Saturday 3 December 2016

Queen tells Martin McGuinness: 'Well, I’m still alive anyway'

Chiara Palazzo

Published 28/06/2016 | 11:09

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II meets Martin McGuinness at Hillsborough Castle, Belfast, at the beginning of a two day Royal visit to Northern Ireland. Photo: Aaron McCracken/ Harrisons/ PA Wire
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II meets Martin McGuinness at Hillsborough Castle, Belfast, at the beginning of a two day Royal visit to Northern Ireland. Photo: Aaron McCracken/ Harrisons/ PA Wire
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II meets Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster at Hillsborough Castle, Belfast. Photo: Aaron McCracken/Harrisons/PA Wire

THE Queen has joked with Nortern Ireland's Deputy First Minister that she has been quite busy but she is "still alive."

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Queen Elizabeth II met Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at Hillsborough Castle in Belfast yesterday as part of a two-day royal visit to the province.

When Mr McGuinness asked the monarch how she was she replied "I'm still alive anyway."

In a short video showing the beginning of a 20 minute-audience between the two, the Queen noted that she has been "quite busy," adding "there's been quite a lot going on."

The Deputy First Minister agreed that "there are a lot of things going on at the moment."

After a moment of silence the Queen added "I've had two birthdays, so we've been quite busy."

The monarch is in Northern Ireland for a two-day visit in her first round of public engagements since the UK voted to leave the European Union.

After their meetings at Hillsborough Castle, Mr McGuinness, a Sinn Fein veteran, batted away questions on whether the referendum was talked about.

"We discussed many things, none of which I will tell you."

He added: "We had a very good engagement for about 20 minutes where we did talk about many things."

In Northern Ireland, 56% of voters backed Remain in the referendum. The outcome has prompted Sinn Fein to call for a border poll on Irish unity - a demand the UK Government has rejected.

While Sinn Fein and the DUP share power in the coalition executive in Belfast, they were on different sides of the Brexit debate.

Telegraph.co.uk

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