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Irish President Michael D Higgins' State visit: In pictures Close

Guests, including Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny and Northern Ireland's deputy first minister Martin McGuinness, toast after a speech by Queen Elizabeth II and the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins on April 8, 2014 in Windsor, England.

Guests, including Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny and Northern Ireland's deputy first minister Martin McGuinness, toast after a speech by Queen Elizabeth II and the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins on April 8, 2014 in Windsor, England.

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny (top, centre) and Martin McGuinness, the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland (top right) attending a State Banquet in honour of the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins at Windsor Castle during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny (top, centre) and Martin McGuinness, the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland (top right) attending a State Banquet in honour of the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins at Windsor Castle during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President.

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Queen Elizabeth II and the Duchess of Cornwall (4th left) attend a State Banquet in honour of the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins (5th left) at Windsor Castle during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duchess of Cornwall (4th left) attend a State Banquet in honour of the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins (5th left) at Windsor Castle during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President.

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L-R) Sabina Coyne, President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh pose for a photograph ahead of a State Banquet on April 8, 2014 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

L-R) Sabina Coyne, President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh pose for a photograph ahead of a State Banquet on April 8, 2014 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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President of Ireland Michael D Higgins at the State Banquet hosted by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh in St George's Hall, Windsor Castle on the first official day of the Presidents 5 day State Visit to the United Kingdom. Photo Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

President of Ireland Michael D Higgins at the State Banquet hosted by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh in St George's Hall, Windsor Castle on the first official day of the Presidents 5 day State Visit to the United Kingdom. Photo Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

Martin McGuinness (left), the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland attends a State Banquet in honour of the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins at Windsor Castle during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President.

Martin McGuinness (left), the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland attends a State Banquet in honour of the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins at Windsor Castle during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President.

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Deputy First Minister and ex-IRA Commander Martin McGuinness arrives for a State Banquet at Windsor Castle during President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins' visit to the UK which is the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President.

Deputy First Minister and ex-IRA Commander Martin McGuinness arrives for a State Banquet at Windsor Castle during President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins' visit to the UK which is the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President.

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Brian O'Driscoll and Amy Huberman attend a State Banquet in honour of the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins on April 8, 2014 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Brian O'Driscoll and Amy Huberman attend a State Banquet in honour of the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins on April 8, 2014 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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Queen Elizabeth II accompanies Irish President Michael D Higgins as he is shown Irish related items from the Royal Collection, in the Green Drawing Room, in Windsor Castle, during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President.

Queen Elizabeth II accompanies Irish President Michael D Higgins as he is shown Irish related items from the Royal Collection, in the Green Drawing Room, in Windsor Castle, during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President.

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WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08:  President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and Sabrina Higgins pay their respects at the Mountbatten Memorial in Westminster Abbey on April 8, 2014 in London, England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom.  (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and Sabrina Higgins pay their respects at the Mountbatten Memorial in Westminster Abbey on April 8, 2014 in London, England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

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The Very Reverend John Hall, Dean of Westminster Abbey, shows Irish President Michael D Higgins around Westminster Abbey in London.

The Very Reverend John Hall, Dean of Westminster Abbey, shows Irish President Michael D Higgins around Westminster Abbey in London.

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The Very Reverend John Hall (R), Dean of Westminster Abbey, with the Irish President Michael D Higgins during his visit to Westminster Abbey on April 8, 2014 in London, England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom.  (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

The Very Reverend John Hall (R), Dean of Westminster Abbey, with the Irish President Michael D Higgins during his visit to Westminster Abbey on April 8, 2014 in London, England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

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WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08:  Queen Elizabeth II (L) shows Irish President Michael D Higgins (R) Irish related items from the Royal Collection, in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle on April 8, 2014 in Windsor, England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom.  (Photo by Justin Tallis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: Queen Elizabeth II (L) shows Irish President Michael D Higgins (R) Irish related items from the Royal Collection, in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle on April 8, 2014 in Windsor, England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom. (Photo by Justin Tallis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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Irish President Michael D Higgins watches with his wife Sabina Coyne, as an Irish solider lays a wreath at the grave of the Unknown Warrior, during a visit to Westminster Abbey on April 8, 2014 in London, England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom.  (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

