McGuinness attends royal banquet at Windsor Castle

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at the banquet at Windsor Castle. (0904MM01)
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at the banquet at Windsor Castle. (0904MM01)
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Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness was among the guests at a banquet at Windsor Castle to mark the state visit of President Michael D Higgins to Britain.

The banquet, which was hosted by Queen Elizabeth II, was also attended by President Higgins, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

During the banquet Mr McGuinness stood for a toast to the Queen, proposed by President Higgins, while God Save the Queen was played.

Amhrán na BhFiann was also then played while the guests stood after the Queen proposed a toast to President Higgins and the people of Ireland.

At the banquet, the Queen said; “It is that we, who inhabit these islands, should live together as neighbours and friends. Respectful of each other’s nationhood, sovereignty and traditions.

“Cooperating to our mutual benefit. At ease in each other’s company.

“After so much chequered history, the avoidable and regrettable pain of which is still felt by many of us, this goal is now within reach.”

President Higgins said Ireland and Britain “live in the shadow and the shelter of each other” and have gained strength from one another.

He said the relationship between Ireland and Britain has changed and “it is now mutual respect and close partnership”.

“While we grieve together for lost lives, we will not let any painful aspect of our shared history deflect us from crafting a future of hope”, he said.

President Higgins continues his four day state visit today.