Elizabeth the great: A surprisingly modern monarch

GALLERIES

Elizabeth the great: A surprisingly modern monarch

This sense of duty was seen earlier this year when the monarch met Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness – a former IRA commander.

It held personal significance for her family since the organisation was responsible for the assassination of Earl Mountbatten, who was her cousin and the uncle of her husband.

Their historic handshake during a Diamond Jubilee tour, with Prince Philip looking on, led to the sovereign being praised for her forward thinking in cementing harmonious Anglo-Irish relationships