Of all the memorable words and images to emerge from the four-day state visit to England by Irish officials , the most memorable might be yet to come. Queen Elizabeth confirmed that a member of the royal family will plan to attend the centennial commemoration of the Easter Rising in April 1916. Such an invitation has been discussed publicly for some time.
Many in the mainstream Irish political parties feared the 1916 Rising commemorations might be hijacked by Sinn Féin, but republicans may now begin to fear the British royal family could steal the show. The presence of a member of a royal family should help ensure nobody steals the show and that the commemorations marking the first World War and the events that led to Irish independence will be truly inclusive of all strands of political opinion on the island of Ireland.
The decision is drawing criticism from historians such as Diarmaid Ferriter, a member of the advisory group working on the centenary.
“The State can make this invitation, but what are we there for if we are not going to be asked for advice on big decisions like that?” Ferriter told the Times. “The State doesn’t own the legacy of 1916. Nobody does except the people. We are trying to organise public consultations to get people’s views.”