Arlene Foster ‘sends love from people of NI’ to Queen and welcomes Michelle O’Neill’s respects for Prince Philip

First Minister Arlene Foster has sent Northern Ireland’s “love and best wishes” to the Queen and welcomed tributes from Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill following the death of Prince Philip.

Monday, 12th April 2021, 11:13 am
Updated Monday, 12th April 2021, 11:28 am
First Minister Arlene Foster. Picture: Ronan McGrade/Pacemaker Press

There have been many tributes from across the UK for his decades of faithful service at the Queen’s side since her husband passed away on Friday.

Sinn Fein’s leader in Northern Ireland acknowledged the loss felt by unionists.

“I wish to extend my sincere condolences to Queen Elizabeth and her family on the death of her husband Prince Phillip,” she said on Friday.

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“Over the past two decades there have been significant interventions by the British Royal family to assist in the building of relationships between Britain and Ireland

“It is appropriate that this contribution to the advancement of peace and reconciliation is rightly recognised.

“To all those of a unionist tradition and of British identity - those who value and cherish the Royal family - I wish to acknowledge the sense of loss felt.”

Prince Philip’s uncle, Lord Mountbatten, was killed by the IRA when a bomb detonated on his boat in County Sligo in 1978.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh arrive by steam train to open the new Bellarena Station village on June 28, 2016 in Bellarena, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Carrie Davenport/Getty Images)

First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster welcomed her comments this morning, having been ill for several days.

“I do welcome the fact that she has moved to show respect to the royal family and indeed to the nation as a whole because this is such a pivotal moment for us all,” Mrs Foster told Good Morning Ulster.

“I think that Sinn Fein learned from the mistake that they made in 2011 when her Majesty Visited the Republic of Ireland and they decided to boycott that visit.”

She noted that the Queen also shook hands with then Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness in 2012.

“So I think the royal family and Prince Philip, who lost his uncle so grievously in 1979 have played a huge role in reconciliation and bringing everybody together in Northern Ireland and indeed across the Commonwealth.”

Mrs Foster also said that Northern Ireland sends its love to the Queen at this time.

“I just wanted to say how very sorry I am to Her Majesty the Queen and indeed all of the royal family,” she said.

“It will leave - as the Duke of York said yesterday - a huge void in the family but also in national life because he played such a fundamental role in our monarchy over this past 70 years.

“And I just feel that on behalf of all the people of Northern Ireland we send our love and best wishes to Her Majesty the Queen and indeed to all of the royal family.

“Prince Philip was an incredible individual. He believed in tradition.  He believed in continuity but he was not afraid of change and he was not afraid of innovation and indeed his life showed all of those different parts.

“So it is a huge loss to all of us in Northern Ireland and we grieve during this national mourning period with Her Majesty the Queen.”

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