Sinn Fein leader Martin McGuinness will officially meet Queen Elizabeth at a special Co-Operation Ireland event in Northern Ireland on Wednesday of next week, IrishCentral has learned.
It will mark an historic breakthrough in the history of Ireland and Britain as the North’s Deputy First Minister becomes the first Sinn Fein leader ever to meet a British monarch.
The Queen is visiting Northern Ireland as part of her 60th jubilee celebrations, however, the meeting will fall outside of those activities.
For Queen Elizabeth, who is titular head of Britain’s armed forces, it also represents a significant moment as she recognizes the Sinn Fein leadership. SInce its inception in 1905, Sinn Fein has fought to remove the British crown from Ireland.
Her close relative Lord Louis Mountbatten was blown up by the IRA in 1979 while on vacation in the Irish Republic.
The decision to meet the queen will be approved by the Sinn Fein Ard Comhairle (governing body) in Dublin today.
The Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister and Ireland’s president Michael D. Higgins are both invited to attend the Co-Operation Ireland event which will allow the critical All Ireland dimension to the event which Sinn Fein has sought.
The charity’s joint patrons are President Higgins and Queen Elizabeth and the organization fosters peace and reconciliation activities..
Sinn Féin’s Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy told BBC that the issue of the visit would be addressed by Sinn Fein today
"We have a responsibility to contribute to genuine reconciliation and we always were prepared to consider a genuine proposition and we have one on the table," he said.
"We wanted to ensure we were part of a genuine reconciliation, not some sort of PR exercise but something which has a meaning and can make a contribution to the peace process and can contribute to bringing communities closer together."
He said Sinn Féin had been consulting its members for the last 48 hours.
He stated that Sinn Fein acknowledged Queen Elizabeth’s good intentions when she visited Dublin's Garden of Remembrance which honors Irish patriots in Dublin last year.