Last week, as the news media covered the story of the forthcoming handshake between Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and DFM Martin McGuinness, it was noticeable that Sinn Fein representatives kept referring to her as 'the Queen of England'. The fact is that she is the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The term 'Queen of England' was used by Sinn Fein in a traditional republican way as if to imply that she has no connection with Northern Ireland. Indeed it was the term that Gerry Adams TD used on The Politics Show in the course of a discussion with Jeffrey Donaldson MP and Brian Feeney.
Jeffrey Donaldson responded to this and stated clearly that she is the Queen of the United Kingdom of which Northern Ireland is a part. It has been interesting to note that in several subsequent interviews Sinn Fein spokesmen dropped the term 'Queen of England' and referred to her as Queen Elizabeth, which is how she is commonly described. This is a small step but a significant step in the right direction.