Irish president Michael D Higgins' state visit to UK 'takes relations to new level'


Blackleaf
#1
The first ever state visit to the UK by an Irish head of state starts on Tuesday.

Michael D Higgins, the ninth president of what is now the Republic of Ireland since it seceded from the UK in 1922, will address both Houses of Parliament, another first for an Irish head of state.

Mr Higgins will be joined by his wife, Sabina, and Irish prime minister (Taoiseach) Enda Kenny.

The Queen will stage a traditional state banquet in honour of her guest at Windsor Castle. Mr Higgins and his wife will visit the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon and he will attend another major dinner at the Guildhall in the City of London given by the Lord Mayor.

During the visit, the Queen - who made the first state visit by a British head of state to the Republic of Ireland in 2011 and was warmly welcomed - will host a reception for leading figures from Northern Ireland's cultural, political and business life.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister and a former IRA commander who refused to sit in the House of Commons - when he was an MP - because he would have had to swear an oath of allegiance to the monarch, will also attend the banquet with the Queen.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said the president's first UK state visit would mean "an enormous amount to the people of Ireland, but also to the people of Britain".

"Symbolically, it's of enormous importance, but also practically, in that it brings the relationship between the two countries and the two peoples to an unprecedented level.

"This was unthinkable 20 years ago," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show

"I don't see why he shouldn't attend, of course. This is all part of the building of relationships between the two countries and peoples on both sides of the divide.

"We've got to move on and not be blocked by the past," the Irish prime minister added.

The Troubles, which lasted from 1966 to 1998, left 3,530 people dead and over 47,500 injured.

Irish president's state visit 'takes relations to new level'

BBC News
26 March


Irish president Michael D Higgins will start his state visit at Windsor Castle, in which he, his wife Sabina and Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny will attend a traditional state banquet with the Queen. Also attending will be Northern Ireland's unionist First Minister Peter Robinson and its nationalist Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness

An historic state visit to the UK by the Irish president will take relations between the two nations to a new level, the Foreign Office has said.

President Michael D Higgins will be joined by his wife, Sabina, and the Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny.

The visit, the first by an Irish head of state, will begin on 8 April.

The president will address both Houses of Parliament, another first for an Irish head of state.

The Queen will stage a traditional state banquet in honour of her guest at Windsor Castle. Mr Higgins and his wife will visit the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon and he will attend another major dinner at the Guildhall in the City of London given by the Lord Mayor.


Irish President Michael D Higgins will start his state visit to the UK on Tuesday


Higgins will visit Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "This is quite a special state visit.

"It follows on from the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, who went in May 2011 to Ireland. It was one of those visits that properly deserves to be called an historic visit."

During the visit, the Queen will host a reception for leading figures from Northern Ireland's cultural, political and business life.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said they recognised the special nature of the state visit.

"What we have is a genuine desire on behalf of the Queen to repay the kindness that was shown to her in Ireland," he said.

He added that the Queen had taken a strong interest in the planning for the trip.

"She is, and wants to be across the detail," he said.

BBC News - Irish president's state visit 'takes relations to new level'

Martin McGuinness to attend banquet with Queen when President Higgins visits UK

6 April 2014
BBC News


Extraordinary meeting: Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness, a former IRA commander, shook hands with the Queen for the first time when she visited Belfast's Lyric Theatre in June 2012. The IRA murdered the Queen's cousin, Lord Mountbatten, when he was on holiday in the Republic of Ireland in 1979.

Martin McGuinness will attend a banquet hosted by the Queen during next week's state visit to Britain by Irish President Michael D Higgins.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said the decision had to be viewed against the backdrop of huge political change in recent years.

President Higgins will be joined by his wife, Sabina, and the Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny.

The visit, the first by an Irish head of state, begins on 8 April.

'Unthinkable'

Martin McGuinness, who is Northern Ireland's deputy first minister and a former IRA commander, refused to sit in the House of Commons - when he was an MP - because he would have had to swear an oath of allegiance to the monarch.

He shook hands with the Queen, both in private and in public, during her visit to Northern Ireland in 2012.


Enda Kenny: "It should be possible for members of the Royal Family to visit Dublin during the centenary commemoration ceremonies"

The handshake was regarded as a symbolic moment for the Northern Ireland peace process.

It was seen by many as one of the most significant of her reign as the IRA paramilitary group murdered the Queen's cousin, Lord Mountbatten, while he was on holiday in the Republic of Ireland in 1979.

The state banquet is to be staged at Windsor Castle, in honour of President Higgins.

