President Michael D. Higgins led Ireland’s tributes to Queen Elizabeth II whose death was announced this  afternoon (Thursday).

In a statement the President, who stayed as a guest of Her Majesty at Windsor Castle in 2014 and who hosted both the Queen’s successor as monarch, Prince (now King) Charles and his eventual successor, William, said:

“It is with profound regret and a deep personal sadness that I have learnt of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

“On behalf of the people of Ireland, may I express my heartfelt sympathy to His Majesty King Charles and to the Royal Family on their very great personal loss.

“May I offer my deepest condolences to the British people and to the members of the Commonwealth on the loss of a unique, committed and deeply respected Head of State.

“Her Majesty served the British people with exceptional dignity. Her personal commitment to her role and extraordinary sense of duty were the hallmarks of her period as Queen, which will hold a unique place in British history.

“Her reign of 70 years encompassed periods of enormous change, during which she represented a remarkable source of reassurance to the British people. This was a reassurance based on a realism of the significance of present events, rather than any narrow conception of history.

“This was so well reflected by a remarkable generosity of spirit which helped to foster a more inclusive relationship both with the British people themselves and with those with whom her country has experienced a complex, and often difficult, history.

“As President of Ireland, I recall the exceptional hospitality afforded to Sabina and myself by the Queen and the late Prince Philip on our four day State Visit to Britain in 2014.


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Pictured is President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina with her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh prior to the State Banquet hosted by The Queen and The Duke in St George’s Hall, Windsor Castle on the first official day of the Presidents 5 day State Visit to the United Kingdom. Photo Photocall Ireland/Aras An Uachtarain

“Together we celebrated the deeply personal interconnection between the Irish and British people, a connection embodied by the hundreds of thousands of families who have moved between our shores over the centuries.

“As we know, the Queen often spoke of how much she enjoyed her own historic State Visit to Ireland in 2011, the first such Visit by a British monarch since Irish independence, and during which she did so much through eloquent word and generous gesture to improve relations between our two islands.

“Queen Elizabeth’s Visit was pivotal in laying a firm basis for an authentic and ethical understanding between our countries.

“During those memorable few days eleven years ago, the Queen did not shy away from the shadows of the past.

“Her moving words and gestures of respect were deeply appreciated and admired by the people of Ireland and set out a new, forward looking relationship between our nations – one of respect, close partnership and sincere friendship.

“As we offer our condolences to all our neighbours in the United Kingdom, following the loss of a remarkable friend of Ireland, we remember the role Queen Elizabeth played in celebrating the warm and enduring friendship, and her great impact on the bonds of mutual understanding, between our two peoples. She will be deeply missed.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dílis.”

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