Royal Visit: As It Happened

Published Tuesday, 24 June 2014
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With Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh undertaking a full day of engagements during their visit to Northern Ireland, from visiting Crumlin Road Gaol to the set of Game of Thrones, UTV’s live blog captured the day’s highlights in pictures, videos, tweets and more.

3 clips available

The first of Tuesday's engagements for Her Majesty and Prince Philip was a tour of Crumlin Road Gaol in north Belfast, with First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

During the Troubles, both politicians were held at the jail - which has since been transformed into a popular visitor attraction.

The second day of their three-day visit also saw the Royal couple visit the set of HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones, which is filmed in Titanic Studios in the east of the city.

They met some of the cast - including Kit Harington who plays Jon Snow and Ballycastle's Conleth Hill, best known as master manipulator Lord Varys.

St George's Market opened specially for a visit from the Royals, who then attended a civic lunch at Belfast City Hall where local produce was on the menu.

Later, the Queen and Prince Philip enjoyed a garden party at Hillsborough Castle and planted a tree to commemorate the visit.

On Monday, the monarch had held a private meeting at Hillsborough with the First and deputy First Ministers. It was the first one-to-one meeting between Her Majesty and Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness.

Mr McGuinness said it had been a "useful meeting" and that his engagements with the Queen were an "opportunity to reach out the hand of friendship to the unionist community".

This, the 21st visit to the region by the Queen and Prince Philip, has marked a noted change with planned engagements publicised in advance, in contrast to past trips by the monarch which have been kept closely guarded due to security fears.

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Royal Visit
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Tomorrow's another day ...

As the garden party is the last of the Queen and Prince Philip's engagements for the day, we're going to bring our live blog to a close.

You can still catch up with all the developments from throughout the day.

And the Royal visit is set to continue on Wednesday, when Coleraine town centre will don 1914 era attire as part of the World War 1 commemorations.

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Commemorating the Royal visit

The Queen was invited by Patricia Corbett, Head of Hillsborough Castle, to plant a tree to commemorate her visit.

Commemorating the Royal visit (©Harrison Photography)
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Garden party guests

Invited guests at Hillsborough include PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott and Brigadier Ralph Wooddisse, Commander 38 (Irish) Brigade.

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have also met with a number of other PSNI officers and military personnel, as well as Peter Sheridan and a number of guests representing Co-Operation Ireland.

Dr Richard Haass is also present.

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From Hillsborough
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Royal autographs

Earlier, the Queen and Prince Philip signed the visitors' book at Belfast City Hall ...

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Weather watching ...

Will the weather hold up for this afternoon's garden party at Hillsborough Castle? The skies are looking fairly overcast, but hopefully the guests won't get wet!

The Queen and Prince Philip will be the guests of honour, joining around 2,000 other invited guests for the garden party hosted by the Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.

Weather watching ... (©Harrison Photography)
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The Queen's speech

Before lunch, the Queen addressed the guests at the civic reception at Belfast City Hall. Watch her speech now ...

Queen’s city hall visit

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'Astonishing journey'

Earlier, at Crumlin Road Gaol, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness spoke about the Royal Visit to Belfast.

"As I've said before, the Queen could conjure up reasons why she shouldn't meet with me and me also not with her," he said.

"The fact that we have chosen to rise above that, and to do that recrimination free, sends a very powerful message to everyone about the importance of reconciliation."

Watch now ...

Reaction: Martin McGuinness

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All in a day's work ...
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From City Hall ...
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Earlier ...

First Minister Peter Robinson spoke about the Queen's visit, during her first engagement of the day at Crumlin Road Gaol.

"You can see the transformation that has taken place here - I think it's akin to the transformation of Northern Ireland itself, where we've moved from conflict into a period of stability and peace," he said.

"I think Her Majesty will be aware of that symbolism."

Mr Robinson also told UTV's Sharon O'Neill that Prince Philip had been the one to question him about his own past connection to the gaol where he was once held as an inmate.

Watch now ...

Reaction: Peter Robinson

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The Royal menu
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Queen hails historic return

The Queen stands to address those gathered, noting that it is the first time in "nearly half a century" that she has been in Belfast City Hall.

"It is a pleasure to be back," the Queen said.

During Her Majesty's speech, she added: "Peace-making is not always an easy task, but you have come this far by turning the impossible into the possible.

"And as you face the future, and difficulties that may appear insurmountable, always remember that the thoughts and prayers of millions, including my own, are with you."

Queen hails historic return (©UTV)
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Lord Mayor address

New Lord Mayor of Belfast Nichola Mallon addresses those gathered in the City Hall and tells them her heart is "bursting with pride" for the city and its people.

She adds that the Queen's visit shows the importance of Belfast and the affection the Royals have for the city.

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Guests gather for lunch
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Pipe band greets the Queen

Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Band play for the Queen and Prince Philip as they arrive at Belfast City Hall for a Civic Reception.

The Royal guests, greeted by Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon and Belfast City Council Chief Executive Peter McNaney, will meet elected members of the council over pre-lunch drinks.