During his UK visit, he will address both Houses of Parliament, another first for an Irish head of state.

Mr Higgins will also visit the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon and attend another major dinner at the Guildhall in the City of London, given by the Lord Mayor.

During the visit, the Queen will host a reception for leading figures from Northern Ireland's cultural, political and business life.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said the president's first UK state visit would mean "an enormous amount to the people of Ireland, but also to the people of Britain".

"Symbolically, it's of enormous importance, but also practically, in that it brings the relationship between the two countries and the two peoples to an unprecedented level.

"This was unthinkable 20 years ago," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.

'Move on'

Regarding the Sinn Féin representative's appearance at the Queen's state banquet, Mr Kenny said: "Martin McGuinness, as deputy first minister in the assembly in Northern Ireland has been very forthright and very pragmatic in what he has been doing here.

"I don't see why he shouldn't attend, of course. This is all part of the building of relationships between the two countries and peoples on both sides of the divide.

"We've got to move on and not be blocked by the past," the Irish prime minister added.

The visit by President Higgins follows on from the Queen's historic state visit to the Republic of Ireland in May 2011.

During her first ever trip to the Republic, the Queen laid wreaths in tribute to Irishmen who died fighting for Britain in both world wars and also for Irish rebels who died fighting for independence from British rule.

In a visit rich in symbolism, the monarch also spoke a few words in the Irish language as she addressed a state dinner in Dublin Castle, the building that had once been the seat of British rule in Ireland.

Analysis


Martina Purdy
BBC News NI Political Correspondent

As a youth, Martin McGuinness wore the uniform of an IRA volunteer - secretly, illegally and defiantly.

Now, decades later, he will don a white tie and tails and publicly, cheerfully and - perhaps -still defiantly, attend the Queen's banquet at Windsor Castle.

We should not be too surprised. His journey has already seen him shake the hand of the Queen.

Not to attend the first state visit of an Irish president would undermine all his promises, made as an Irish presidential candidate, that he would work for peace.

It will put him in the company of Ireland's most senior figure, Michael D Higgins, and the presidency is a post that Sinn Féin covets.

It will also win praise in Dublin and the Republic, helping to reverse the political blunder of Sinn Féin's refusal to attend the Queen's visit to the Irish presidential residence in 2011.

And whatever votes Sinn Féin loses in Northern Ireland, if any, will be offset by potential gains in the south of Ireland.

Having conquered Northern Ireland, it is to the south that Sinn Féin's hungry eyes look for growth.

This decision is good for Martin McGuinness, peace and for Sinn Féin.



BBC News - Martin McGuinness to attend banquet with Queen when President Higgins visits UK
Last edited by Blackleaf; Apr 6th, 2014 at 08:20 AM..
 
Blackleaf
#2
Great British pomp and pageantry has greeted the ninth President of the Irish Republic, Michael D Higgins, has he arrived in Britain today to start his state visit.

He was greeted at the Irish embassy in London earlier by Prince Charles before heading to Windsor in Berkshire - 21 miles west of Trafalgar Square - where he shook hands with the Queen and Prince Philip at Windsor Castle.

In scenes which would have been unthinkable twenty years ago, an Irish president and a British monarch rode together in the Queen's gilded carriage through the streets of the town on the way to the castle - Europe's largest inhabitable castle and the place the Queen views as her real home - led by a large mounted cavalry as townsfolk and tourists lined the streets.

Upon reaching Windsor Castle the two heads of state were greeted by more scarlet-clad soldiers in the quadrangle of the huge castle, where they played the two national anthems and even the song Gold by Spandau Ballet.

Windsor Castle's quadrangle is significant in Irish history because it is where the Irish regiments of the British Army gathered to be disbanded when what is now the Republic of Ireland broke away from the UK in 1922.

Later, Higgins is to return to London where he will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey and become the first Irish head of state to address both Houses of the British parliament.

'We are at a very interesting point in history, when we have, following Her Majesty's visit to Ireland, such good relations between our people,' Mr Higgins said in advance of the trip.

'My hope for the visit at the end of it all is that people will in ever more numbers come to share in experiencing the history, the present circumstances and culture, and do so in ever greater numbers.'

For centuries Ireland was under English (Norman) and then British rule and the more recent troubles can be traced back to the partition of the country.

Ireland won independence in 1921 following a civil war and guerrilla campaign against British forces, and seceded from the UK on 6 December 1922.

But six counties were kept under British control according to their wishes, creating Northern Ireland, which remains part of the UK.

President Higgins said there were "a lot of very difficult memories" and that it would be wrong to "wipe the slate clean".


