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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Queen Visits Catholic Church in Northern Ireland

The Queen made her first visit to a Catholic church in Northern Ireland today at the start of a historic two-day visit which will also include a meeting with the former IRA commander Martin McGuinness.


After the unqualified success of the Queen’s first visit to the Republic of Ireland last year, the monarch’s Diamond Jubilee visit to Ulster marks another milestone in Anglo-Irish relations.

Although the Queen has been to Northern Ireland 19 times before, her bold itinerary includes visits that would have been unthinkable little more than a decade ago.

The focal point of the trip will be tomorrow’s meeting with Sinn Fein MP Mr McGuinness, who is now deputy first minister in the Stormont assembly but was an IRA commander when the terrorist group murdered the Duke of Edinburgh’s uncle, Earl Mountbatten, in 1979.

The Queen, so long regarded as a target by Mr McGuinness, is expected to shake hands with him when she meets him tomorrow, a moment that will be every bit as important to the peace process as her arrival in Dublin last year. 


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