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Queen jokingly tells Martin McGuinness 'I'm still alive'

Published 28/06/2016

The Queen meets Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at Hillsborough Castle
The Queen meets Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at Hillsborough Castle
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh during a visit to Bushmills Village
Crowds wait to catch a glimpse of the royals
Queen Elizabeth II with Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness
Queen Elizabeth II with Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster

The Queen has made light of her advancing years during a meeting with Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, telling the politician - "I'm still alive".

With her 90th birthday celebrations dominating the monarch's year, she joked with Mr McGuinness telling him the milestone anniversary had been marked twice.

The pair met yesterday at Hillsborough Castle as the Queen began a two-day visit to Northern Ireland with the Duke of Edinburgh.

In footage, Mr McGuinness can be overheard greeting the monarch with the words "Are you well?" and the Queen replied with a smile "Thank you very much - I'm still alive".

The meeting between the former IRA commander was in contrast to the first time they shook hands at a cultural event in Belfast's Lyric theatre in 2012.

That first greeting was away from the media spotlight behind closed doors - but later at the same event the historic handshake was repeated in public, with Mr McGuinness offering the Queen parting words in Irish, which meant "Goodbye and God's speed."

At Hillsborough Castle, a few more moments of the meeting were captured on camera, and the Queen told the politician "Been quite busy, there's quite a lot going on."

The politician agreed: "There's a lot of things happening at the moment" and with another smile the monarch replied "I've had two birthdays".

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From Belfast Telegraph