Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Queen to visit studio and prison

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have been invited to tour the Belfast studios where popular HBO series Game Of Thrones is filmed
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have been invited to tour the Belfast studios where popular HBO series Game Of Thrones is filmed

The Queen will encounter a throne somewhat different to those in Buckingham Palace when she visits the set of a hit US fantasy drama during a visit to Northern Ireland.

Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh have been invited to tour the Belfast studios where popular HBO series Game Of Thrones is filmed on what will be three days' of engagements in the region next week.

Northern Ireland is fast developing an international reputation as a leading filming destination, with the powersharing administration at Stormont offering attractive incentives to producers to film in the region.

Game Of Thrones is estimated to be the biggest TV production in Europe and its first four seasons have been credited with bringing a direct economic benefit of £82 million to Northern Ireland, creating the equivalent of more than 900 full-time and 5,700 part-time jobs.

Other notable engagements in the Queen and Duke's schedule include a visit to the historic Crumlin Road Gaol. Once a prison synonymous with the dark years of the Troubles, its transformation into a popular visitor attraction is symbolic of Northern Ireland's journey away from conflict.

The Royal couple will also be guests at a reception and lunch at Belfast City Hall and will attend a garden party at Hillsborough Castle - the Queen's official residence in Northern Ireland.

The castle is also playing host to experts and crew from the Antiques Road show next week and the Queen and Duke will stop by to visit them during their stay.

During her time across the Irish Sea, Her Majesty will also attend a Royal British Legion reception in Coleraine in Co Londonderry where she will launch a programme of activities commemorating the First World War.

The Queen and Duke last visited Northern Ireland in 2012 as part of her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. That occasion proved highly symbolic as the Queen shook hands with Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness.

Her Majesty is again set to meet Mr McGuinness next week on what will be the Royal couple's 21st visit to the region.

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