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Three day royal visit to Northern Ireland begins

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will begin a three day official visit to Northern Ireland later today.

Read: Irish President meets PM on day two of historic visit

Northern Ireland
The Queen first met Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in 2012. Credit: PA

The Royal Couple will land at George Best Belfast City Airport before making their way to their official residence at Hillsborough Castle.

At the castle her Majesty is due to meet Stormont's First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

The Queen and Duke last visited Northern Ireland in 2012 as part of her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

That occasion proved highly symbolic in terms of the peace process as it marked the first occasion the Queen met Mr McGuinness.

Read: Queen meets Martin McGuinness

The Queen hosts Chinese Premier at Windsor Castle

The Queen has met the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang this morning, only two months after a human rights row between China and the UK.

Mr Li and his wife traveled to Windsor Castle as part of their three-day official visit to the UK.

The Queen greets Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Mr Li is in Britain for the return leg of a trade boosting link-up begun by David Cameron last year.

He will meet the Prime Minister in Downing Street later today.

The Queen receives Chinese premier Li Keqiang and his wife Cheng Hong at Windsor Castle Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

But only two months ago, the two countries found themselves in a diplomatic row over human rights.

China was angered by a British Foreign Office document criticising its rights record and called off an official meeting in London at short notice.

Read: Chinese business bosses in UK to boost trade

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Queen and Prince Philip in attendance at Queen's Cup

Queen Elizabeth II presents Lydon Lea of the Zacara team with the Queen's Cup trophy.
Queen Elizabeth II presents Lydon Lea of the Zacara team with the Queen's Cup trophy. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

The Queen today attended the finals day of the Cartier Queen's Cup to present the match trophy, won by the Zacara team for the second year in a row.

Her Majesty arrived at the event accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth II arrive for the Cartier Queen's Cup.
The Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth II arrive for the Cartier Queen's Cup. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Queen visits prized racehorse Tea For Three

Prized racehorse Tea For Three still has Royal Approval after a visit from the Queen - the stallion fell early on in this year's Grand National despite being the bookies' favourite.

It was among a handful of horses inspected by the Queen during the first engagement of her two-day visit to Wales.

The Queen with horse Tea for three and Rebecca Morris. Credit: Matthew Horwood/PA Wire

The monarch was the guest of honour at Wales' first-ever horse hospital, Cotts in Pembrokeshire - and was greeted by more a crowd of more than 200 people, including TV presenter Anna Ryder Richardson.

The Queen, who was dressed in a turquoise blue dress designed by Karl Ludwig and matching hat by Angela Kelly, smiled as she was given a tour of the facility by director Graham Fowke.

The Queen visits Chequers for the first time since 1996

The Queen has visited Chequers where she and the Duke of Edinburgh had lunch as guests of Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha. It is the first time Her Majesty has visited the PM’s official country residence in Buckinghamshire since 1996.

The Queen is shown around Chequers. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
The Queen is shown photographs of former Prime Ministers. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
The Queen signed a visitor's book. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

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Step towards kingship: Royal press offices to merge

The Prince of Wales is set to take another significant step in his journey towards becoming king when a key part of his household merges with Buckingham Palace later this month.

Prince Charles Credit: Alastair Grant/PA Wire

The press offices of the Queen and her son, Prince Charles, are set to merge.

The new office will be based in the Buckingham Palace and will be headed by the Prince's spokeswoman.

The move follows reports by the Sunday Times that Prince Charles will accompany the Queen on the beaches of Normandy this summer to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings - as the monarchy moves towards an effective "job-share".

The Prince has previously represented the Queen on the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka.

The royal selfie: Prince of Wales joins online craze

Queen & Camilla decorate tree with royal baubles

The Queen and the Duchess of Cornwall have helped to decorate a Christmas tree with a pair of specially-made royal baubles, to mark the opening of Barnardo's new headquarters.

The Queen and the Duchess of Cornwall got in the festive spirit today when they helped decorate a Christmas tree - with a pair of royal baubles.
The Queen and Duchess of Cornwall got in the festive spirit when they helped decorate a Christmas tree. Credit: PA

The Queen's decoration was made of red velvet, covered with gold coloured thread and featured her cypher below a crown and a floral pattern around its edge.

Her daughter-in-law's had a similar design, but was made from blue velvet and featured her cypher surrounded by a ring of white beads.

The specially-made royal trinkets hung on the tree by the Queen and Camilla.
The specially-made royal trinkets hung on the tree by the Queen and Camilla. Credit: PA

The Queen made sure she reached up to find a good spot for her festive decoration on the tree at the leading children's charity's new multi-million pound purpose-built building headquarters in Barkingside, East London.

Siblings Skye, aged eight, and seven-year-old Summer, who are supported by a Barnardo's children's centre in Essex, presented the baubles to the royal pair and also gave them Christmas stockings filled with tree decorations from the Barnardo's shop.

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