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Northern Ireland news

Queen to send private message to Martin McGuinness' widow

Martin McGuinness shakes hands with Queen Elizabeth. Picture by Paul Faith
Deborah McAleese, Press Association

The Queen is to send a private message to the widow of Martin McGuinness.

The British monarch and the former IRA commander met and shook hands at a charity event in Belfast in June 2012, an event which would once have been unimaginable.

Buckingham Palace indicated that the queen would be contacting his wife Bernie following his death.

The day after the hand shake Mr McGuinness spoke about its "momentous and historical" significance.

He said that the meeting had the potential to define "a new relationship between Britain and Ireland and between the Irish people themselves".

In a speech in Westminster he said the handshake "was in a very pointed, deliberate and symbolic way offering the hand of friendship to unionists through the person of Queen Elizabeth for which many unionists have a deep affinity".

"It is an offer I hope many will accept in the same spirit it was offered," he said.

Martin McGuinness speaks to the Irish News about the handshake:

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