As it happened: Irish Presidential state visit to the United Kingdom

Key points

  • At Windsor Castle state banquet, the Queen says: "We, the Irish and British, are becoming good and dependable neighbours and better friends."
  • Irish President Michael D Higgins toasts "valued neighbours whose friendship we truly cherish".
  • Former IRA leader Martin McGuinness among guests at banquet.
  • Earlier President Higgins told members of both Houses of Parliament: "The relationship between our two islands has achieved a closeness and warmth that once seemed unachievable."
  • This is the first state visit by an Irish head of state to the UK.
  • All times BST

Live text

Last updated 8 April 2014

STANDARD 11:00

Welcome to our live coverage of the first official state visit to the UK by an Irish head of state.

President Higgins will meet the Queen and address Parliament - another historic first.

STANDARD 11:01

Donna Traynor, @bbcnewslineDT
Crowds gathering at Windsor Castle for the arrival of President Higgins

Crowds gathering at Windsor Castle for the arrival of President Higgins.

STANDARD

His trip comes after the Queen became the first British monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland three years ago.

STANDARD 11:04

@BritishMonarchy
Windsor Castle

The Royal Standard flies over the Round Tower at #WindsorCastle on the morning of the #IrishStateVisit

TWEET 11:04

Residents in Windsor

Conor Macauley tweets: One local man tells me he thinks #irishstatevisit is most imp to have happened in Windsor

STANDARD 11:05

Conor Macauley, BBC reporter
Mounted police

The mounties have turned up

STANDARD 11:07

President Higgins came to England to work as a waiter when he was 21.

STANDARD 11:09

President Higgins arriving

President Higgins, accompanied by his wife Sabina, arrived at Heathrow Airport on Tuesday morning.

STANDARD 11:10

Michael D Higgins and Prince Charles

President Higgins meets Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at the Irish Embassy in London

STANDARD 11:10

The former Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Hain, has said the visit is proof of how much relations between Britain and Ireland have improved in recent years.