Michael D Higgins will not attend Armagh Church service with the Queen

President Michael D. Higgins declined an invitation to attend a church service with Queen Elizabeth marking the centenary of Northern Ireland and the partition of the island.

Mass is being organized in the coming weeks in Armagh by leaders of the major Christian churches, who have expected Mr. Higgins to participate as head of state.

“The president is not in a position to attend the ceremony you mentioned, and the organizers have been informed of this,” a spokesman for Mr Higgins said in response to a question from The Irish Times.

President Michael D. Higgins, his wife Sabina Quinn, and Queen Elizabeth II (since then) Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, before a state banquet in Windsor in April 2014. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Reuters

With preparations at a delicate stage, his decision disappointed the organizers. They hoped that both political traditions in Ireland would be represented at a very high level.

Transfer of “good wishes”

Higgins’ spokesman did not say why he was not attending. “The President has already conveyed through his office his best wishes to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” the spokesperson said.

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