Queen visits Giant’s Causeway on Northern Ireland birthday tour

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen will visit the famous stones of the Giant’s Causeway and repeat a train journey she made in her coronation year as she tours Northern Ireland’s north coast to mark her 90th birthday.

She and the Duke of Edinburgh will also unveil a statue to a Co Antrim soldier who won a Victoria Cross for valour in the First World War.

The royal couple landed in Northern Ireland on Monday evening for a two-day trip.

Shortly after her arrival at Hillsborough Castle, the Queen met Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness separately.

Afterwards both political leaders remained tight-lipped on whether the Brexit furore was discussed.

The visit will see the Queen’s first round of public engagements since the UK voted to leave the European Union.

On Tuesday, the Queen and Philip head to the scenic northern coast.

After touring the Giant’s Causeway they will visit the nearby village of Bushmills, where they will unveil a statue to VC recipient Robert Quigg.

The soldier was awarded the highest military honour for bravery during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

The royal couple will also attend a reception at Royal Portrush Golf Club. The seaside course is due to host the Open Championship in 2019.

In a full day of engagements, the Queen and the Duke will also take a steam train journey to the newly-opened Bellarena station on the historic Coleraine-to-Londonderry line.

The Queen travelled the same section of track in 1953, a month after her coronation.

The trip is the third high-profile royal visit to Northern Ireland in a matter of weeks, after appearances by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.