Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Sinn Fein Queen handshake took 3.7 seconds but was longest of the day

Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness watched by First minister Peter Robinson (centre) at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast
Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness watched by First minister Peter Robinson (centre) at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast
The Queen arrives to meet with Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness and First Minister Peter Robinson at the Lyric Theatre on June 27, 2012 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
In the past: Martin McGuinness pictured brandishing a gun
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive at the Lyric Theatre on June 27,2012 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Queen shook hands with Northern Ireland's deputy first minister and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness for the first time when they met inside the theatre. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: A police sniper and spotter look out from the top of the roof of the Lyric Theatre as they wait for Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to arrive on June 27,2012 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Queen shook hands with Northern Ireland's deputy first minister and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness for the first time when they met inside the theatre. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
1977 at a polo match at Windsor; Prince Charles, and Lord Mountbatten with Prince Philip
The remains of Lord Mountbatten are removed after the IRA bomb attack on the boat, Shadow V, in Co Sligo
Timothy Knatchbull is taken into an ambulance after the IRA bomb attack in 1979 which killed his uncle Lord Mountbatten
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: People wave Union Jack flags as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive to visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
NI Dr McKenna Cup Final - Derry v TyroneGAA guests of honour First Minister Rt. Hon. Peter Robinson MLA and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP MLA
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visit the new South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, watched by Health Minister Edwin Poots (second left), during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 26, 2012. See PA story ROYAL Queen. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire
©Press Eye Ltd - Northern Ireland - 26th June 2012. Mandatory Credit - Photo by Andrew Paton/Presseye.com, Queen Jubile Visit to Enniskillen Northern Ireland. The Queen at the South West Acute Hopital, Enniskillen.
Shared laughter between the then First Minister Ian Paisley and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in May 2007
Queen Elizabeth II outside St. Macartin's Cathedral in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the 2012 Diamond Jubilee tour.
Crowds wave Union flags in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, as they wait for the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II during a two-day as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 26, 2012. See PA story ROYAL Queen. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II receives flowers from local school children after she visited South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 26, 2012. See PA story ROYAL Queen. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II receives flowers from local school children after she visited South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 26, 2012. See PA story ROYAL Queen. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II arrives through the new Jubilee Gates at Hillsborough Castle, County Down, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 26, 2012. See PA story ROYAL Queen. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Crowds wave Union flags in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, as they wait for the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II during a two-day as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 26, 2012. See PA story ROYAL Queen. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visit the new South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, watched by Health Minister Edwin Poots (second left), during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 26, 2012. See PA story ROYAL Queen. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II visits the new South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 26, 2012. See PA story ROYAL Queen. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire
©Press Eye Ltd - Northern Ireland - 26th June 2012. Mandatory Credit - Photo by Andrew Paton/Presseye.com, Queen Jubile Visit to Enniskillen Northern Ireland. The Queen at the South West Acute Hopital, Enniskillen.
©Press Eye Ltd - Northern Ireland - 26th June 2012. Mandatory Credit - Photo by Andrew Paton/Presseye.com, Queen Jubile Visit to Enniskillen Northern Ireland. The Queen at the South West Acute Hopital, Enniskillen.
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Queen Elizabeth II visits the South Western Acute Hospital on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
HRH the Queen mets Health Minister Edwin Poots durng her visit of the newly opened South West HospitalPhoto by Simon Graham/Harrison Photography
HRH the Queen mets staff of the newly opened South West Hospital during the secong visit of the day to the province. Showing HRH around the wards are Dr Ray Nethercott and Trust Chairman Gerard GuckinPhoto by Simon Graham/Harrison Photography