Irish President Michael D Higgins watches with his wife Sabina Coyne, as an Irish solider lays a wreath at the grave of the Unknown Warrior, during a visit to Westminster Abbey on April 8, 2014 in London, England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

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WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08:  Queen Elizabeth II (3rd R) shows Irish President Michael D Higgins (2nd R) Irish related items from the Royal Collection, in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle on April 8, 2014 in Windsor, England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom.  (Photo by Justin Tallis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: Queen Elizabeth II (3rd R) shows Irish President Michael D Higgins (2nd R) Irish related items from the Royal Collection, in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle on April 8, 2014 in Windsor, England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom. (Photo by Justin Tallis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08:  Queen Elizabeth II (L) shows Irish President Michael D Higgins (R) Irish related items from the Royal Collection, in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle on April 8, 2014 in Windsor, England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom.  (Photo by Justin Tallis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: Queen Elizabeth II (L) shows Irish President Michael D Higgins (R) Irish related items from the Royal Collection, in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle on April 8, 2014 in Windsor, England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom. (Photo by Justin Tallis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08:  Queen Elizabeth II (3rd L) shows Irish President Michael D Higgins (2nd R), his wife Sabina Coyne (2nd L) and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (L), Irish related items from the Royal Collection, in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle on April 8, 2014 in Windsor, England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom.  (Photo by Justin Tallis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: Queen Elizabeth II (3rd L) shows Irish President Michael D Higgins (2nd R), his wife Sabina Coyne (2nd L) and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (L), Irish related items from the Royal Collection, in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle on April 8, 2014 in Windsor, England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom. (Photo by Justin Tallis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attend the ceremonial welcome for Irish President Michael D Higgins on April 8, 2014 at the Royal Dais, Datchet Road in Windsor, England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom.  (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attend the ceremonial welcome for Irish President Michael D Higgins on April 8, 2014 at the Royal Dais, Datchet Road in Windsor, England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

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President Michael D Higgins addressed both Houses of Parliament in the Royal Gallery at The Palace of Westminster on the first day of the President's State Visit to the United Kingdom. 
Johnny Bambury/ Fennell Photography

President Michael D Higgins addressed both Houses of Parliament in the Royal Gallery at The Palace of Westminster on the first day of the President's State Visit to the United Kingdom. Johnny Bambury/ Fennell Photography

Johnny Bambury/Fennell Photograp

Queen Elizabeth II and the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins arrive in a state carriage at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

Queen Elizabeth II and the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins arrive in a state carriage at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

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Queen Elizabeth II and the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins arrive in a state carriage at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

Queen Elizabeth II and the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins arrive in a state carriage at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

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The President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins (left) with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle in Berkshire during the president's state visit

The President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins (left) with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle in Berkshire during the president's state visit

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Queen Elizabeth II (left) walks with the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins (2nd left), his wife Sabina (2nd right) and Prince Phillip (right) at Windsor Castle in Berkshire during the president's state visit

Queen Elizabeth II (left) walks with the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins (2nd left), his wife Sabina (2nd right) and Prince Phillip (right) at Windsor Castle in Berkshire during the president's state visit

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Queen Elizabeth II and the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins arrive in a state carriage at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

Queen Elizabeth II and the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins arrive in a state carriage at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

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Queen Elizabeth II and the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins arrive in a state carriage at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

Queen Elizabeth II and the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins arrive in a state carriage at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

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Sabina Higgins, wife of the Irish President, Queen Elizabeth II, the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins and Prince Philip inspect the guard at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

Sabina Higgins, wife of the Irish President, Queen Elizabeth II, the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins and Prince Philip inspect the guard at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

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(left to right) Sabina Higgins, wife of the Irish President, Queen Elizabeth II, the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins and Prince Philip inspect the guard at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

(left to right) Sabina Higgins, wife of the Irish President, Queen Elizabeth II, the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins and Prince Philip inspect the guard at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

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Sabina Higgins, wife of the Irish President, Queen Elizabeth II, the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins and Prince Philip inspect the guard at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

Sabina Higgins, wife of the Irish President, Queen Elizabeth II, the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins and Prince Philip inspect the guard at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

