Religious service in Armagh to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland

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

The Queen was due to attend as part of 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 an argument last month after Irish President Michael D Higgins declined an invitation to attend because he believed it was not politically neutral.

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

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

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

Earlier this month, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said his government’s stance “does not in any way undermine the president’s position.”

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 was organized by the four main churches to mark the formation of Northern Ireland and the partition of Ireland in 1921.

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

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


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

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

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

The declaration 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 of Ireland Sahr Yambasu.

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

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