Dates revealed for Queen's NI visit

Published Thursday, 31 May 2012
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Buckingham Palace has confirmed the dates for a visit to Northern Ireland by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, as part of the UK tour marking the Diamond Jubilee.

Dates revealed for Queen's NI visit
The Queen, pictured during a previous visit to Northern Ireland. (© Pacemaker)

The royal couple will visit Enniskillen and Belfast on 26 and 27 June.

According to the Queen's Press Secretary: "Further details of the programme will be confirmed in due course."

First Minister Peter Robinson has said he is "delighted" about the visit.

"It is also a sign of progress that Buckingham Palace has been able to give advance notice of the two day visit," he said.

"In the past, only a select few got to greet Her Majesty The Queen and most people would have been unaware that a visit was even taking place.

"This change in protocol will give people a great opportunity to demonstrate their fondness and admiration for Her Majesty by coming onto the streets to welcome her.

"When further details of the programme are confirmed in due course, the public will have the best opportunity in my lifetime to be able to see and greet Her Majesty the Queen."

This is testimony to the changed times in which we live.

First Minister Peter Robinson

Speculation has been rife that Sinn Féin deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will greet the Royal guest, providing the opportunity for the first official handshake between the Queen and a republican leader.

During his presidential campaign in the Republic of Ireland last year, Mr McGuinness said he would be happy to meet the Queen or hold talks with Prince Charles.

"I will be very, very pleased to meet with the Queen of England," he said, speaking about his suitability for the role of Irish President during a television debate.

"I know from speaking to certain Unionist individuals in the North who have been speaking to Prince Charles that he is looking forward very much to the day when he and I would have a meeting - not for the purposes for recrimination, but to ensure such an encounter would further boost the peace process."

Sinn Féin previously refused to meet the Queen, during last year's historic visit to the Republic - which they said was premature.

Despite that, Mayor of Cashel Michael Browne raised eyebrows when he became the first member of the party to shake her hand.

Earlier this week, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams told UTV that it would be a "huge thing" for someone from his party to meet the Queen - but admitted it was not a prospect he would rule out.

Meanwhile historian Eamon Phoenix said nationalists' opinions on the monarchy are changing.

"Suddenly, in the last 12 months or so, we have leapt forward on this island in terms of nationalism's perception of British royalty, Queen Elizabeth, the whole Unionist affiliation with the crown.

He added: "You saw really in the Royal visit last year the adulation in the south - even though it was a locked down visit. The visit was very popular."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Steve in Belfast wrote (967 days ago):
Oh dear, Irish Republicans are so MISERABLE!!! If you've nothing positive to contribute (and you clearly don't), just go away and leave people alone!
Davy McFaul in South Derry wrote (967 days ago):
Not my Queen, how is this old pensioner, born into a life of incredible wealth & privilege by some medieval notion of being "appointed by God" superior to anyone else? If the richest woman in the world wants to visit here let the serfs have their day fawning in their servile glory to inherited wealth and privilege I'll just get on with my normal life thanks. "We are recognised as a country that is at the forefront of being proud being British and part of the UK" neither the UK nor the state of NI is a "country" Blair.
Frosty in Here wrote (967 days ago):
@John in Belfast, "wee corner of her realm"? Are you for real? All Northern Ireland is to the English is a buffer state, an army recruitment centre and a forward trading post.
Bobby in DUBLIN wrote (968 days ago):
I was never a fan of the Royal family. But since her visit to Dublin last year, that's all changed, i really like the Queen and the Duke. I think she is a lovely woman. So many people in the Republic think the same. It has changed so many people's minds. The state visit was one of the most memorable days of my life. Every time i see it on TV it makes me smile. I wish the Queen a very Happy Diamond Jubilee, and to all the British, enjoy your extra long Bank Holiday. I hope one day The Queen returns to our city for another state visit. God Bless The Queen.
Simon in Four Winds wrote (968 days ago):
Marty - Her Majesty can visit any part of the United Kingdom any time she wishes. The electorate of the Republic of Ireland voted for Higgins. He is more than welcome in NI anytime. Are the citizens of Alaska Canadian?
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