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(left to right) Sabina Higgins, wife of the Irish President, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II and the the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins inspect the guard at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

(left to right) Sabina Higgins, wife of the Irish President, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II and the the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins inspect the guard at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

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(left to right) Sabina Higgins, wife of the Irish President, Queen Elizabeth II, the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins and Prince Philip inspect the guard at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

(left to right) Sabina Higgins, wife of the Irish President, Queen Elizabeth II, the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins and Prince Philip inspect the guard at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

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(left to right) Sabina Higgins, wife of the Irish President, Queen Elizabeth II, the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins and Prince Philip inspect the guard at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

(left to right) Sabina Higgins, wife of the Irish President, Queen Elizabeth II, the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins and Prince Philip inspect the guard at Windsor Castle, Berkshire during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President

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WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08:  Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she talks with President of Ireland Michael D Higgins during a ceremonial welcome at Windsor Castle on April 8, 2014 in England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she talks with President of Ireland Michael D Higgins during a ceremonial welcome at Windsor Castle on April 8, 2014 in England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08:  (L-R) Sabina Higgins, Queen Elizabeth II, President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh watch a ceremonial welcome at Windsor Castle on April 8, 2014 in England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: (L-R) Sabina Higgins, Queen Elizabeth II, President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh watch a ceremonial welcome at Windsor Castle on April 8, 2014 in England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08:  Queen Elizabeth II (L) walks with President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and Sabrina Higgins at Windsor Castle after a ceremonial welcome on April 8, 2014 in England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: Queen Elizabeth II (L) walks with President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and Sabrina Higgins at Windsor Castle after a ceremonial welcome on April 8, 2014 in England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

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WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: (L-R) Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Sabina Higgins, Queen Elizabeth II and President of Ireland Michael D Higgins watch a ceremonial welcome at Windsor Castle on April 8, 2014 in England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: (L-R) Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Sabina Higgins, Queen Elizabeth II and President of Ireland Michael D Higgins watch a ceremonial welcome at Windsor Castle on April 8, 2014 in England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08:  Queen Elizabeth II (4th R) walks with (L-R) Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Sabina Higgins, President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and The Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle after a ceremonial welcome on April 8, 2014 in England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: Queen Elizabeth II (4th R) walks with (L-R) Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Sabina Higgins, President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and The Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle after a ceremonial welcome on April 8, 2014 in England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

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President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins (centre) with Queen Elizabeth II (left) and Prince Charles (right) at Windsor Castle in Berkshire during the president's state visit

President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins (centre) with Queen Elizabeth II (left) and Prince Charles (right) at Windsor Castle in Berkshire during the president's state visit

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The President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins (centre) walks with Queen Elizabeth II (left) after arriving with his wife Sabina (right) at Windsor Castle in Berkshire during the president's state visit

The President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins (centre) walks with Queen Elizabeth II (left) after arriving with his wife Sabina (right) at Windsor Castle in Berkshire during the president's state visit

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President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins (2nd right) is greeted by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip (left) outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire

President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins (2nd right) is greeted by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip (left) outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire

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The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins shakes hands with the Duchess of Cornwall, as she and the Prince of Wales welcome him to the UK for a five day state visit, at the Irish Embassy in central London

The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins shakes hands with the Duchess of Cornwall, as she and the Prince of Wales welcome him to the UK for a five day state visit, at the Irish Embassy in central London

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WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08:  Queen Elizabeth II welcomes President of Ireland Michael D Higgins at Windsor Castle on April 8, 2014 in England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: Queen Elizabeth II welcomes President of Ireland Michael D Higgins at Windsor Castle on April 8, 2014 in England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: (L-R) Sabina Higgins, Queen Elizabeth II,  President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh watch a ceremonial welcome at Windsor Castle on April 8, 2014 in England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: (L-R) Sabina Higgins, Queen Elizabeth II, President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh watch a ceremonial welcome at Windsor Castle on April 8, 2014 in England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins shakes hands with the Prince of Wales, as the Prince welcomed him to the UK for a five day state visit, at the Irish Embassy in central London

The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins shakes hands with the Prince of Wales, as the Prince welcomed him to the UK for a five day state visit, at the Irish Embassy in central London

