Northern Ireland

Rathlin guesthouse denies royal snub

The Earl and Countess of Wessex also visited the Giant's Causeway
Image caption The Earl and Countess of Wessex also visited the Giant's Causeway

The Earl and Countess of Wessex have dined at a pub on Rathlin after their lunch at the island's only guesthouse was cancelled.

Prince Edward and his wife were originally meant to have dined at the Manor House, but this was changed on Monday.

Its owner Damien McFaul denied they were not welcome there. He said he had cancelled the visit due to a lack of information about security arrangements and who was coming.

"We felt that not knowing who the guests were left us in position where it was difficult to accept the booking for a number of reasons.

"One of these reasons is concern about the media attention that this may have brought to our family home where we live with our son on Rathlin," he said.

"Another is that we have guests staying in the house on a daily basis and were worried that it may intrude on their privacy.

Mr McFaul said the event organisers did not tell him about the security policy on the day of the event.

"We only found out through the local community about the strict security measures.

"This concerned us greatly, it made us apprehensive as to who was being brought into our home."

The NIO said it would not comment on the arrangements surrounding the visit.

The Earl and the Countess eventually dined at the local pub and continued the first royal visit to the island by visiting the primary school, bird sanctuary and visitors' centre.

Earlier, they had visited the Giant's Causeway.