Royal Watch News
Queen Elizabeth shakes hands with Martin McGuiness
Jun 28, 2012, 12:01 GMT
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in Belfast
Queen Elizabeth made history yesterday (27.06.12) as she shook hands with Martin McGuiness.
The British monarch's meeting with the onetime IRA commander, who is now the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, in Belfast has been hailed as a significant step forward in relations between Britain and Northern Ireland.
The move was seen as controversial as Martin is part of the Sinn Fein political party, who believe Northern Ireland should have political independence from Britain.
The private meeting took place in the city's Lyric Theatre and involved seven people, including Irish President Michael D Higgins and Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson.
Sinn Fein said Mr. McGuinness told the queen that their meeting was a 'powerful signal that peace-building requires leadership'.
As they shook hands for a second time before he left, Mr. McGuinness wished Queen Elizabeth well in Irish, with words which translated as: 'Goodbye and God bless.'
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams earlier said the meeting was a 'gesture of respect' and an attempt to move 'beyond rhetoric to reach out' to unionists.
He added: 'There will be many victims of IRA terrorism who will find the encounter difficult, but the peace process is about tackling the difficult issues and making the difficult decisions.'
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