Queen begins two-day Northern Ireland visit
Published: 26th Jun 2012 11:40:59
The Queen has arrived in Northern Ireland for a two-day visit as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour.
Her flight was delayed due to bad weather and had to be diverted, but the Queen and Prince Philip have now landed outside Enniskillen, County Fermanagh.
Thousands of people have been lining the streets to welcome the Royal couple.
They are due to attend a service of thanksgiving to mark the Queen's 60-year reign.
Her itinerary will include a meeting with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
NI Secretary Owen Paterson said her Stormont visit would have been "unthinkable" years ago.
"This is a chance to move Northern Ireland a whole step forward," he said.
Visits by the Queen to Northern Ireland are normally kept secret until arrival.
This one has been officially announced in advance - a sign of the improved security situation - however, some protests are expected.
The service at St Macartin's Cathedral in Enniskillen on Tuesday is being attended by senior Protestant and Catholic clergy. More than 700 people have gathered for the event.
Enniskillen was the scene of one of the worst atrocities of the Troubles when an IRA bomb killed 11 people on Remembrance Sunday in 1987.
Twenty-five years on, the Queen will meet Sinn Fein's Mr McGuinness on day two of her visit, at an arts event in Belfast.
Ireland's head of state President Michael D Higgins and Stormont First Minister Peter Robinson will also be there.
In his first interview since the meeting with the Queen was announced, Mr McGuinness described it as "taking a risk for peace".
The two-day visit will be the Queen's 20th trip to Northern Ireland.
Some protests by dissident republicans are expected, but an anti-royal demonstration in Belfast at the weekend only attracted about 300 people.
The Queen's ground-breaking four-day visit to the Irish Republic last year cemented a new era in British-Irish relations.
In spite of speculation that the handshake between Mr McGuinness and the Queen would be off-camera, Mr McGuinness said he had no objection to the encounter being photographed.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Queen begins two-day Northern Ireland visit. [Online] (Updated 26 Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news.php/1436903-Queen-begins-two-day-Northern-Ireland-visit [Accessed 19th May 2013]
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