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Queen Elizabeth visits Northern Ireland

June 26, 2012 at 6:47 PM
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ENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland, June 26 (UPI) -- Queen Elizabeth met Tuesday in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, with relatives of those who were killed in the 1987 Poppy Day massacre.

Bad weather delayed the queen's arrival by an hour for a two-day visit to Belfast and County Fermanagh, where she met with former Provisional Irish Republican Army leader Martin McGuinness, now the deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, the BBC reported.

Eleven people were killed in the IRA bomb attack Nov. 8, 1987, at Enniskillen's war memorial during a ceremony observing Remembrance Day, to honor those who served in the British military during World War I and World War II.

In a BBC interview McGuinness acknowledged British soldiers as well as the royal family suffered as a result of the conflict.

"It's another bit of history," he said. "There have been many people who have been badly hurt as a result of state violence."

Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson had said the visit would have been "unthinkable" years ago.

Visits by the queen to Northern Ireland are normally kept secret until her arrival but this one was officially announced in advance.

The queen and Prince Philip began their tour with a thanksgiving service in Enniskillen.

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