England's queen begins tour of the North

The UK's queen arrived in the North today for a three-day visit.

The UK's queen arrived in the North today for a three-day visit.

Accompanied by the duke of Edinburgh, her tour will culminate in a Maundy Thursday Easter week service at St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh.

Anglican Archbishop of Armagh Alan Harper and other religious leaders are expected to be present.

Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward said: “I am delighted to welcome Her Majesty and His Royal Highness to Hillsborough Castle at the start of a visit that is an enormously significant and historic occasion for everyone.

“In this new era of political stability and optimism the people of Northern Ireland, who continue to embrace our shared vision of normality, will see a Royal Maundy Service take place here for the first time ever in the historic city of Armagh.”

William Hall, the Lord-Lieutenant of County Down, greeted the queen and the duke on their arrival at Hillsborough Castle and went on to introduce the Northern Ireland Secretary.

The last time the queen was in the North was in June 2007 at a party for the community and voluntary sector in Coleraine, Co Derry.

She was also in the North in October 2006 for the final review of the home battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment before they were disbanded last summer.

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