A Newbridge couple got a royal invitation to visit the palace of the King and Queen of Lesotho during their Majesties’ visit to Kildare last Sunday.
Thomas Ryan and his wife Margaret, from Moore Park, renewed their acquaintance with the royal family during King Letsie III and his wife Queen Masenate Mohato Seesio’s whistlestop tour of Newbridge Silverware.
The monarchs of the small southern African state arrived in Ireland last Sunday for a three-day official visit, which included a a meeting with President Higgins.
The Ryans lived in Lesotho between 1984 and 1990, when Mr Ryan, a former employee of Bord na gCapall, was asked to run a pony breeding project to improve the country’s bloodstock.
“We loved it out there, we had a wonderful time,” he told the Leinster Leader.
Mr and Mrs Ryan, who had also previously met King Letsie during his youth, chatted to the Royal couple during their Newbridge Silverware visit.
“They are a lovely family,” said Mrs Ryan. “We were invited back to the palace, and we’re always saying we’ll go back to Lesotho for a visit.”
While King Letsie III toured Newbridge Silverware’s production facilities during his Sunday afternoon visit, his wife inspected the company’s jewellery line.
The pair then toured the Museum of Style Icons. They seemed particularly taken with the little black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn, which is on display at the museum.
They were also shown Princess Diana’s wedding dress toile and veil, and garments worn by Princess Grace of Monaco.
King Letsie was spotted chuckling at the outlandish dancing costumes in the museum’s Michael Flatley display.
Newbridge Mayor Damien Molyneaux was part of the welcoming party, along with Kildare County Manager Michael Malone. Shoppers at the Visitors Centre seemed amused to be caught up in the kerfuffle of the royal visit.
Salesian nun Sr Mary Collins, who was visiting from Dublin to see the Museum of Style Icons, said: “We didn’t expect royalty to be visiting!” She planned to send pictures of the visit to the nuns’ sister community in Lesotho.