Irish President Michael D Higgins in historic UK visit

BBC News
8 April 2014


President Higgins meets Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at the Irish Embassy in London

Irish President Michael D Higgins has been welcomed to the UK by the Royal Family at the start of the first state visit by an Irish head of state.

Later he is due to address both Houses of Parliament - another historic first.

Ahead of the trip he said Anglo-Irish relations were at a high but warned there was "significant work" to do secure peace in Northern Ireland.

His trip comes after the Queen became the first British monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland three years ago.

Then Sinn Fein did not take part, but on Tuesday Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, a former IRA commander, will attend a banquet hosted by the Queen at Windsor Castle.


Both the UK and Irish national anthems were played as the president arrived at Windsor Castle

Mr Higgins said: "I think Her Majesty in coming to Ireland and addressing for example issues of relations between our two people was doing it the right way."

He was greeted at the Irish embassy in London earlier by Prince Charles before heading to Windsor where he shook hands with the Queen and Prince Philip.

As is customary on official state visits, the president will lay a wreath at the grave of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey, central London.


Crowds cheered the carriage carrying the Irish president to Windsor Castle

He is also due to meet Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street, pay tribute to the work of Irish health professionals, and meet business leaders and London Mayor Boris Johnson.

He will be joined on the trip by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore.

The statesman, who came to England to work as a waiter when he was 21, said his visit would be "very important for the relationships between the people of Ireland and UK".

The BBC's Ireland correspondent Andy Martin said the trip could not have happened 20 years ago, because of "lingering acrimony" between the two countries.

He said that "changed entirely three years ago", when the Queen laid a wreath at a memorial to those who died fighting for Ireland's independence.


Mr Higgins and the Duke of Edinburgh inspected British soldiers at Windsor Castle


Pageantry: Queen Elizabeth II and Irish President Michael D Higgins travel by State Carriage towards Windsor Castle at the start of his state visit

Regal: Her Majesty ensured Mr Higgins was given a full ceremonial welcome as they arrived at her Berkshire castle

First visit: The Queen, Irish President Michael D Higgins, Sabina Higgins and The Duke of Edinburgh share a joke at a royal reception at Windsor Castle

The Queen set another historic precedent two years ago when she shook hands with Mr McGuinness during a trip to Belfast.

Conor Murphy, a Sinn Fein MP and former IRA member, said the president's visit was a "symbolically significant step" on the "journey towards reconciliation and better relationships".

But in a sign of the tensions caused by Sinn Fein's participation in some of the events, Stephen Gault - whose father was killed by an IRA bomb in 1987 - accused republicans of trying to "airbrush" history.

"How can I forgive somebody who hasn't turned around and asked for my forgiveness?" he said of Mr McGuinness on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.


More than 3,600 people are estimated to have been killed during the troubles between 1969 and 1998.

For centuries Ireland was under British or English rule and the more recent troubles can be traced back to the partition of the country.

Ireland won independence in 1921 following a civil war and guerrilla campaign against British forces.

But six counties were kept under British control, creating Northern Ireland.

President Higgins said there were "a lot of very difficult memories" and that it would be wrong to "wipe the slate clean".

Asked about the Northern Irish peace process, Mr Higgins acknowledged: "There is very significant work to do.

"Affecting a kind of amnesia is of no value to you, you are better to honestly deal with our facts that are standing behind you as shadows.

"How could I say to any family whose family member might be in a wheelchair or somebody who is dead, you must put it behind you?"

Analysis

Andy Martin BBC Ireland correspondent

The return leg of the Queen's enormously successful tour of Ireland means there will be no more "firsts" in the attempt to make Ireland and Britain normal neighbours.

When Sinn Fein say Martin McGuinness may go to the Windsor Castle ball, and start talking about the Queen in terms of her contribution to peace, it is a clear indication that relations have changed massively.

The Republic of Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny acknowledges that this visit could not have occurred 20 years ago, such was the lingering acrimony over Britain's role in Ireland, and the IRA's attacks in Britain.

All of that changed entirely three years ago when the Queen did not just acknowledge that emotive history, but faced into it by laying a wreath at a memorial to those who died fighting the Crown for Ireland's independence.

Mr Higgins will struggle to match that symbolism, or indeed the obvious friendship that developed between his predecessor Mary McAleese and the royals in 2011. However, his role in London is designed to break the idea that such a visit is unusual.

Mr Higgins, himself a poet and a migrant worker in England in his youth, will be keen to emphasise those things that tie the countries together, rather than the issues that have so brutally divided them.

