Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

McGuinness spoke of Queen's loss

The Queen shakes hands with Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness watched by First Minister Peter Robinson

One of the most painful chapters in the Queen's life - the IRA murder of her cousin Lord Mountbatten - was acknowledged in her private talks with Martin McGuinness, it has emerged.

The Stormont deputy First Minister revealed that he addressed the 1979 murder when he met the Queen privately in Belfast last Wednesday.

The former IRA commander shared an historic handshake with the Queen in public at the city's Lyric theatre, but their conversation took place during an initial private meeting at the venue.

Mr McGuinness said he would not detail exactly what he said during the eight-minute discussion, which the Duke of Edinburgh also attended, or how the Queen responded.

"I said to them that I recognised that they too had lost a loved one," said Mr McGuinness.

"I did not shy away from the issue because I think these are things that we need to face up to. I will not repeat what she said as that would not be proper, but she was absolutely understanding of the need for everybody to work together to ensure that we don't go back to the past."

He added: "She was very gracious about it."

Mr McGuinness revealed some of the detail of the private meeting during a talk show on RTE television on Saturday. Sinn Fein had previously said that during the meeting Mr McGuinness referred to the Queen's ground-breaking visit to the Irish Republic last year where she spoke of the need to remember all victims of the Troubles.

The party said Mr McGuinness had endorsed that view, but in his TV comments he went further and revealed he had raised the fact that the royal family had themselves suffered loss.

Lord Mountbatten was killed with three others when the IRA detonated a bomb on his boat as he holidayed in Co Sligo in 1979. The former Viceroy of India, who was also the Duke's uncle, was killed on board a boat off Mullaghmore by an IRA gang using a radio controlled device.

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