Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has warned the Irish government to give due consideration to any invitation to the royal family to attend the centenary celebrations of the 1916 Rising.

The former IRA commander issued his words of caution just two weeks after shaking hands with the queen at Windsor Castle during the state visit to Britain by Irish President Michael D Higgins.

The Irish Independent reports that Northern Ireland’s deputy First Minister is ‘reluctant’ about the prospect of a royal visit during the 2016 commemorations.

He said, “Such a proposal must be debated in a sensible way. Some historians have suggested that a visit by the queen and other members of the royal family could be considered inappropriate.”

The decision to invite 'the Royals' to the 1916 centenary was first raised by Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny when President Higgins visited Britain as a guest of the Queen.

McGuinness shook the Queen’s hand in the grand hall of Windsor Castle at a state dinner during that tour and complimented the Queen on the role she played in building the peace process.

He has refused, however, to say whether he would meet members of the royal family if they are invited to commemorate the Easter Rising.

McGuinness added, “I think what we have to commemorate first and foremost is the Easter Rising and all those heroes who liberated this part of Ireland.

“I believe the focus of the Irish people will be on remembering those who lost their lives in the Easter Rising.

“I think we need to come at this sensibly. I think it is much too soon to presume who is going to be attending.

“My focus and I think the focus of the Irish people has to be on those people who gave their lives for Irish freedom and of course all of those who have suffered since as a result of conflict.”