BBC News - Irish President Michael D Higgins in historic UK visit
Last edited by Blackleaf; Apr 8th, 2014 at 07:56 AM..
 
Tecumsehsbones
#3
BREAKING NEWS!

For those who doubt the existence of hobbits, actual photographic proof!


 
Blackleaf
#4
Time has taken its toll on Mr Higgins.

He's 72 but looks 152.

But he is clever. He is a poet and a philosopher. He also used to be a waiter in England before he got into politics.

The Queen always looks lovely.
 
Tecumsehsbones
#5

Paul Gross Meets the Queen - YouTube

 
Blackleaf
#6
Never heard of him. He's an unknown, Z-lister. Not a patch on the Queen.
 
Locutus
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by BlackleafView Post

Never heard of him. He's an unknown, Z-lister. Not a patch on the Queen.

Most of us here haven't either. He's a has-been two-bit libactivist. Nothing to see here.
 
Blackleaf
#8

Beautiful: The carriage procession passed below the famous castle building as the Irish Republic's leader enjoyed a full ceremonial welcome to Britain


Grand: The Queen and the Irish President Michael D. Higgins, sit together in a state carriage as he arrives at Windsor


Message: The grand scale of the welcome afforded to Mr Higgins, sat here with The Queen, shows improvement in relations between the two countries in recent years


Ceremonial: Soldiers marched past Her Majesty and her Irish guest, who has begun the first visit by a head of state for the country in its history









Special moment: People lining the streets waved the British and Irish flags during the state visit and flags of both countries ran through Windsor






Soldier: The Royal Horse Guards followed the State Carriage Procession to Windsor Castle this afternoon






Pomp and ceremony: Prince Charles and Camilla watch the parade surrounded by senior members of the Armed Forces and Beefeaters











Heir to the throne: Prince Charles and Camilla were also swept up to Windsor in a coach with two Irish dignataries






Historic: The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins shares a laugh with the Prince of Wales at the Irish Embassy in central London at the start of his state visit




Meeting: The President also enjoyed a cup of tea with Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, before heading off to Windsor Castle


Touch down: Michael D Higgins, accompanied by his wife Sabina Higgins, arrive at London Heathrow Airport this morning

Inspection: The President of Ireland, followed by the Duke of Edinburgh and led by Guard Commander Major Andrew Seddon, inspected the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards in the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle

Grandeur: The Royal and Irish parties enjoyed music from the brass band in the castle's quadrangle






If it were up to the Left...

The Irish President would have been met at the airport by a mini-cab and taken to a service-station on the M25 to review a march-past by the Dagenham Girl Pipers and Lesbian Anti-War Collective.

After that it's off to a Toby Carvery by London Boris Bike "because it's greener" where Prince Phillip will pay for the All-U-Can Eat Buffet for 4, then on to Barking Town Hall where the President would address an audience of single-mothers, Polish immigrants and radical Imams on the evils of imperialism followed by music from a Wolfe Tones CD and all rounded off with the Internationale.

The evening to be given over to entertainment, a visit to the pictures for the latest blockbuster (no expense spared here!) "up West", before catching the night-bus to Euston Station ready for the train to Holyhead for the Holyhead-Dublin ferry at 1am.

As a concession to their ages, a banquette in a shared-cabin awaits the President and Mrs. Higgins on the three o'clock sailing for Dun Leary.
 
EagleSmack
#9


"Tell me now girl... did Charlie ever get to be your tampon me dear?"
 
Blackleaf
#10
Politicians, Hollywood stars and sports stars last night dined together with the Royals, British and Irish politicians and other guests on a 168ft long table - Britain's longest - in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle for the state visit of the Irish President.

The Queen was to the left of President Higgins and the Duchess of Cornwall was on his right hand side.

Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband were also in attendance, along with the Foreign Secretary William Hague, First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson, Irish Taoiseach (PM) Enda Kenny and Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers.

Other members of the royal family at the banquet included the Prince of Wales who sat next to President Higgins' wife Sabina, and the Duke of Edinburgh, who sat on her other side.

Hollywood stars at the banquet of 160 people included British/Irish actor Daniel Day-Lewis and James Bond star Dame Judi Dench.

Former rugby union star Brian O'Driscoll - who earlier this year clocked up a world record 141st international cap before retiring after Ireland won this year's Six Nations Championship - was also present at the dinner. O'Driscoll played 133 games for Ireland and eight for the British & Irish Lions.

Also present at the banquet was Irish-born TV presenter Terry Wogan, who has been a well-known personality on British television since the Sixties.

