Queen Elizabeth celebrated the 100th anniversary of the creation of Northern Ireland on Monday, May 3, and even reminisced about visiting the country with her late husband, Prince Philip, just less than one month after he passed away.
"A century ago, the Government of Ireland Act came into effect, and today marks a significant centenary for both the United Kingdom and Ireland," the statement began. "This anniversary reminds us of our complex history, and provides an opportunity to reflect on our togetherness and our diversity. In Northern Ireland today, there is, perhaps more than ever, a rich mix of identities, backgrounds and aspirations, and an outward-looking and optimistic mindset."
She continued, "The political progress in Northern Ireland and the peace process is rightly credited to a generation of leaders who had the vision and courage to put reconciliation before division. But above all, the continued peace is a credit to its people, upon whose shoulders the future rests. It is clear that reconciliation, equality and mutual understanding cannot be taken for granted, and will require sustained fortitude and commitment."
The 95-year-old admitted that she is "look[ing] forward" to visiting Northern Ireland again at some point in the future.
"I also wish to recognise the important contribution made by our friends and closest neighbours towards the success of Northern Ireland," she said. "I look back with fondness on the visit Prince Philip and I paid to Ireland, ten years ago this month. I treasure my many memories, and the spirit of goodwill I saw at first hand. Across generations, the people of Northern Ireland are choosing to build an inclusive, prosperous, and hopeful society, strengthened by the gains of the peace process. May this be our guiding thread in the coming years. I send my warmest good wishes to the people of Northern Ireland."
The last time Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited Northern Ireland was in June 2016.