Red faces in Ireland over coronation quips by Leo Varadkar’s partner

Red faces in Ireland over coronation quips by Leo Varadkar’s partner –

When Ireland’s leaders attended the coronation of King Charles III it was hailed as a milestone in relations between Dublin and London.

President Michael D Higgins, the taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Michelle O’Neill set the precedent – their predecessors had shunned previous coronations – to show respect to their neighbour.

Varadkar’s partner Matt Barrett, however, did not get the memo. In the VIP motorcade and in Westminster Abbey he posted a series of irreverent comments on Instagram to his private group of more than 350 followers.

“Holy shit I think I’m accidentally crowned king of England,” he posted from the taoiseach’s car as they approached the abbey on 6 May.

The posts, reported in the Irish Times on Saturday, have embarrassed the government and landed Varadkar in a fresh diplomatic blunder.

Once inside the abbey Barrett, a consultant cardiologist, ignored an injunction in the order of service booklet to switch off his phone and posted jokes and observations on the ceremony.

A paragraph from page 38 in the booklet caught his eye. “The queen’s sceptre and rod are brought from the altar by the Right Rev and Right Hon the Lord Chartres GCVO and the Right Rev Rose Hudson Wilkin CD MBE, Bishop of Dover. The queen touches them in turn,” it said.

Barrett posted a photo of it with a green line around the last sentence. “Sounds like the script to a good night out, tbh,” he said.

In the list of participants he noted the Right Rev James Newcome, who has the title Clerk of the Closet. Barrett highlighted this, saying, “Had this job until my early 20s.”

Later he posted a photograph of Charles wearing his crown and compared it to the sorting hat in the Harry Potter books. “Was genuinely half expecting it to shout ‘GRYFFINDOR’,” he wrote.

Some commentators said Varadkar, who caused a flap in March by joking about Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, had not added to the Irish delegation’s dignity by being filmed picking his nose.

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