HRH the Queen mets staff, volunteers and representatives of the emergengy services during her visit to the newly opened South West Hospital during the secong visit of the day to the provincePhoto by Simon Graham/Harrison Photography
HRH the Queen and Prince Phillip with the Dean of St McCartans Cathederal Enniskillen on the first day of her two day visit to the province.Photo by Simon Graham/Harrison Photography
HRH the Queen went walkabout after her visit to St McCartans Cathederal and St Michaels Enniskillen on the first day of her two day visit to the province.Photo by Simon Graham/Harrison Photography
HRH the Queen went walkabout after her visit to St McCartans Cathederal and St Michaels Enniskillen on the first day of her two day visit to the province.Photo by Simon Graham/Harrison Photography
The Queen went walkabout after her visit to St McCartans Cathederal and St Michaels Enniskillen on the first day of her two day visit to the province.Photo by Simon Graham/Harrison Photography
HRH the Queen and Prince Phillip during their visit to St Michaels Chapel Enniskillen on the first day of her two day visit to the province.Photo by Simon Graham/Harrison Photography
Pacemaker Press 26/6/2012 The Queen and Prince Philip are welcomed by thousands of People in Enniskillen during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour. The Queen has met relatives of the victims of an IRA bombing in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, 25 years ago , She will visit Belfast on Wednesdays and meet with deputy first minister Martin McGuinness Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 26/6/2012 The Queen and Prince Philip are welcomed by thousands of People in Enniskillen during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour. The Queen has met relatives of the victims of an IRA bombing in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, 25 years ago , She will visit Belfast on Wednesdays and meet with deputy first minister Martin McGuinness Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 26/6/2012 The Queen and Prince Philip are welcomed by thousands of People in Enniskillen during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour. The Queen has met relatives of the victims of an IRA bombing in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, 25 years ago , She will visit Belfast on Wednesdays and meet with deputy first minister Martin McGuinness Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Queen Elizabeth II receives floral posies from wellwishers as she and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Pacemaker Press 25/6/2012 Crowds Come out to welcome the Queen in Enniskillen yesterday during a twoday tour of Northern Ireland as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 25/6/2012 Crowds Come out to welcome the Queen in Enniskillen yesterday during a twoday tour of Northern Ireland as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 25/6/2012 Crowds Come out to welcome the Queen in Enniskillen yesterday during a twoday tour of Northern Ireland as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 25/6/2012 Crowds Come out to welcome the Queen in Enniskillen yesterday during a twoday tour of Northern Ireland as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 25/6/2012 Crowds Come out to welcome the Queen in Enniskillen yesterday during a twoday tour of Northern Ireland as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 26/6/2012 The Queen and Prince Philip are welcomed by thousands of People in Enniskillen during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour. The Queen has met relatives of the victims of an IRA bombing in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, 25 years ago , She will visit Belfast on Wednesdays and meet with deputy first minister Martin McGuinness Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 26/6/2012 The Queen and Prince Philip are welcomed by thousands of People in Enniskillen during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour. The Queen has met relatives of the victims of an IRA bombing in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, 25 years ago , She will visit Belfast on Wednesdays and meet with deputy first minister Martin McGuinness Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
HRH the Queen went walkabout after her visit to St McCartans Cathederal and St Michaels Enniskillen on the first day of her two day visit to the province.Photo by Simon Graham/Harrison Photography
Susie Doyle chats with the Queen during her visit to the New SouthWest Hospital. Susie's 11 month old baby boy Eoin has Downs and is a patient of the Hospital. Also in picture is trust chairman Gerard Guckin.Photo by Simon Graham/Harrison Photography
The Queen mets staff of the newly opened South West Hospital during the secong visit of the day to the provincePhoto by Simon Graham/Harrison Photography
The Queen mets staff of the newly opened South West Hospital during the secong visit of the day to the provincePhoto by Simon Graham/Harrison Photography
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Children wave Union Jack flags as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive to visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Children wearing homemade paper crowns look on amongst a crowd of wellwishers as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (L) visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Children wearing homemade paper crowns look on amongst a crowd of wellwishers as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive to visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Children wearing homemade paper crowns look on amongst a crowd of wellwishers as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive to visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: A girl holds up a Diamond Jubilee badge amongst a crowd of wellwishers as as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive to visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: People wave Union Jack flags as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive to visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: People wave Union Jack flags as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive to visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh visit the South Western Acute Hospital on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLIN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: People wave union flags as Queen Elizabeth II visits Macartin's Cathederal on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Crowds wait for Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh to leave St. Macartin's Cathedral in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 26, 2012. See PA story ROYAL Queen. