Queen in three-day Ulster visit

The Queen is to spend three days in Northern Ireland

The Queen is to spend three days in Northern Ireland

First published in National News © by

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will arrive in Northern Ireland later to begin a three day visit to the region.

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 encounter will be the third time the Queen and Sinn Fein veteran and former IRA commander Mr McGuinness have met.

Engagements during Tuesday and Wednesday include a visit to the set of hit US fantasy drama Game Of Thrones in east Belfast.

The Queen and Duke will tour the Painthall studios in the city's regenerated docklands where much of the popular HBO series is filmed.

Northern Ireland is fast developing an international reputation as a leading filming destination, with the powersharing administration at Stormont offering attractive incentives to producers to film in the region.

Game Of Thrones is estimated to be the biggest TV production in Europe and its first four seasons have been credited with bringing a direct economic benefit of £82 million to Northern Ireland, creating the equivalent of more than 900 full-time and 5,700 part-time jobs.

The Queen and Duke will also visit the historic Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast.

Once a prison synonymous with the dark years of the Troubles, its transformation into a popular visitor attraction is symbolic of Northern Ireland's journey away from conflict.

The Royal couple will also be guests at a reception and lunch at Belfast City Hall and will attend a garden party at Hillsborough Castle.

The castle is also playing host to experts and crew from the Antiques Road show this week and the Queen and Duke will stop by to visit them during their stay.

During her time across the Irish Sea, her Majesty will also attend a Royal British Legion reception in Coleraine in Co Londonderry where she will launch a programme of activities commemorating the First World War.

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.

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