British queen to make 1st state visit to Ireland
LONDON—Queen Elizabeth II will make her first-ever visit to the Republic of Ireland—the first ruling British monarch to go there in a century marked by Ireland’s brutal war of independence from Britain and the grueling conflict in Northern Ireland.
The long-anticipated visit by the 84-year-old queen will highlight Ireland’s reconciliation with its former colonial master and the slow blooming of peace in neighboring Northern Ireland.
Buckingham Palace and the Irish government confirmed the queen would visit this year, accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh. British and Irish officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record, said they were planning a three-day visit in May.
Most Irish politicians cheered the news, but the IRA-linked Sinn Fein party warned it was premature.
King George V spent six days in Dublin in 1911, when Britain and Ireland were united under a single crown. Ireland won its independence in 1922 following a two-year guerrilla war, but relations between Ireland and Britain remained poisoned by the disputed fate of Northern Ireland, still part of the United Kingdom.
More than 3,600 people were killed during a three-decade conflict over Northern Ireland known as “The Troubles.” Among the dead was Lord Louis Mountbatten—an uncle of the queen’s husband Prince Philip—who was assassinated by an Irish Republican Army bomb on his yacht on the western coast of Ireland in 1979.