Kate Middleton heckled by woman during royal visit to Northern Ireland

Kate Middleton has been praised for her 'graceful' response after being heckled by a woman at a meet and greet in Northern Ireland.

The Prince and Princess of Wales were welcomed by hundreds of people in Belfast when a crowd member shook Ms Middleton's hand while saying, "nice to meet you, but it would be better if it was when you were in your own country".

While surprised, she appeared to quickly laugh the comment off and move on to eager royal fans to the left of the woman, who then shouted 'Ireland belongs to the Irish' while still recording on her phone.

A photo of Kate Middleton at Belfast, Northern Ireland at a meet and greet when a woman sledged her in the crowd by suggesting she should not be visiting.
Kate Middleton was in Belfast, Northern Ireland at a meet and greet on Thursday when a woman in the crowd suggested she should not be visiting. Source: Irish Mirror

The incident, footage of which has gone viral, occurred in an area of Belfast that is considered predominantly nationalist, according to the Irish Mirror.

While most of Ireland became independent from Great Britain in 1949 after years of conflicts, Northern Ireland remains part of the UK, which is still a sore spot for many people.

People react to woman's behaviour on social media

Most of the reactions online were of shock and confusion, much like the blonde influencer, Laura-Ann, holding her baby, who had a momentarily look of puzzlement before smiling again in anticipation as the Princess of Wales approached her after the heckler.

"How very rude," one person said on Twitter.

"If you don't like the Royals, don't turn up to an event with Royals present," said another.

"Have a referendum then instead of throwing snide comments at a woman," a third person said.

Many also praised Ms Middleton's response to the woman's comments.

"The Princess of Wales handled the situation with grace," said one person. "She kept calm and carried on."

"Princess of Wales pretty much outshin(ed) that moment," another one said.

Why was Kate Middleton in Belfast?

Ms Middleton was sledged by the woman outside the Public Initiative for Prevention of Suicide and Self Harm (PIPS) charity, which was the royal couple's first stop when visiting the city, local publications report.

There, both the Prince and Princess of Wales spoke to the charity's staff about their own work to prevent suicide and self-harm. They also participated in art-therapy and painted pumpkins with children supported by the PIPS.

PIPS was founded in 2003 after 14 young people lost their lives to suicide in Belfast over a short period of time the year before.

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