met with people from the suicide-prevention charity PIPS in north Belfast.

There they were met by Belfast Lord Mayor Tina Black and North Belfast MP John Finucane.

The Princess of Wales is given flowers during a visit to PIPS Suicide Prevention (PIPS Charity) in Belfast. Credit: PA
The Prince and Princess of Wales talking to Lord Mayor of Belfast Tina Black. Credit: PA

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