British Monarch Arrives in Northern Ireland

Posted June 26th, 2012 at 8:40 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Britain's Queen Elizabeth has arrived in Northern Ireland at the start of a two-day visit marking her 60th year on the throne — as well as the peace that has generally held there since the 1998 Good Friday accords.

The 86-year-old monarch and her husband, Prince Philip, arrived in the small seaside village of Enniskillen Tuesday. She was welcomed by scores of villagers waving British flags as her motorcade wound through the narrow streets. Her arrival was delayed by bad weather, which diverted her flight to Belfast.

Enniskillen was the scene of one of the bloodiest attacks in the decades-long violent struggle waged by the Irish Republican Army against British rule. Eleven people were killed by an IRA bomb in 1987 during a ceremony paying tribute to Britain's war dead, an incident which shocked the world and set in motion serious peace talks.

Queen Elizabeth will travel to Belfast Wednesday for a one-on-one meeting with Martin McGuinness, a former IRA leader-turned first minister of Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein, the IRA's political arm, continues to oppose British rule in Northern Ireland.

This is the queen's 20th visit to Northern Ireland since ascending to the British throne in 1952.