The Queen wore the Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia's tiara which bore droplets of emeralds and the Delhi Durbar Necklace.

The tiara was one of a number of jewels smuggled out of Russia by a member of the British Secret Intelligence Service and Elizabeth II inherited it in 1953 on the death of her grandmother Queen Mary of Teck.

During the banquet, the Irish song Molly Malone was played as the royal procession made its way into the room.

After speeches by the Queen and President Higgins, guests tucked into fillet of Isle of Gigha halibut with young leeks and fine herb sauce.

For the main course they ate tornadoes of Windsor estate beef with wild mushrooms and water cress puree, served with purple sprouting broccoli and sauce hollandaise, baked onions stuffed with Parmesan and Bulgar wheat.

For dessert guests were served vanilla ice-cream bombe with Balmoral redcurrant centre.

The long polished table - surrounded by 160 guests - was decorated with candelabras and flowers, including green Bells of Ireland, and other flowers with shades of orange and white to represent the Ireland's national colours.

Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister and ex-IRA commander Martin McGuinness was seated next to President of the Royal Society Sir Paul Nurse and Director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti.

Emeralds for her Irish guest: The Queen wears stunning jewelled Russian tiara and Indian necklace inherited from her grandmother in honour of visiting President


Daniel Day-Lewis, Dame Judi Dench, Brian O'Driscoll and Sir Terry Wogan all welcomed to the Queen's home
To mark the occasion the Queen wore emeralds in honour of her guests
Her tiara – the Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia’s tiara - bore droplets of emeralds chosen for the occasion
Queen Mary bought the tiara in 1921 and it was inherited by Queen Elizabeth on her grandmother's death in 1953

By Tara Brady
9 April 2014
Daily Mail

Hollywood stars, the political elite and the royal family sat side by side in the splendour of Saint George's Hall last night during a historic state banquet at Windsor Castle for Irish President Michael D Higgins.

Daniel Day-Lewis and Dame Judi Dench, Irish rugby hero Brian O'Driscoll and his actress wife Amy Huberman, hat designer Philip Treacy, sculptor Sir Antony Gormley and Sir Terry Wogan were all welcomed to the Queen's home.

To mark the occasion the Queen wore emeralds in honour of her guests.

Grandeur: The Queen wore the Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia's tiara which bore droplets of emeralds and the Delhi Durbar Necklace

Her tiara – the Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia’s tiara - bore droplets of emeralds, chosen specifically for the occasion. The Queen otherwise would wear pearls.

Grand Duchess Vladimir, also known as Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia, wife of the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, was the aunt of Tsar Nicholas II, who was murdered alongside his family in 1918 by the Bolsheviks.

Grand Duchess Vladimir was the grandest of the grand duchesses at the royal court and she was no fan of the Tsar’s wife, Alexandra.

So she packed up her magnificent jewel collection and set up a rival court at which she could be the star of the show.




Guests listen during a speech by Queen Elizabeth II in honour of the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins at Windsor Castle

Historic: The Queen talks with Irish President, Michael D Higgins at the State Banquet in his homour at Windsor Castle

To mark the occasion the Queen wore emeralds in honour of her guests - including the Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia's tiara and Delhi Durbar Necklace

The Queen addresses the assembled guests at the banquet at Windsor Castle. St George's Hall boasts Britain's longest table, a mahogany masterpiece measuring 168ft

One of her most dazzling pieces was this very tiara of 15 intertwined diamond circles strung together with a diamond ribbon on top and hung with articulating pendant pearls, made in the 1874 by Bolin, the Russian court jeweller.

She hid this wonderful example of intricate Russian craftsmanship in the vault at Vladimir Palace in 1918 when she fled St. Petersburg in the wake of the revolution.

It remained hidden away until a friend of the family who happened to be a member of the British Secret Intelligence Service smuggled the jewels out of Russia for the Grand Duchess, tucked away in a plain bag.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II toasts with President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, obscured 5th left, after her speech during a State Banquet in honour of the Irish President, in Windsor Castle

After speeches by the Queen and President Higgins, guests tucked into fillet of Isle of Gigha halibut with young leeks and fine herb sauce

Queen Elizabeth II delivers a speech during a State Banquet in honour of the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins in Windsor




The Queen talks to Irish President Michael D Higgins at the Royal Banquet (left). During the banquet, the Irish song Molly Malone (right) was played as the royal procession made its way into the room

With her jewels finally returned to her, she split them up amongst her four children before passing away in Paris in 1920.

This particular tiara went to her daughter, Princess Nicholas of Greece. Princess Nicholas sold her jewels to benefit both her family and Russian charities and she sold this one in 1921 to Queen Mary.

