Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins will make history next year with the first ever official state visit to Britain at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth.

The Irish leader will stay with the Queen at Windsor Castle for two nights in April.

Queen Elizabeth will host a state banquet for President Higgins and will also hold a formal meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

He is also scheduled to hold talks with other party leaders at Westminster and with London’s Lord Mayor Boris Johnson.

The Irish Independent reports that President Higgins has met the Queen and members of the Royal family on many occasions since her historic visit to Dublin in 2011.

He again met the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in June last year at Belfast’s Lyric Theatre and has also met with the Queen’s daughter Princess Anne and the Duke of Kent.

London, Manchester, Liverpool and the island of Iona in Scotland have all hosted unofficial visits by President Higgins according to the report.

Former Presidents Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson also visited Britain in an unofficial capacity.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has welcomed news of the official visit.

He told the paper: “It is a further demonstration of the warm and positive relationship that now exists between the two countries.

“The State Visit in April, following on the very successful visit to Ireland by Queen Elizabeth in 2011, will be a wonderful opportunity to deepen this relationship even further.”

A statement from President Higgins office said: “President Michael D. Higgins is very pleased to accept an invitation from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to visit the United Kingdom from 8-10 April, 2014.

“The President will be accompanied on the State Visit by Mrs Sabina Higgins and the details of the program will in due course be announced jointly by Áras an Uachtaráin and Buckingham Palace.”