Power Games

Queen Elizabeth's Game Of Thrones

Queen declines to take the top spot in Westeros. Well, it’s not the most comfortable of seats.

Phil Noble/Reuters

They are both Queens. One of them has been monarch for over sixty years, and overseen an era of unparalleled peace and prosperity for the people of her realm. Her son is a peaceful chap who likes talking to trees

The other … well, not so much. She is a Queen too, but that’s where the similarities end. Her husband was installed on the throne when her brother (with whom she is having an incestuous affair) murdered the former incumbent, and the less said about her son, the sadistic (and now, thankfully, dead) King Joffre, the better.

To translate: the Queen today met actress Lena Headley – who plays Queen Cersei Lannister – along with kit Harington (Jon Snow) and Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and when she toured the set of the blockbuster drama Game of Thrones in Belfast, Northern Ireland today.

And although the objective of the greatest game in Westeros is to sit upon the Iron Throne, Her Majesty, when she drew near the prize, only looked at it. Rather cautiously. She could have sat on it, thereby taking control of the Seven Kingdoms - The North, the Iron Islands, the Vale, the Westerlands, the Reach, the Stormlands, and Dorne - but she chose not to. And who can blame her? As any number of former occupiers of the top spot in Westeros will tell you, it’s not the most comfortable of seats.

The Queen did not disclose whether or not she is a fan of the blockbuster series (is Prince Philip allowed to watch the nudie bits?)

Game Of Thrones is easily the biggest TV production in Europe and is said to have created more than 900 full-time and 5,700 part-time jobs in Northern Ireland.

As well as the studio in Belfast’s old Titanic quarter, Northern Ireland’s stunning natural landscape is also home to a number of instantly recognizable GoT locations, and various operators offer tours of the sets have sprung up.

For example, the caves where freaky fire witch Melisandre of Asshai gave birth to her ‘shadow assassin’ who went on to slay Renly Baratheon are better known to locals as the caves at Cushendun. They were formed over a period of 400 million of years and are a product of extreme weather conditions.

Earlier in the day, the Queen was guided round Crumlin Road prison by two former inamtes - Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness, who are now the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland respectively.

“She could not have two more experienced guides to take her around the premises,” said Mr Robinson.

Mr Robinson spent three short periods incarcerated in Crumlin Road because of joining in protests against the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement.

Mr McGuinness spent five to six weeks there in 1976 where he was on remand facing a charge of IRA membership.