On Sunday, June 25, the Orange Order conducted their first annual parade in Petersfield since Covid, which onlookers say was marred by pro-IRA songs and heckling directed at the participants for half of the service. 

Meg Browning said: “My husband and I were in Petersfield Square on Sunday afternoon, and had the delight of watching the members of the Loyal Orange Association on their annual parade of the town.

"The Orangemen laid a wreath in the square and were listening to prayers being read by their lay preacher, when pro-IRA songs were played, and pro-IRA slogans were shouted, presumably to try to provoke the Orangemen. 

"Thankfully, they all remained dignified and disciplined. I would like to offer my thanks to the Orange members, and apologise to them on behalf of an offensive few - who are most certainly not representative of Petersfield Town."

The Orange Order is a conservative, British unionist and Ulster loyalist organisation which has traditionally opposed Irish republicanism. The parade and order commemorate King William of Orange, who defeated Catholic King James II.

The Portsmouth Lodge of the Orange Order was formed in 1927 and first met in Petersfield, were the parade is held each year to honour the statue of King William III or William of Orange in the square.

The iconic statue has been watching over the square for 200 years and is being sent to London for repairs on July 13 to 14.