The Queen's visit to Ireland was hailed as a momentous, healing moment in the relationship between the UK and its former colony - but it very nearly was called off at the last minute, a new book reveals, due to “credible bomb warnings” in London and Dublin.
The claims are made in "The Price of Power" by Pat Leahy, which is to be published this week.
“According to the people involved, there were new and credible bomb threats made when the Queen’s aircraft was actually in the air, and urgent conversations took place between Dublin and London about whether the flight should be turned around, diverted or delayed,” it says. “In the event, she continued.”
According to a report in the Irish Sunday Times, the book says that as threats from dissident republicans, both public and private, proliferated in the days leading up to the visit, “Downing Street became extremely jumpy, with some officials in Dublin fearing that the visit could be called off at the last minute”.
During the trip, the Queen gave a speech in which she came close to apologising for British behaviour in Ireland, and shook hands with former IRA man Martin McGuinness (above).