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The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins talks with the Prince of Wales, as the Prince welcomed him to the UK for a five day state visit, at the Irish Embassy in central London

The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins talks with the Prince of Wales, as the Prince welcomed him to the UK for a five day state visit, at the Irish Embassy in central London

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The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins shakes hands with the Duchess of Cornwall, as she and the Prince of Wales welcome him to the UK for a five day state visit, at the Irish Embassy in central London

The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins shakes hands with the Duchess of Cornwall, as she and the Prince of Wales welcome him to the UK for a five day state visit, at the Irish Embassy in central London

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The President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, accompanied by his wife Sabina Higgins arrive at London Heathrow Airport for the first state visit by a President of Ireland to the UK

The President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, accompanied by his wife Sabina Higgins arrive at London Heathrow Airport for the first state visit by a President of Ireland to the UK

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The Queen addresses a State Banquet in honour of the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins at Windsor Castle during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President.

The Queen addresses a State Banquet in honour of the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins at Windsor Castle during the first State visit to the UK by an Irish President.

President Michael D Higgins inspects the guard of honour of the 12th Infantry Battalion before departing   the presidential residence, çras an Uachtarin in Dublin for Britain in the  first state visit by a President of Ireland to the UK. Picture date: Monday April 7, 2014. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

President Michael D Higgins inspects the guard of honour of the 12th Infantry Battalion before departing the presidential residence, çras an Uachtarin in Dublin for Britain in the first state visit by a President of Ireland to the UK. Picture date: Monday April 7, 2014. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh welcome Irish President Michael D Higgins to Windsor Castle

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh welcome Irish President Michael D Higgins to Windsor Castle

Guests, including Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny and Northern Ireland's deputy first minister Martin McGuinness, toast after a speech by Queen Elizabeth II and the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins on April 8, 2014 in Windsor, England.

Martin McGuinness has been allowed to "hijack" the state visit to London of Irish President Michael D Higgins, Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt has claimed.

But, as he attended the latest event in the Guildhall in London last night, the UU chief added that as a result Sinn Fein would now have to consider dropping its historic House of Commons boycott.

Mr Nesbitt added that there was a lot of bad feeling among unionists and others that Mr McGuinness had been able to "hijack" the visit of the Irish President.

"It was not about Britain and Sinn Fein but about Britain and Ireland and that was overshadowed to some extent by McGuinness taking part and some people are very cross about that," he said.

"The President's speech at Windsor Castle was particularly good on dealing with the past but to a certain degree Sinn Fein have hijacked that.

"But I think they will now have to consider dropping the House of Commons ban. I have heard Sinn Fein members explain they have offices in London and just do not go into the chamber. Sooner or later it will be the same as the Assembly, where they have offices and the chamber.

Former Sinn Fein press officer Danny Morrison insisted, however: "I don't see that happening at all.

"If you end abstentionism in the British Parliament how then could you credibly complain about Britain legislating and interfering in Irish political affairs?"

Mr Morrison said he did not think Mr McGuinness had "put a foot wrong" during the state dinner which the deputy First Minister attended at Windsor Castle on Tuesday. The former IRA commander observed protocol by shaking hands with the Queen and raising a toast to her.

"I think the republican base is very mature and pragmatic and understands the issues at several different levels," Mr Morrison went on.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has angrily accused Lord Tebbit of publicly encouraging the assassination of Martin McGuinness.

Responding to the former Conservative chairman's controversial remarks, Mr Adams said it was unacceptable for a member of the House of the Lords to openly support the shooting of a political leader.

"I fully understand that Norman Tebbit has himself been a victim of the political conflict and I regret that he has suffered grievously," said Mr Adams.

"However, to publicly advocate the assassination of deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is a shocking throwback to a violent past from which we are seeking to move on."

Mr Adams said his party colleague has worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the peace process.

"Martin, his home and indeed his family have been targets for abuse and attack by so-called dissident republicans," he said.

Outspoken Lord Tebbit, who was injured with his wife during the 1984 IRA bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton, said he hoped Mr McGuinness is shot in the back for attending the State banquet.

Mr McGuinness said the remarks were "not fitting".

Further reading

 

Belfast Telegraph