Britain's Queen Elizabeth IIshook hands Wednesday with former IRA commander Martin McGuinness in a historic gesture marking a giant step forward in the peace process relating to British rule of Northern Ireland.
The handshake came 14 years after the end of a conflict that claimed about 3,500 lives, including that of the queen's cousin Lord Louis Mountbatten in an IRA bombing.
McGuinness spoke to the queen in Irish as they clasped hands and made eye contact for several seconds in the ground-breaking public part of the event.
"Goodbye and godspeed," McGuinness said, translating his comment for the queen. She smiled throughout the encounter but did not speak.
The handshake followed a brief private meeting at which McGuinness told the queen their meeting was a powerful signal that peace-building requires leadership, his party, Sinn Fein, said.
He emphasized the need to acknowledge the pain of all victims of the conflict and their families, Sinn Fein said.