Britain's Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are "looking forward to building a lasting friendship with the Irish people" during their first official visit to Ireland, Kensington Palace has said.

During the three-day visit the couple will meet President Michael D Higgins, political leaders and spend time in Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Galway.

The visit, from 3-5 March, will highlight the strong links between Ireland and the UK, and the couple's programme will take in cultural events, community initiatives and scenic visits, the palace said.

The statement added: "Following Her Majesty the Queen's historic visit in 2011, the visit will also focus on the relationship between the two countries, and build on the theme of remembrance and reconciliation."

It also said: "The UK's links with Ireland are extensive, and the duke and duchess are looking forward to building a lasting friendship with the Irish people."

The Cambridges' trip, which unusually was announced in advance, is likely to be seen as a diplomacy visit in the wake of Brexit.

The Queen's historic visit was made amid unprecedented security and she became the first British monarch to travel here in 100 years and the first since independence.

She bowed her head in the Garden of Remembrance to pay tribute to the rebels who rose up against British rule in 1916, spoke Irish in an address to a state banquet and visited Croke Park.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have made five visits to Ireland over the past five years, a sign of the closer Anglo-Irish relations ushered in by the Queen's tour.

The statement added: "During the three-day tour, the duke and duchess will learn about local organisations working to support and empower young people and projects which provide opportunities to help them develop important life skills.

"Their Royal Highnesses will also hear more about Ireland's conservation initiatives and efforts to protect its environment, with a particular focus on sustainable farming and marine conservation.

"2020 will see Galway host the European Capital of Culture on behalf of Ireland, a showcase of events highlighting the richness and diversity of Irish culture, art and sport.

"During their time in Galway, the duke and duchess will have the opportunity to experience a taste of modern and traditional Irish culture for themselves."