LONDON – The Irish Republican Army-linked Sinn Fein party says one of its leaders, Martin McGuinness, will meet Queen Elizabeth II next week -- a once-unthinkable symbol of progress toward peace in Northern Ireland.
McGuinness, a former IRA commander, has been invited to attend an event with the queen in his role as deputy first minister of Northern Ireland.
The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, will visit Northern Ireland on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of her United Kingdom-wide tour to celebrate her 60 years on the throne.
Sinn Fein leaders declined to meet the queen last year during her first state visit to the neighboring Republic of Ireland, arguing it was still too soon.
But party President Gerry Adams said Friday the party has decided McGuinness should meet the monarch.