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Friday, 12 April, 2002, 16:10 GMT 17:10 UK
Edward and Sophie on NI visit
The couple are now
The couple are now "full-time royals"
Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex have arrived in Northern Ireland on a two-day visit.

It comes little more than a month after the couple announced they were giving up their careers to become "full-time Royals", looking to the Queen for their income.

The couple arrived in the province on Friday and carried out a number of engagements.

They conducted the official opening of Elite Promotions new premises in Belfast Harbour Estate.

Cutting

The couple were met by Colin Anderson, Vice Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast, the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Jim Rodgers, Councillor Wallace Browne, Sheriff for the County Borough of Belfast, First Minister David Trimble and Economy Minister Sir Reg Empey.

Accompanied by Garth Corbett, Managing Director of Elite Promotions, Prince Edward and the Countess then undertook a tour of the premises.

The Royal couple then unveiled a plaque to commemorate the official opening of the premises.

Mr Corbett presented them with a Tyrone Crystal decanter after which the Royal couple departed for further engagements at Hillsborough Castle in County Down.

Charity

In the past, the couple have been accused of using their connections to further their business interests.

But in March, they announced they were standing down from their business roles to focus on charity work.

They are expected to extend the list of charities they support.

Over the next few months, the Palace is expected to start considering good causes for Sophie Wessex to champion.

Prince Edward is likely to increase the number of organisations he supports.

Prince Edward visited Northern Ireland in September 1999 as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

See also:

13 Apr 02 | UK
Duke defends Royal earners
14 Sep 99 | Northern Ireland
Royal visit to youth event
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