Prince Harry makes time for public during first official visit to Northern Ireland

Prince Harry was in Ballymena this morning to officially open the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service's new ambulance station in the town.

Making his first official visit to Northern Ireland, the young Royal met with ambulance staff at the purpose built facility at Ballee.

Prince Harry

Prince Harry

The Prince was met by Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant, Joan Christie and the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim.

Dignitaries at the event also included the High Sheriff of County Antrim, Ms Miranda Tisdale, and MP for the area, Ian Paisley.

Dressed casually in a blazer and chinos, the Prince appeared in no rush and enjoyed taking his time to chat to the ambulance crews at the new ambulance station.

Over 160 staff were present for the visit, with Prince Harry unveiling a plaque to commemorate his visit.

Prince Harry meets ambulace crews during a visit to Ballymena Northern Division HQ and Ambulance Station during a visit to Northern Ireland

Prince Harry meets ambulace crews during a visit to Ballymena Northern Division HQ and Ambulance Station during a visit to Northern Ireland

Before leaving for his next engagement, the young Prince also took time to meet with members of the public gathered outside, who had braved the elements for a glimpse of the Royal.

Among those he spoke to was Anne Magill from Ballymena, who was delighted the prince wished her a happy birthday, after being told it was her birthday today.

"He was just lovely," Anne said.

She added: "I love the royals, especially Harry, William and Kate.

Prince Harry arrives in Ballymena

Prince Harry arrives in Ballymena

"All I wanted was to catch a glimpse of him and never thought I'd get up actually speak to him.

"This is a birthday I'll never forget that's for sure."

The Prince also spoke to young fan Hannah Graham (3) and her mum Alison.

"He said to her 'your daddy works for the ambulance service, you must be very proud', " Alison said.

Prince Harry meets ambulace crews during a visit to Ballymena Northern Division HQ and Ambulance Station during a visit to Northern Ireland

Prince Harry meets ambulace crews during a visit to Ballymena Northern Division HQ and Ambulance Station during a visit to Northern Ireland

She added: "It'll not be until she's older that she'll appreciate and understand that she met a prince."

During his visit to Northern Ireland the 32-year-old will meet members of leading peace-building charity Co-operation Ireland.

Co-operation Ireland has worked for almost 40 years to build a shared and cohesive society within Northern Ireland and across the Irish border.

In 2012 it hosted a historic and highly symbolic handshake between late Sinn Fein deputy first minister and life-long republican Martin McGuinness and the Queen.

The organisation's aim is to promote dialogue and practical collaboration within Northern Ireland and with the Republic of Ireland.

The Prince of Wales has made a series of visits to both parts of the island in an effort to promote reconciliation.

Prince Harry before he left Ballymena

Prince Harry before he left Ballymena

Earlier this year he paid tribute to those who fought for Irish freedom in the 1916 Rising, laying a wreath at a memorial to those who died.

Mr McGuinness's former partner in government and ex-Stormont first minister Peter Robinson sits on the board of Co-operation Ireland.

Harry will meet a range of youth organisations from across Northern Ireland during the event at an arts centre in the town.

He will hear about a peace-building initiative which empowers young people across Northern Ireland to become ambassadors for peace within their communities, as well as details of Northern Ireland's national citizenship service.

He will conclude his visit with a garden party at the Queen's official residence in Northern Ireland, Hillsborough Castle.