Church service in Armagh to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland

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A church service in Armagh will be held on Thursday to mark the centenary of the formation of Northern Ireland.

The Queen was due to attend a visit to Northern Ireland, but her trip was canceled on Wednesday after she “reluctantly accepted medical advice to rest for the next few days”, Buckingham Palace said.

The service became the center of a row last month after Irish President Michael D Higgins declined an invitation to attend because he believed it was not politically neutral.

The Queen has decided not to travel to Northern Ireland (PA) / PA wire

The Irish government will be represented by Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney and Chief Whip Jack Chambers.

Earlier this month, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said his government’s position “in no way undermines the position of the president”.

He said the president, as head of state, “approaches these issues from a different angle.”

The prayer service at St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral was held by the four main churches to mark the formation of Northern Ireland and the partition of Ireland in 1921.

Church leaders have expressed sadness after learning that the Queen will not be attending.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop John McDowell and Reverend David Bruce will all be in attendance (PA) / PA wire

“We are sorry to hear that it will not be possible for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to be present for the Service of Reflection and Hope in Armagh tomorrow,” they said in a statement.

The statement was signed by Presbyterian Moderator David Bruce, Primate of the Church of Ireland John McDowell, Catholic Primate Eamon Martin, President of the Irish Council of Churches Ivan Patterson and President of the Methodist Church in Ireland Sahr Yambasu.

“We wish to convey to Her Majesty our best wishes and in doing so recognize the importance of her commitment to the work of peace and reconciliation, which has meant so much to people across this island.”

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