News story

Her Majesty The Queen begins Northern Ireland visit

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, has arrived in Northern Ireland and was greeted at George Best Belfast City Airport by Dame Mary Peters DBE, Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast, and The Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland .

Her Majesty and His Royal Highness began a series of engagements with a visit to UTV in Belfast .

Her Majesty and His Royal Highness were welcomed to the studios by Mr John B McGuckian, Chairman UTV Media plc, and went on to meet Mr John McCann, Group Chief Executive, and Mr Michael Wilson, Managing Director UTV Television.

UTV was the first regional broadcaster on the Island of Ireland . It went ‘on-air’ on 31 October 1959 and has held the Independent Television Licence ever since. Across its four divisions UTV employs around 850 people and is one of the largest publicly listed media groups in the United Kingdom .

The Royal visitors, accompanied by Mr McCann, began a tour of the studios with a call to the News and Content Floor where they had an opportunity to meet Ms Julie O’Connor, Executive Producer, and Mr Chris Hagan, Editor of News and Sport, and many of the team who together produce the main news output for television, radio and online.

Next was a visit to the Studio One where Her Majesty and His Royal Highness saw the News and Magazine programme sets, met presenters and also viewed a short clip from ‘Lesser Spotted Ulster’, UTV’s longest running regional programme.

Her Majesty and His Royal Highness then went on to visit the Control Room and had the opportunity to watch archive footage of some of their previous visits to Northern Ireland and to view some general UTV programme ‘out-takes’.

At the reception area Her Majesty accepted an invitation from Mr McGuckian to officially launch the station’s new High Definition channel.

Her Majesty accepted a gift of a compilation recording of previous visits and an invitation to sign the visitors’ book.

Later, Her Majesty and His Royal Highness were Guests of Honour at a lunch hosted by Mr McGuckian with invited guests from the business sector in Northern Ireland .

Her Majesty is expected to undertake a number of engagements later today in Hillsborough Castle where, as Patron of Action for Children, Her Majesty will be Guest of Honour at a reception to celebrate the Northern Ireland region’s 10th Anniversary.

Before attending a Black-tie dinner this evening with representatives from the Northern Ireland business community, Her Majesty is expected to meet separately with The Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland , and with The Rt Hon Peter D Robinson MLA, First Minister Northern Ireland .