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: People wave union flags as Queen Elizabeth II visits Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: People wave Union Jack flags as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive to visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: People wave Union Jack flags as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive to visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: People wave Union Jack flags as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive to visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Children wave Union Jack flags and hold out floral bouquets as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive to visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Children wave Union Jack flags and hold out floral bouquets as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive to visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Children wave Union Jack flags as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive to visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Children wave Union Jack flags as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive to visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Children wave Union Jack flags as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive to visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Queen Elizabeth II receives floral posies from wellwishers as she and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Queen Elizabeth II receives floral posies from wellwishers as she and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visit Macartin's Cathedral on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II outside St. Macartin's Cathedral in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour.
A well wisher waits for Queen Elizabeth II in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour.
Crowds wait for Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh to leave St. Macartin's Cathedral in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh leave St. Macartin's Cathedral in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour.
Queen Elizabeth II visits Macartin's Cathederal on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland, are due to meet with former IRA leader and NI's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
Queen Elizabeth II visits Macartin's Cathederal on June 26, 2012 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are on a Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh arrive at St. Macartin's Cathedral in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh arrive at St. Macartin's Cathedral in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh arrive at St. Macartin's Cathedral in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour.
Secratary of State Owen Paterson and Northern Ireland First minister Peter Robinson wait for Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh to arrive at St. Macartin's Cathedral in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh speak with well wishers in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour.
Crowds wait in the rain for Queen Elizabeth II to arrive in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour.
Crowds watch in the rain as Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh arrive in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour.
Crowds watch from a rooftop as Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh arrive at St. Macartin's Cathedral in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour.
Hamilton Gilmour, Jenny Maxwell-Deane, Hilary Graham and Muriel Foy wait for the arrival of The Queen in Enniskillen Co Fermanagh.
Crowds wave Union flags in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, as they wait for the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II during a two-day as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour.
©Press Eye Ltd - Northern Ireland - 26th June 2012. Mandatory Credit - Photo by Andrew Paton/Presseye.com, Local shops get ready for the arrival of The Queen in Enniskillen Co Fermanagh.
Crowds wait in heavy rain in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, for the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II during a two-day as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour
©Press Eye Ltd - Northern Ireland - 26th June 2012. Mandatory Credit - Photo by Andrew Paton/Presseye.com, People in Enniskillen town wait for the arrival of The Queen
Crowds wave Union flags in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, as they wait for the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II during a two-day as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour
Crowds wave Union flags in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, as they wait for the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II during a two-day as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour

