The meeting between Martin McGuinness, the Queen and Prince Philip last week was a particularly highly charged affair because Prince Philip's cousin Louis Mountbatten - who played the role of father in Philip's life, after his own father abandonned the family - was killed by the IRA when a boat he was sailing in was blown up by the IRA in 1979.
McGuinness has now revealed that he referred to the incident when he met the Queen and shook her hand in Belfast last week.
Mr McGuinness, in an RTÉ television interview with Miriam O’Callaghan on Saturday night, revealed how, during his private meeting with the Queen and Prince Philip in the Lyric Theatre in Belfast on Wednesday, he spoke of the killing of Lord Mountbatten in Co Sligo in 1979.
“I head-on addressed this issue with the queen and Prince Philip when I said to them that I recognised that they too had lost a loved one. I did not shy away from the issue because I think these are things that have to be faced up to.”
Mr McGuinness, for protocol reasons, said he would not disclose her specific response. He did say, however, that, “She was absolutely understanding of the need for everybody to work together to ensure we don’t go back to the past so that we can continue to move forward – she was very gracious about it.”
Mr McGuinness said he found the queen “very nice” but “I don’t think that surprises people” considering the way she conducted herself during her visit to the Republic last year, and her acknowledgement that all sides suffered in the conflict.
It has been noted, however, that when McGuinness approached Prince Philip, he moved away to avoid shaking his hand.