Former IRA commander to meet Queen Elizabeth II [View all]
LONDON (AP) — The Irish Republican Army-linked Sinn Fein party says one of its leaders, Martin McGuinness, will meet Queen Elizabeth II next week — a once-unthinkable symbol of progress toward peace in Northern Ireland.
McGuinness, a former IRA commander, has been invited to attend an event with the queen in his role as deputy first minister of Northern Ireland's Catholic-Protestant power-sharing government.
Neither Sinn Fein nor Buckingham Palace revealed detailed plans for the meeting. Britain's Press Association news agency said McGuiness and the queen would meet and shake hands in a private room at the beginning of the engagement. But even if it amounts to little more than a quick handshake, the meeting will have great symbolic value.
The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, will visit Northern Ireland on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of her United Kingdom-wide tour celebrating 60 years on the throne.