UK holds first state visit for Irish president

Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has hosted the first state visit of an Irish president since the republic became independent. President Michael D Higgins visited Windsor for a banquet which also featured royalty and political leaders from around the world. The event was also controversially attended by former IRA commander Martin Guinness.
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Irish President Michael D. Higgins (L) and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) pose for a photograph ahead of a State Banquet during the Irish president's state visit in Windsor, west of London, on April 8, 2014. Queen Elizabeth II welcomed the Irish president to Britain on Tuesday for the first time since the republic became independent with a banquet also controversially attended by former IRA commander Martin Guinness. (AFP/Getty Images)
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Queen Elizabeth II and the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins toast after speeches the Royal Banquet on April 8, 2014 in Windsor, England. Guests and dignitaries including Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny and Northern Ireland's deputy first minister Martin McGuinness attending the banquet at the end of the first day of a state visit by Ireland's Michael D. Higgins. Ireland's Michael D. Higgins is making the first state visit by a president of the republic since it gained independence from neighbouring Britain. The visit comes three years after Queen Elizabeth II made a groundbreaking trip to the republic, which helped to heal deep-rooted unease and put British-Irish relations on a new footing. Higgins' return visit will be seen as an official sign of further progress following the hard-won peace in Northern Ireland, which remains part of the United Kingdom. (Getty Images)
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Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (R) accompanied by opposition Labour party leader Ed Miliband (L) and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (C) applaud after a speech by Irish President Michael D. Higgins at the Houses of Parliament in central London on April 8, 2014 on the first official day of engagments of the Irish president's state visit. Queen Elizabeth II welcomed the Irish president to Britain on April 8 for the first time since the republic became independent, in a historic state visit consolidating ties between the once hostile neighbours. (AFP/Getty Images)
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Former Prime Minister John Major attends a State Banquet in honour of the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins on April 8, 2014 in Windsor, England. Guests and dignitaries including Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny and Northern Ireland's deputy first minister Martin McGuinness attending the banquet at the end of the first day of a state visit by Ireland's Michael D. Higgins. Ireland's Michael D. Higgins is making the first state visit by a president of the republic since it gained independence from neighbouring Britain. The visit comes three years after Queen Elizabeth II made a groundbreaking trip to the republic, which helped to heal deep-rooted unease and put British-Irish relations on a new footing. Higgins' return visit will be seen as an official sign of further progress following the hard-won peace in Northern Ireland, which remains part of the United Kingdom. (Getty Images)
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Irish President Michael D. Higgins delivers his speech at the Houses of Parliament on April 08, 2014 in London, United Kingdom. Ireland's President Michael D. Higgins is making the first state visit by a president of the republic since it gained independence from neighbouring Britain. The visit comes three years after Queen Elizabeth II made a groundbreaking trip to the republic, which helped to heal deep-rooted unease and put British-Irish relations on a new footing. Higgins' return visit will be seen as an official sign of further progress following the hard-won peace in Northern Ireland, which remains part of the United Kingdom. (Getty Images)
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(L-R) Sabina Coyne, President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh pose for a photograph ahead of a State Banquet on April 8, 2014 in Windsor, England. Guests and dignitaries including Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny and Northern Ireland's deputy first minister Martin McGuinness attending the banquet at the end of the first day of a state visit by Ireland's Michael D. Higgins. Ireland's Michael D. Higgins is making the first state visit by a president of the republic since it gained independence from neighbouring Britain. The visit comes three years after Queen Elizabeth II made a groundbreaking trip to the republic, which helped to heal deep-rooted unease and put British-Irish relations on a new footing. Higgins' return visit will be seen as an official sign of further progress following the hard-won peace in Northern Ireland, which remains part of the United Kingdom. (Getty Images)
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Irish President Michael D. Higgins delivers his speech at the Houses of Parliament on April 08, 2014 in London, United Kingdom. Ireland's President Michael D. Higgins is making the first state visit by a president of the republic since it gained independence from neighbouring Britain. The visit comes three years after Queen Elizabeth II made a groundbreaking trip to the republic, which helped to heal deep-rooted unease and put British-Irish relations on a new footing. Higgins' return visit will be seen as an official sign of further progress following the hard-won peace in Northern Ireland, which remains part of the United Kingdom. (Getty Images)
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Leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband (C) greets the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins (L) ahead of a State Banquet on April 8, 2014 in Windsor, England. Guests and dignitaries including Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny and Northern Ireland's deputy first minister Martin McGuinness attending the banquet at the end of the first day of a state visit by Ireland's Michael D. Higgins. Ireland's Michael D. Higgins is making the first state visit by a president of the republic since it gained independence from neighbouring Britain. The visit comes three years after Queen Elizabeth II made a groundbreaking trip to the republic, which helped to heal deep-rooted unease and put British-Irish relations on a new footing. Higgins' return visit will be seen as an official sign of further progress following the hard-won peace in Northern Ireland, which remains part of the United Kingdom. (Getty Images)
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Irish President Michael D Higgins watches with his wife Sabina Coyne, as an Irish solider lays a wreath at the grave of the Unknown Warrior, during a visit to Westminster Abbey on April 8, 2014 in London, England. This is the first official visit by the head of state of the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom. (Getty Images)
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The Very Reverend John Hall (R), Dean of Westminster Abbey, shows Irish President Michael D. Higgins around Westminster Abbey in central London on April 8, 2014. Ireland's Michael D. Higgins is making the first state visit by a president of the republic since it gained independence from neighbouring Britain. The visit comes three years after Queen Elizabeth II made a groundbreaking trip to the republic, which helped to heal deep-rooted unease and put British-Irish relations on a new footing. Higgins' return visit will be seen as an official sign of further progress following the hard-won peace in Northern Ireland, which remains part of the United Kingdom. (AFP/Getty Images)
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) shows Irish President Michael D Higgins (R) Irish related items from the Royal Collection in the Green Drawing Room in Windsor Castle on 8 April, 2014 on the first official day of engagments during the Irish president's state visit. Queen Elizabeth II welcomed the Irish president to Britain on April 8 for the first time since the republic became independent, in a historic state visit consolidating ties between the once hostile neighbours. (AFP/Getty Images)