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Queen meets Martin McGuinness

The Queen today has met the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland and former IRA member Martin McGuinness in a historic meeting at a Belfast theatre.

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Queen shakes hands with McGuinness

The Queen has shaken the hand of Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness in an historic encounter that would have seemed unthinkable just a decade ago.

They met behind closed doors in a room within Belfast's Lyric Theatre during an event celebrating the arts in the Republic and Northern Ireland.

In a quiet space used by the Lyric for creative learning, the two were joined by the Duke of Edinburgh, Northern Ireland first minister Peter Robinson, Irish President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina.

Called the McGrath Suite, named in honour of benefactor Harvey McGrath, the former chairman of the British insurer Prudential, and his wife Allison, the room is usually filled with toddlers enjoying story telling sessions or drama students taking part in workshops.

Today it was sparsely furnished with leather seating - four chairs and a sofa - set around a round wooden table decorated with flowers, with refreshments of tea, coffee and still and sparkling water on a side table.

The floor-to-ceiling windows, which look out on to landscaped gardens and the River Lagan, were covered with curtains.

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