An Irish schoolboy wrote a letter to Queen Elizabeth II asking her to give back the six counties of Northern Ireland after studying the Easter Rising.
To the surprise of him, his mother and everyone else, he got a reply from Buckingham Palace!
Reece Kilbride of St Helen’s school in Portmarnock had been learning about the Easter Rising and was confused as to why Northern Ireland had remained part of Britain when the rest of the country was granted independence.
He decided to take his query straight to the top and wrote a letter to Queen Elizabeth asking her to give the rest of the island back.
Reece, who is 12 years old, told Newstalk Breakfast: “We were learning about the Easter Rising and how much trouble they brought to Ireland and that they had the six counties – they didn’t give back all of Ireland, so I thought they should give it back.”
He took great care in writing his letter to the Queen. Reece’s mum Fiona explained: “I told him he had to be nice to her, don’t say anything mean and put ‘Your Majesty’ on the letter.”
Reece also added a picture of himself, his friend and the Queen in front of Buckingham Palace. He posted it in February but his mum told him he was unlikely to get a reply.
Then, several weeks later, to the surprise of everybody, a letter was delivered to Reece. Fiona said: “I got home and there was a letter open on the counter and it looked like nice paper and it looked official and then I noticed the Buckingham Palace logo.
“To be honest I found it quite hysterical.”
The letter contained a message to Reece from a member of the Queen’s staff, Deputy Correspondence Coordinator Jennie Vine. It read:
“Dear Reece, The Queen has asked me to thank you for your recent letter in which you wished to tell Her Majesty that you have been learning about the history of the Easter Rising 1916.
“While it was thoughtful of you to let The Queen know of your views, I must explain that this is not a matter in which Her Majesty would intervene. As a constitutional Sovereign, The Queen acts on the advice of her Ministers and remains strictly non-political at all times.”
“Her Majesty has asked me to thank you for the pictures you drew especially for her, and I would like to send you and your family my good wishes at this time.”
So Reece has not succeeded in having Northern Ireland made part of the Republic, but does have a personal letter from Buckingham Palace!