Guests for the lunch have been invited from across Belfast, representing a wide range of organisations.


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One young man appears to just maybe have managed a selfie with the Queen ...

Selfie! (©UTV)
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Present for George

More gifts and little Prince George is not forgotten - the Royals were also presented with a t-shirt for him with the Harland and Wolff cranes, Samson and Goliath, on it.

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No purchases yet ...
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Shopping time!

The Queen and Prince Philip have arrived at St George's Market for a tour of the stalls.

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The Iron Throne

Perhaps best not to take a seat. After all, Robert Baratheon did warn: "It is a monstrous uncomfortable chair ..." That's one for the GoT fans!

The Queen was presented with her very own miniature replica though. We're a little bit jealous!

The Iron Throne (©UTV)
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Meeting the cast

The Queen is meeting some of the cast of Game of Thrones, including Jon Snow (played by Kit Harington), Sansa and Arya Stark (played by Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams), and Cersei Lannister (played by Lena Headey).

Ballycastle-born actor Conleth Hill, who plays master manipulator Lord Varys, also greeted the Royal visitors.

The Queen is right beside the Iron Throne, but hasn't taken a seat. Yet!

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Comparing wardrobes

The Queen's own attire always draws a lot of attention, but now the Royal visitor is having a look at some of the costumes and props from hit fantasy series Game of Thrones.

Weapons Master Tommy Dunne is also on hand to show off some of the swords and armour from the show.

The HBO series has been filming across parts of Northern Ireland, transforming it into the land of Westeros.

Comparing wardrobes (©UTV)
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Fit for a queen ...

Richard better get up quick!

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Game of Thrones awaits
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Gifts for the visitors

Before departing from the gaol for their next destination, the Queen was presented with a posy of flowers, while Prince Philip received a bottle of 15-year-old 'Dannyboy' whiskey.

Gifts for the visitors (©UTV)
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Signing the visitors' book

The Queen has penned her signiture in the Gaol's visitors books.

Since it's life as a prison ended, the site has been transformed into a tourist attraction.

During the Royal visit today, the Queen is hearing about the regeneration work that has gone on there and also about plans for a boutique whiskey distillery within 'A' wing by the Belfast Distillery Company.

Signing the visitors
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Also detained ...

Sinn Féin's Martin McMcGuinness was jailed there for over a month in 1976 on a charge of IRA membership that was later dropped in court.

Also detained ... (©Pacemaker)
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Former inmates ...

Both Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness are former inmates of Crumlin Road Gaol.

DUP leader Mr Robinson was detained on a number of occasions during the 1980s for his involvement in protests against the controversial Anglo Irish Agreement ...

Former inmates ... (©Pacemaker)
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The Queen arrives

Cheering crowds greeted the Royal visitors outside the gaol.

The Queen is wearing a lemon outfit by designer Angela Kelly - including a silk dress with a floral design, a wool tweed coat and a matching hat adorned with petals.

The Queen arrives (©UTV)
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The arrival ...

The Queen and Prince Philip have arrived at Crumlin Road Gaol for the first of today's engagements.

The Royals are greeted by Dame Mary Peters, then shake hands with First and deputy First Ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness and Belfast Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon.

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Welcome to our live coverage of the Royal visit

With the Queen and Prince Philip undertaking a second day of engagements during their visit to Northern Ireland, you can follow our coverage here in our live blog.

We'll be bringing you the latest from our reporters, in tweets, pictures, videos and more.

Right now, crowds are gathering in north Belfast in preparation for the arrival of the Royal visitors.


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© UTV News
Comments Comments
Robert Spotten in Coleraine wrote (214 days ago):
I was delighted to receive a commission for a brooch to be presented to the Queen during her visit to Coleraine. I do hope that she liked it!
Joe in Co Down wrote (219 days ago):
The tv pictures tells us a different story than their political rantings. Our leaders are working together and trying to move forward but some from their parties are living in the past and incite conflict. Both Ire & GB have moved on long ago and the Queen is now welcome into any part of this island. Even to Dublin in 2016.
Iseult in NI wrote (219 days ago):
It was lovely to see the Queen in Coleraine yesterday. I'd seen her once before when she came to the Ulster University during her silver jubilee year. I remember my mother telling me she'd seen the Queen and Princess Margaret in London during WW2, though of course she was Princess Elizabeth, not Queen, at that time. My mother said the Queen was really beautiful as a young woman, and I must say she still looks great at the age of 88. I'm glad the whole NI visit went well, it's nice to see normality returning to NI instead of the tensions and fears of precious decades.
James in Comber wrote (220 days ago):
The coverage looked great on the TV. So good to see Her Majesty & Prince Philip enjoying their welcome to Northern Ireland. To watch them walking about to see how far we have come, and the people of this province having the freedom embrace them. Well done Northern Ireland.
edel hayes in portstewart wrote (220 days ago):
great day so pleased to see HRH in person at garden tea party, Hillsborough. More beautiful than what Tv makes her look. Long may she reain. So proud .
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