Queen Mary had to have some repairs after the tiara made its journey to the UK.

BANQUET FIT FOR THE QUEEN


Starter
Halibut with baby leeks in a fine herb sauce

Main Course
Tournedos of Windsor Estate beef with wild mushrooms and watercress purée
Purple sprouting broccoli in hollandaise sauce
Onions stuffed with parmesan and bulgur wheat
Savoyarde potatoes and salad

Dessert
Vanilla ice-cream bombe with Windsor redcurrant centre and fruit plate

Wines
Ridgeview Cuvée Merret Grosvenor 2009
Meursault 1er Cru Perrières 2005, Chanson Père et Fils
Château Léoville-Barton 1990, 2ème Cru Classé, St Julien
Louis Roederer Carte Blanche NV
Quinto do Noval Vintage Port 1966


It was inherited by Queen Elizabeth on Mary’s death in 1953 along with the rest of her remaining jewel collection.

The necklace of diamonds and emeralds set in platinum and gold worn by the Queen was one of the principal elements of Queen Mary’s parure of diamonds and emeralds created for the Delhi Durbar of 1911.

The parure consisted of The Delhi Durbar Tiara, a stomacher (incorporating Cullinan V and VIII diamonds), brooch, earrings and this necklace.

The Cullinan VII was cut by Asscher’s as an 8.8 carat marquise and is suspended as an asymmetrical pendant on a detachable chain of ten graduated diamonds, to counterbalance the pear-shaped emerald pendant, which is pavé-set and similarly suspended from a detachable, graduated chain of 12 diamonds.

The necklace incorporates nine of the Cambridge emeralds, originally owned by Queen Mary’s grandmother, the Duchess of Cambridge.

The eight cabochon-cut emeralds are set between six large brilliant diamonds on a double platinum chain, with 94 smaller brilliant-cut diamonds.

The necklace was inherited, along with the rest of the parure, by The Queen in 1953.

During the banquet, the Irish song Molly Malone was played as the royal procession made its way into the room.

After speeches by the Queen and President Higgins, guests tucked into fillet of Isle of Gigha halibut with young leeks and fine herb sauce.

For the main course they ate tornadoes of Windsor estate beef with wild mushrooms and water cress puree, served with purple sprouting broccoli and sauce hollandaise, baked onions stuffed with Parmesan and Bulgar wheat.

For dessert guests were served vanilla ice-cream bombe with Balmoral redcurrant centre.

The long polished table - surrounded by 160 guests - was decorated with candelabras and flowers, including green Bells of Ireland, and other flowers with shades of orange and white to represent the Ireland's national colours.

Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister and ex-IRA commander Martin McGuinness was seated next to President of the Royal Society Sir Paul Nurse and Director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti.

The long polished table - surrounded by 160 guests - was decorated with candelabras and flowers, including green Bells of Ireland, and other flowers with shades of orange and white to represent the Ireland's national colours

Hollywood stars, the political elite and the royal family sat side-by-side in the splendour of Saint George's Hall in Windsor Castle

The Queen was to the left of President Higgins and the Duchess of Cornwall was on his right hand side.

Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband were also in attendance, along with the Foreign Secretary William Hague, First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers.

Other members of the royal family at the banquet included the Prince of Wales who is sitting next to President Higgins' wife Sabina, and the Duke of Edinburgh is sitting on her other side.

Honour: Actress Dame Judi Dench was among the guests invited to the Royal Banquet at Windsor Castle for the state visit of the Irish president

Dame Judi Dench shares a joke before the State Banquet at Windsor Castle in honour of the Irish President, Michael D Higgins who is on a state visit to the UK

Ireland's former rugby captain, Brian O'Driscoll shares a joke with Martin McGuinness before the Royal banquet at Windsor Castle

Dame Judi Dench, Irish rugby hero Brian O'Driscoll and his actress wife Amy Huberman, hat designer Philip Treacy, and Sir Terry Wogan (pictured) were all welcomed to the Queen's home

Former Irish President Mary McAleese was also at the banquet.

President Higgins was given a pair of photographs of the Queen and the Duke, as well as a copy of Dubliners by James Joyce, which had been specially bound and boxed by the Windsor bindery.

Mrs Higgins was given a small silver engine-turned box with gold cypher, by William & Son.




The Queen photographed in 1957 (top) and 1954 (bottom) wearing the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara and Delhi Durbar Necklace

Last edited by Blackleaf; Apr 9th, 2014 at 10:46 AM..
 
