After all the goofing around on the GOT set, the Queen got down to the serious business of Northern Ireland at a lunch yesterday in Belfast City Hall hosted by the new SDLP lord mayor Nichola Mallon.
“We have learnt a lot in these years about ourselves, each other and how societies can only grow and flourish if they are built on trust, respect, justice and inter-dependence,” she said in front of an audience of unionist, SDLP and Sinn Féin councillors and other cross-community representatives.
Her comments were not quite the equal of her Dublin Castle speech in 2011, when she referred to “things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all”, but she did say, "Peacemaking is not always an easy task,” she said, “but you have come this far by turning the impossible into the possible; and as you face the future and difficulties that may appear insurmountable, always remember that the thoughts and prayers of millions, including my own, are with you...The world yearns for examples of positive transformation and of people overcoming differences. I hope and believe that Belfast will continue to be one such living example.”
She delivered her speech shortly after touring the old Crumlin Road jail in north Belfast with First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, both of whom spent time jailed in the prison.