History unfolds: Queen, ex-IRA chief shake hands
Queen Elizabeth II and a former Irish Republican Army commander offered each other the hand of peace Wednesday in a long-awaited encounter symbolizing Northern Ireland’s progress in achieving reconciliation after decades of violence.
The monarch and Martin McGuinness met privately inside Belfast’s riverside Lyric Theatre during a cross-community arts event featuring many of Northern Ireland’s top musicians, poets and artists. Media were barred from seeing their first handshake, but the two shook hands again a half-hour later for a TV camera and two photographers.
Underlying the sensitivity of the occasion, no live footage or sound was permitted to be broadcast. Outside, flak-jacketed police shut down all roads surrounding the theater and told residents to stay inside their homes.