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VIDEO: Robinson and McGuinness comment on meetings with Queen

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The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have arrived in Northern Ireland to begin a number of engagements over three days.

On arrival at Hillsborough Castle on Monday evening Her Majesty held separate 15-minute meetings with Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness.

It was the first time deputy first minister Mr McGuinness had accepted an invitation to have a private meeting with the Queen.

Prince Philip presented 75 young people with their gold Duke of Edinburgh award certificates in the Throne Room of the castle.

They landed earlier in the evening at George Best Belfast City Airport where they were met by Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers and former Olympic champion and now Lord Lieutenant of Belfast Dame Mary Peters.

While past visits have seen the Queen’s itinerary closely guarded due to security fears, this week’s engagements in the region have been publicised in advance.

From the airport the couple were driven to Hillsborough Castle, their official residence in the region. On arrival crowds of well-wishers in the Co Down town cheered and waved Union flags.

The Queen wore a Kingfisher blue coat and matching hat with a Shamrock brooch.

The castle has recently been taken over by Historic Royal Palaces with a view to increasing visitor access.

Michael Day, chief executive of Historic Royal Palaces, was among the official welcoming party that greeted the Royal couple.

A packed day of engagements on Tuesday includes a visit to the set of hit US fantasy drama Game Of Thrones in east Belfast.

The Queen and Duke will tour the Painthall studios in the city’s regenerated docklands where much of the popular HBO series is filmed.

The Royal couple will also pop into the bustling St George’s Market in Belfast city centre, be guests at a reception and lunch at Belfast City Hall and attend a garden party at Hillsborough Castle.

The castle is also playing host to experts and crew from the Antiques Roadshow this week and the Queen and Duke will stop by to visit them during their stay.

During her time across the Irish Sea, the Queen will also attend a Royal British Legion reception in Coleraine in Co Londonderry where she will launch a programme of activities commemorating the First World War.

The Queen and Duke last visited Northern Ireland in 2012 as part of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

 

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