| 12.2°C Dublin

Fond memories Cork fishmonger recalls meeting 'down to earth' royals Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth

I was struck by the wonderful couple that they were. Very ordinary and she refers to him as Phil and it was just kind of really, ‘wow these are just the perfect mix really.’ "

Close

Queen Elizabeth II meeting fishmonger Pat O'Connell at Cork's English Market on her State Visit to Ireland in 2011

Queen Elizabeth II meeting fishmonger Pat O'Connell at Cork's English Market on her State Visit to Ireland in 2011

Queen Elizabeth II meeting fishmonger Pat O'Connell at Cork's English Market on her State Visit to Ireland in 2011

A Cork fishmonger who met Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on their visit to Ireland said that the Duke of Edinburgh “couldn’t have been more down to earth.”

Pat O’Connell, who runs a stall in the English Market in Cork City, met the royals on two occasions – once during their historic first-ever official visit to Ireland in 2011, and a second time when he was invited to Buckingham Palace.

Pat spoke to Newstalk’s Lunchtime Live this afternoon following the announcement today that Prince Philip had died at the age of 99.

The Cork man spoke fondly of the Queen and Prince Philip, who visited his English Market stall during their state visit.

Close

Queen Elizabeth is pleased to see fishmonger Pat O'Connell after they first met at the English Market in Cork in 2011

Queen Elizabeth is pleased to see fishmonger Pat O'Connell after they first met at the English Market in Cork in 2011

Queen Elizabeth is pleased to see fishmonger Pat O'Connell after they first met at the English Market in Cork in 2011

He said: “I suppose we all have our perceptions of these people when we meet them and sometimes the reality and the perception are quite different.

“To actually meet them, they couldn’t have been more down to earth; couldn’t have had a better sense of humour and couldn’t have had a better appreciation of the food that was on offer in the English Market.

“We just kind of hit it off like a hand in a glove really. We had fabulous craic that day and spent the whole few minutes we were together laughing and speaking about fish.”

Pat added that he was “struck” by how ordinary the couple were and said they were “just absolutely normal people enjoying their chat and the fun and the jokes.”

He explained: “I was struck by the wonderful couple that they were. Very ordinary and she refers to him as Phil and it was just kind of really, ‘wow these are just the perfect mix really.’

“We just hit it off and had a fantastic day and I think the English Market really shone on that day. It was a huge welcome to the city, with the crowds outside on the streets.”

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Pat was invited over to Buckingham Palace in 2014 and told listeners that he ditched the fishmongers uniform and “dressed up a little bit” for his royal visit.

“The Queen and Prince Philip walked in and the first thing she said was, ‘Oh, my fishmonger has come over,’” he said.

“You don’t expect a fishmonger from Cork to be in Buckingham Palace and to be picked out by the Queen as the first face she recognised, so I just thought, ‘Oh God.’

The fishmonger continued: “She just so loved being treated as a normal person with a normal sense of humour and a normal bit of fun and I think that was actually the magic on the day.”

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors


Privacy