PRINCE William and Kate Middleton are planning to escape the Harry and Meghan controversy with a visit to Ireland.
The Sun has learned that officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs are finalising arrangements for the royal couple to go in March .
Buckingham Palace is hoping that coverage of a historic visit by the future king to Ireland could be the perfect distraction to the fall-out over Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's announcement they would be quitting as royals and move to Canada .
Aides are now locked in talks about the future of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after their bombshell announcement.
Meghan, 38, is still in Canada after reportedly telling friends life with the royals was "soul-crushing" . Harry is expected to head to North America in the coming days to reunite with his wife and son Archie.
But despite the couple's decision to up sticks, members of the Royal Family including Kate and Wills are putting on a brave face and continuing their duties as normal.
Prince William returned to royal duties the day after crunch talks with his brother , Prince Charles and the Queen-seen smiling as he held court.
And details of a trip to Ireland come after he and Kate also headed to Bradford this week.
Details of royal trips are always closely guarded secrets until shortly before the event due to security concerns.
But insiders say William, 37, and Kate 38, will take part in a series of engagements over two days which will most likely take in Cork and Dublin .
Tourist bosses believe a visit by the royal pair would boost Ireland as a holiday destination after a drop off in British visitors to the Republic in the past year due to Brexit.
In 2011, Prince William's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, became the first monarch to visit this country since 1911 during a four-day stay in May of that year — famously enjoying a walk through Cork's English Market.
William and Kate are the latest major royals to visit Ireland. Charles and Camilla have made five trips since 2015, with the prince sharing a joke with former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams at a reception in Dublin in 2017.
And in 2019, Prince Harry and Meghan embarked on a two-day royal tour to the Emerald Isle, their first official trip outside England as a married couple.
On that stopover, they visited Croke Park and the Book of Kells at Trinity College and met President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
However, William is said to be even keener on Ireland.
A colonel of the Irish Guards, he has been previously snapped celebrating St Patrick's Day with a pint of Guinness and presented shamrock to officers and guardsmen of the First Battalion of the Irish Guards at Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow in west London.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have visited Northern Ireland twice in recent years.
In 2016, and in February last year when, during a two-day trip, they played football at Belfast's Windsor Park, took part in a canoe race in Co Fermanagh, visited the Roscor Youth Village, a residential centre for children, before pulling pints at a reception for young leaders at Belfast's famous Empire Music Hall.
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During that trip, Prince William made a stirring speech calling on people to “come together for the common good”.
It was widely interpreted as a plea for unity over Brexit — and echoed comments made by the Queen in her Christmas Speech.
William, speaking at an event to celebrate the region's inspirational youngsters, made his call for harmony as he praised Northern Ireland Olympic legend Mary Peters, who won gold in the women's pentathlon at the 1972 Games.