As part of her Diamond Jubilee tour around the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, will make a two day trip to Northern Ireland in June. Buckingham Palace confirmed that the British royal duo will make stops in Belfast and Enniskillen.
The Irish Independent reports that the Queen made visits to the North during her Silver Jubilee tour in 1977 during the height of The Troubles and also during her Golden Jubilee year in 2002.
In a statement, Buckingham Palace said "As previously announced, the Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, will visit Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour of the United Kingdom. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness will visit Enniskillen and Belfast on June 26 and 27. Further details of the programme will be confirmed in due course."
The Queen’s last visit to Northern Ireland was in 2010, but other members of the royal family have made tours of the province since then. More recently, the Queen made a historic visit to the Republic of Ireland last year.
The Queen, during her Irish tour last year, made a symbolic gesture by laying a wreath on Republic's Garden of Remembrance which is dedicated to all those who fought for Irish independence from Britain.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, a former IRA commander, indicated that he may meet the Queen during her tour next month. A handshake between the two would be another hugely symbolic gesture, one that would be an important indicator of the progress of the peace process in Northern Ireland.
While speaking at a conference in Dublin last month, McGuinness said that the Queen’s upcoming Northern Ireland visit would be “making clear that the enormous progress that's been made in recent times has been made because politicians have been prepared to compromise.
"Compromise to me in the peace process is never a dirty word,” added McGuinness.
"There are big challenges ahead for all of us. Not just for me, but others in the process. We all have to be big enough to rise to these challenges. Am I big enough to rise to these challenges? Absolutely. My track record shows that's the case.”
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