Published Thursday, 31 May 2012
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