Elizabeth the great: A surprisingly modern monarch

GALLERIES

Elizabeth the great: A surprisingly modern monarch

This built on the success of her trip to the Republic of Ireland the previous year, when she impressed with her use of the native language.

"Wow": said Irish President Mary McAleese summing up the reaction as the Queen spoke the opening words of her speech at a state banquet in Gaelic.

Speaking in Dublin castle, the monarch said: "A hUachtarain agus a chairde (President and friends)", earning prolonged applause. Afterwards experts declared her pronunciation "excellent".

It was a triumph given the question marks that have dogged the monarchy the Nineties and into the Noughties, regarding the relevance of this ancient institution