The conflict between their supporters had lasted centuries but the hugely symbolic handshake between the former commander of the IRA and the head of the State he so despised took just 3.7 seconds to execute.

It was a dramatic scene that the creative team at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast would have rejected as too outlandish a storyline had someone written a play speculating that it would take place.

And just minutes later Martin McGuinness, whose aides had said he wouldn’t be talking about his historic two-hander with the Queen, briefly stopped to talk to me outside the Lyric.

Its patron is Liam Neeson, who once famously played the part of Michael Collins who, like the deputy First Minister, is seen by some Republicans as a traitor.

I asked how the meeting had gone. He replied: “It went very well.” When I inquired if he had lost any convictions he responded: “I am still a Republican.”

Another asked what it had been like to meet the Queen. He said: “Very nice.”

History will never tell us what the Queen thought of her tete-a-tete with a terrorist of old. But the second of her two handshakes with Mr McGuinness lasted three times longer than any of the others with the rest of the VIPs in the farewell line-up at the Lyric.

The only member of the public to witness the handshake for real was a woman who took advantage of the fact that her son lives on the other side of Ridgeway Street from the Lyric to see the Queen.

The woman, who would only give her first name – Lorraine – never imagined she would witness the most publicised handshake in decades.

“It was the Queen I came to see. I am a big fan of hers. I think she is brilliant. As for the handshake, I was married to a policeman and I just take things as they come and get on with life.”

The first handshake took place away from prying eyes and out of sight of the one photographer, one reporter and one TV camera crew allowed into the theatre.

The Queen, Prince Philip, Irish President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina, Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson were shepherded, along with their advisers, into the Lyric’s McGrath suite — named after theatre benefactor and Prudential insurance chairman Harvey McGrath.

The curtains on the windows were drawn for the five-minute meeting at which Mr McGuinness spoke not only of the significance of the Queen’s current visit but also of the lasting impact of her words and gestures in the Republic last year when she talked about the pain of all victims and about the need for building on the peace process.

Afterwards, she went into the Lyric’s cafe bar to see paintings by local artist Colin Davidson of actors, poets and playwrights from Northern Ireland.

But the Duke of Edinburgh wasn’t laughing after Martin McGuinness tried to engage him in conversation. The Prince, whose uncle Lord Mountbatten was killed by the IRA in 1979 when Mr McGuinness was a prominent figure in the Provisionals, looked decidedly uncomfortable and moved away quickly. “He leapt out of the way like a scalded cat,” said one observer.

It was a fleeting moment but it perhaps said more about the Royal couple’s feelings about the meeting than anything they would be able to say for themselves.

But as the Prince was departing from the Lyric he too readily exchanged a handshake with Mr McGuinness, who had welcomed the Royal visitor in Irish and bade her farewell with another phrase, translated as ‘Goodbye and God speed’.

He did not wish her a speedy return.

After the curtain came down on one of the most remarkable productions at the Lyric, officials turned down requests for journalists and photographers to see the room where the private handshake took place.

Sources admitted that a picture of the McGrath Suite, which is usually used for creative learning classes, is readily available on the internet.

But it had been a day of strange decisions, mostly at the behest of Buckingham Palace and security advisers. Negotiations about the arrangements for the public handshake went on long into the night.

Even at the height of The Troubles the press were invariably permitted to film the Royals as they arrived at their locations.

But this time the media — apart from the ones ‘pooling’ their pictures for other outlets — were ordered to observe what was effectively an exclusion zone all around the Lyric and the Stranmillis area and security was very tight, with marksmen on the roof.

Even loyalists, who had bedecked their homes in nearby Annadale Flats with Diamond Jubilee flags, had to stay back.

Belfast’s former Lord Mayor Billy Bell was among the well-wishers who had to peer through the foliage of trees for a quick and distant look at the Royal party.

“It’s daft,” said Mr Bell, who received an MBE from the Queen.

David Livingstone, who had travelled from his home near Shaw’s Bridge to get a picture of the Queen, was told in no uncertain terms by police that he couldn’t cross the Governor’s Bridge to the Lyric.

“What harm would we be doing?” he asked “It must be because of this handshake. I don’t think the Queen should be shaking Mr McGuinness’s hand but, at the end of the day, this is life.

“And if you look all over the world in her 60 years on the throne she has shaken hands with many people who were terrorists and ended up running their countries. We’re no different.”

May Davis (79), who lives in the Flats and who wore a red, white and blue poncho, was furious that her ‘one-off’ chance to see the Queen was blocked by police.

Back at the Lyric, officials were hoping history would be replaced by hysterics yesterday afternoon as the matinee audience for the Oscar Wilde comedy The Importance of Being Earnest started to arrive not long after the Queen departed.

Inevitably the thoughts turned to plays which the Lyric might stage in the future to reflect an important day in their development.

The Queen And The Rebels by Ugo Betti; Arms And The Man by George Bernard Shaw and The Shadow Of A Gunman by Sean O’Casey were instantly rejected.

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