Queen To Visit Northern Ireland Next Month

The Queen is set to visit Northern Ireland during her Diamond Jubilee tour.

She and the Duke of Edinburgh will visit Enniskillen and Belfast on June 26 and 27 in the tour of the UK, which marks 60 years since she ascended to the throne.

First Minister Peter Robinson said it was a "sign of progress" that security concerns no longer prevented the Palace from giving advance notice of royal visits to Northern Ireland.

He said: "This change in protocol will give people a great opportunity to demonstrate their fondness and admiration for Her Majesty by coming onto the streets to welcome her. This is testimony to the changed times in which we live."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, a former IRA commander, said previously that he would consider meeting the Queen if she visited Northern Ireland.

He announced this week that the Northern Ireland Executive is considering making a gift to Queen Elizabeth to mark the Jubilee, and he recognised that "hundreds of thousands of people" in Northern Ireland look up to the UK head of state.

Among the more unusual gifts given to the Queen on state visits over the years, she has received an elephant, a grove of maple trees and two giant turtles.

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Trust is raising money throughout 2012 to give grants to charitable projects across the Commonwealth.

As part of a packed programme of events to commemorate the Jubilee, 51 beacons will be lit across Northern Ireland this weekend.

The first of these, in Carrickfergus, will be the first beacon to be lit in the whole of the United Kingdom.


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