Blackleaf
#11
The Irish President's state visit to the UK ended yesterday.

The first for an Irish head of state to the UK, it is another milestone in Anglo-Irish relations.

Over the years and centuries, it is a relationship that has been marked by insurrection, war and strained diplomacy despite geographical proximity and many cultural and familial ties.

Neighbours across the sea: A brief history of Anglo-Irish relations

By Gavin Stamp
Political reporter
BBC News
8 April 2014


Celebrating the two countries' bonds will be the main theme of the Irish president's four-day visit


Early days of English rule


Henry VIII was the first English monarch to also be King of Ireland

The Norman invasion (NOT the English invasion, as many Irish republicans would have you believe) of Ireland in the late 12th Century marked the beginning of 700 years of shared history between neighbouring islands separated, at their furthest, by about 150 miles.

The Norman invasion of Ireland, which occurred 100 years after the Norman invasion of England, was a two-stage process, which began on 1 May 1169 when a force of loosely associated Norman knights landed near Bannow, County Wexford at the request of Diarmait Mac Murchada, the ousted King of Leinster, who sought their help in regaining his kingdom.

On 18 October 1171, Henry II - William the Conqueror's great-grandson - landed a much bigger army in Waterford to ensure his continuing control over the preceding Norman force. In the process he took Dublin and had accepted the fealty of the Irish kings and bishops by 1172, so creating the Lordship of Ireland, which formed part of his Angevin Empire (which also included England and all of what is now northern and western France).

The English Crown did not assert full control of Ireland until 1541, when the Irish Parliament bestowed the title of King of Ireland on Henry VIII after an uprising by the Earl of Kildare threatened regal hegemony.

The arrival of thousands of Protestant settlers from England and Scotland displaced many of the existing Catholic landholders and sowed the seeds for centuries of on-off sectarian and military conflict.

Wars in the middle and end of the 17th Century cemented the Protestant ascendancy, with William of Orange's victory over James II in the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 both celebrated and mourned to this day.

The Irish Parliament was abolished in 1801, with Ireland unifying with Great Britain to become a part of a new country, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, under the Act of Union.

The Great Potato Famine of the 1840s, in which a million people are estimated to have died and led a further two million to emigrate, is regarded by many as a turning point in relations between the countries.

The birth of a nation


Michael Collins is regarded as one of the architects of modern Ireland

The second half of the 19th Century was marked by the rise of competing nationalist movements and battles over home rule for Ireland (more autonomy for the island but with it remaining in the UK) which decided the fate of British prime ministers.

Those seeking a constitutional route to self-government were rewarded with the restoration of home rule in 1914 - although this was soon suspended at the outbreak of World War I.

More than 200,000 Irish men fought for their King and country in the conflict, almost a quarter never to return.

It was against this turbulent backdrop that those who believed that armed struggle was the only way to achieve their ultimate goal of independence for Ireland asserted themselves.

The Easter Rising of 24 April 1916, which was brutally dealt with by the authorities after hopes of German assistance did not materialise, remains to this day the most symbolic manifestation of this fight.

The 1919-21 Anglo-Irish War which followed saw numerous atrocities on both sides, by a nascent Irish Republican Army (IRA), whose leaders included Michael Collins, and a British government whose authority was waning.


The Anglo-Irish War - a civil war - took place between January 1919 and July 1921. Ireland was partitioned in two, with the southern part, the Irish Free State, seceding from the UK in December 1922. It became a republic in 1949.

The agreement which eventually led to the 1922 partition of Ireland, the seceding of the southern part from the UK and the creation of the Irish Free State, remained a source of division for 70 years.

Michael Collins only outlived the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty by nine months, gunned down during the civil war that ensued, while David Lloyd George quit as prime minister a few month later.

The troubles


Attacks on Britain became a familiar feature of the 1970s and 1980s

The "No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs" signs displayed in boarding houses across England in the 1950s and 1960s seem part of a distant era now but were a virulent symbol of the distrust between the two countries.

While sectarian tensions were not new in Northern Ireland and IRA attacks on parts of Britain dated back to 1939, the 30-year conflict known as the troubles was of a different magnitude altogether.

Events such as Bloody Sunday, the hunger strikes, the bombing of the Conservative Party conference at Brighton and the Omagh bombing are seared on the consciousness of a generation, whatever their political and sectarian loyalties.

The root causes of the conflict will continue to be pored over, but the true toll in terms of human suffering may never be known.

It is estimated that more than 3,600 people were killed during the violence between 1969 and 1998.

