Anyone who doubts the progress made in Northern Ireland in recent years needed only to listen to the radio yesterday to hear the new reality. For there, broadcast to the province, was a detailed itinerary of the Queen's visit. That would have been unthinkable just a few years ago when it would have been an open invitation for protests, disturbances and possibly attempts on Her Majesty's life.
Of course there was much behind-the-scenes activity to keep the royal visitors safe this time as the dissident republican threat has not gone away. But the Queen and Prince Philip seemed utterly relaxed as they toured local attractions including getting up close to the public in St George's market in central Belfast. This is what normality looks like and it is good.