The Queen shaking hands with former IRA commander, Martin McGuinness
The Queen and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness have shaken hands for the first time, reports the BBC.
The meeting between the monarch and Northern Ireland's deputy first minister took place at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast on Wednesday.
It happened at an event organised by a charity, Co-Operation Ireland, which works to bring communities together.
They shook hands at a private meeting and later shook hands in public.
The private meeting, in a room at the theatre, involved a group of seven people, including Irish President Michael D Higgins and Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson.
It is understood McGuinness welcomed both the Queen and the Irish president in Irish.
The deputy first minister is said to have commented on the Queen's visit to Dublin last year, and in particular her comments regarding all the victims of the Troubles.
A Sinn Fein spokesman said: "He emphasised the need to acknowledge the pain of all victims of the conflict and their families."
Sinn Fein said McGuinness told the Queen that their meeting was a "powerful signal that peace-building requires leadership".
Later, as the Queen left to continue her Diamond Jubilee tour of Northern Ireland, the pair shook hands again, this time in public.
As they shook hands for a second time, McGuinness wished the Queen well in Irish, which translates: "Goodbye and God bless."
When asked how it was to meet the Queen, Martin McGuinness replied "very nice."
During the event, the Queen was presented with a gift of Belleek pottery to mark her Diamond Jubilee.
President Higgins said he and his wife, Sabina, had been delighted "to have the opportunity for a brief but very warm meeting" with the Queen.
He said it marked "another important step on the journey to reconciliation on this island".
The prime minister's official spokesman said the Queen's visit to the Republic of Ireland last year had "taken relations between the two countries to a new level".
The spokesperson added: "We think it is right that the Queen should meet representatives from all parts of the community."
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said he very much welcomed the meeting between the Queen and Martin McGuinness.