‘This anniversary reminds me of our complex history’ - Queen says in landmark statement
The Queen has said that the continued peace in Northern Ireland is a credit to its people.
In a message to mark 100 years since the creation of NI, she called it “a significant centenary for both the United Kingdom and Ireland”, she said.
“This anniversary reminds us of our complex history,” she said.
She added that it provided “an opportunity to reflect on our togetherness and our diversity”.
She also paid tribute to NI’s “rich mix of identities, backgrounds and aspirations”.
She also spoke of the “treasured” memories she shared in Northern Ireland with her late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, as part of a message to the country to mark its centenary.
She said the “continued peace” in the area “is a credit to its people, upon whose shoulders the future rests”.
In a statement, she said: “A century ago, the Government of Ireland Act came into effect, and today marks a significant centenary for both the United Kingdom and Ireland. This anniversary reminds us of our complex history, and provides an opportunity to reflect on our togetherness and our diversity.
“In Northern Ireland today, there is, perhaps more than ever, a rich mix of identities, backgrounds and aspirations, and an outward-looking and optimistic mindset. The political progress in Northern Ireland and the peace process is rightly credited to a generation of leaders who had the vision and courage to put reconciliation before division. But above all, the continued peace is a credit to its people, upon whose shoulders the future rests.
“It is clear that reconciliation, equality and mutual understanding cannot be taken for granted, and will require sustained fortitude and commitment. During my many visits to Northern Ireland, I have seen these qualities in abundance, and look forward to seeing them again on future occasions.
“I also wish to recognise the important contribution made by our friends and closest neighbours towards the success of Northern Ireland. I look back with fondness on the visit Prince Philip and I paid to Ireland, 10 years ago this month. I treasure my many memories, and the spirit of goodwill I saw at first hand.
“Across generations, the people of Northern Ireland are choosing to build an inclusive, prosperous, and hopeful society, strengthened by the gains of the peace process. May this be our guiding thread in the coming years.
“I send my warmest good wishes to the people of Northern Ireland. Elizabeth R.”
Secretary of state Brandon Lewis has encouraged people to take pride in the centenary of NI in spite of “difficult periods” during the past 100 years.
His remarks came exactly 100 years since the state was founded on 3 May 1921.
Legislation was enacted which created a border in Ireland for the first time, and led to its partition.
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