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Historic handshake

27/06/2012
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II shook hands Wednesday with former IRA commander Martin McGuinness in a historic gesture marking a giant step forward in the peace process relating to British rule of Northern Ireland.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II shook hands Wednesday with former IRA commander Martin McGuinness in a historic gesture marking a giant step forward in the peace process relating to British rule of Northern Ireland.

The handshake comes 14 years after the end of a conflict that claimed about 3,500 lives, including that of the queen’s cousin Lord Louis Mountbatten in an IRA bombing.

The two met briefly as part of a small group before the public handshake.

McGuinness then spoke to the queen in Irish as they clasped hands and made eye contact for several seconds in the ground-breaking public part of the event.

“Goodbye and godspeed,” McGuinness then said, translating his comment for the queen. She smiled throughout the encounter but did not speak.
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