The vast majority of deaths were in Northern Ireland, but more than 100 people are estimated to have been killed in other parts of the UK and also in the Irish Republic.

Political reconciliation


Relations between Dublin and London were often strained despite formal agreements

After decades of strife, the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement (above) was a ground-breaking moment, as much for its symbolism as for its actual impact.

Signed at Hillsborough Castle, an official British government residence 12 miles from Belfast, by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her Irish counterpart Garret FitzGerald, it paved the way for regular conferences between British and Irish ministers on matters affecting Northern Ireland.

This gave Dublin a role in Northern Ireland for the first time in more than 60 years.

The fruits of this closer co-operation, although resisted by some at time, were felt later as international support for the peace process in Northern Ireland gathered pace after the 1994 IRA ceasefire.

The 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which reaffirmed Northern Ireland's constitutional status in the UK (the Republic of Ireland dropped all claims to Northern Ireland) while also repealing the law by which Ireland was partitioned, was approved by 94% of Irish voters in a referendum.


The 1998 Good Friday Agreement, signed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern saw, amongst other things, the Republic of Ireland relinquish its claim to Northern Ireland and was approved in a referendum by 94% of Irish voters


The Crown and Ireland


The Queen's visit to Ireland in 2011 was well received

Before her successful state visit in 2011, Ireland was one of the few countries that the Queen had never visited in an official capacity.

This was evidence of the legacy of historical recrimination and mutual suspicion which until recently existed between the two countries.

Despite becoming a self-governing dominion in 1922, the Irish Free State remained a member of the British Empire, with the British sovereign remaining as head of state.

Ireland became a fully independent state in 1937 but did not withdraw from the Commonwealth and also become a republic until 12 years later. The prospect of rejoining has never been seriously pursued.

However, the Queen's 2011 visit - in which she paid her respects to republican dead and gave a speech on Anglo-Irish history - drew near universal praise and the prospect of members of the Royal Family attending events for the centenary of the Easter Rising is being entertained.

Sporting and cultural bonds


Ireland's recent victory in the Six Nations was emblematic of the sporting rivalry between the two nations. In 2007, the England rugby union team played Ireland at Croke Park in Dublin, the stadium where the Black and Tans opened fire on the crowd during a Gaelic football match in 1920, during the Anglo-Irish War, killing 14 civilians. The absence of any booing by the Irish fans towards England during the match was seen as a pivotal moment in the long process of reconciliation.

The long sporting rivalry between the two countries has often transcended politics but it has, at times, also encapsulated historic shifts in attitudes.

When God Save The Queen was played at Croke Park - the scene of an infamous police massacre of civilians during the Anglo-Irish War in 1920 - before a rugby match in 2007, the absence of any booing was seen as a pivotal moment in the long process of reconciliation.

Whether it is the shared passion among fans for the Six Nations or the Cheltenham Festival, Anglo-Irish battles are now fought out on very different turf indeed.

Patterns of emigration have ebbed and flowed over the years but more than 400,000 Irish citizens call London home and there are large, vibrant Irish communities in most of England and Scotland's largest cities.

The great Irish writers of the 20th Century, such as Samuel Beckett and James Joyce, preferred Paris to London, but the lure of London as a literary destination has grown in recent decades.

Michael Gambon, Pierce Brosnan, Graham Norton and Terry Wogan, are among the many members of the Irish Diaspora who have become pillars of the theatrical and showbusiness establishment.

Ireland leads the UK by seven victories to five in the Eurovision song contest.


United in sport: The British & Irish Lions rugby union team


Trading places


Ryanair is one of the many businesses based in both Britain and Ireland

Financially, the UK and the Irish Republic are now intertwined as never before.

The Irish Republic is the UK's fifth largest trading partner, while nearly one in five exports leaving Irish shores is destined for the UK. In total, bilateral trade between the two is close to £30bn.

There are 50 Irish businesses listed on the London Stock Exchange, including packaging giant Smurfit Kappa, food ingredients maker Kerry Group and bookmakers Paddy Power, while one of Ireland's most famous exports, Guinness, is now owned by British drinks firm Diageo.

The way in which the two economies are emerging from the recession caused by the 2008 banking crash at a similar rate points to the similarities and mutual interests between them.

It was telling, at the height of Irish economic woes in 2010, that the UK Parliament approved a multi-billion loan to Dublin with few if any dissenting voices at a time when "EU bailout" was something of a dirty word.


Guinness: British, not Irish


BBC News - Neighbours across the sea: A brief history of Anglo-Irish relations
Last edited by Blackleaf; Apr 13th, 2014 at 08:01 AM..
 
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