The Queen and Prince Philip have both shaken hands with former IRA commander Martin McGuinness.
Prince Philip's uncle Lord Mountbatten was killed by the IRA in 1979, when a bomb was placed on his boat in the Irish seaside resort of Mullaghmore.
Mr McGuinness has admitted being a member of the IRA, but claims he left the organization in 1974.
In fact, the monarch and the former IRA man, who is now Northern Ireland’s democratically elected deputy first minister, shook hands twice. The first handshake took place behind closed doors at Belfast's Lyric Theatre and was not recorded. The second, which was filmed and photographed, took place on their departure.
Police in Belfast imposed a one-mile exclusion zone in every direction around the meeting venue, following rioting in the city last night in protest at the monarch’s visit. In stark contrast to the cheering crowds who greeted the Queen when she visited Enniskillen yesterday, the sovereign was driven through deserted streets in a bullet-proof car for the meeting with the Sinn Fein MP.
Asked how it was to meet the Queen. Mr McGuinness said: "It was good. It was very nice." Asked if he still true to his beliefs, said: "I am still a republican."
The Queen was always said to be 'open' to the meeting despite her family's personal suffering at hands of IRA.
Her state visit to the Republic of Ireland last year paved the way for today's historic developments. On that trip, the Queen laid a wreath in Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance which honours the generations of republicans who died fighting British rule in Ireland and said in a speech that things should have 'been done differently or not at all.'