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King Charles III shakes hands with President Michael D Higgins in Belfast today Alamy Stock Photo
Northern Ireland

President Higgins meets King Charles as politicians come together in Belfast

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and UK Prime Minister Liz Truss were spotted engaging in a lengthy conversation ahead of proceedings.

POLITICAL LEADERS FROM both sides of the border have gathered in Belfast this afternoon at a memorial service for Queen Elizabeth II.

The service was attended by King Charles III and the Queen Consort as part of their tour of Northern Ireland today.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, President Michael D Higgins, Sabina Higgins and Northern Ireland’s First Minister designate Michelle O’Neill were among those in attendance at the ceremony alongside new UK Prime Minister Liz Truss.

The Taoiseach was seated next to Truss, with the two spotted engaged in lengthy conversation before the proceedings began.

queen-elizabeth-ii-death New UK Prime Minister Liz Truss speaking with Taoiseach Micheál Martin in Belfast PA PA

The Taoiseach also spoke with the new Northern Ireland Secretary, Chris Heaton-Harris, while Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney was spotted speaking with the new Northern Ireland Minister Steve Baker.

President Higgins also shook hands with the new king following the ceremony.

Ahead of the service, the king met with political leaders from Northern Ireland at Hillsborough Castle, including O’Neill, DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson and Alliance Party leader Naomi Long.

O’Neill told the king that she was sorry for his loss during their meeting.

“Her life and legacy will be fondly remembered by those of a British identity here who with great pride and devotion held her very dear,” said O’Neill.

“She led by example in advancing peace and reconciliation and the building of relationships with those of us who are Irish, and who share a different political allegiance and aspirations to herself and her Government.

“I hope this continues now that you are King and the British-Irish relationship strengthens and evolves as one era ends, and a new one begins in these changing times.”

Meanwhile, the king questioned Donaldson over the Northern Ireland Protocol, which has lead to political deadlock with no Assembly or Executive in place.

Donaldson told the king that there had been positive sounds coming from the EU on the protocol and that he was hopeful that matters would “progress”.

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