BELFAST, Northern Ireland (CNN) - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II shook hands Wednesday with former IRA commander Martin McGuinness in a historic gesture marking a giant step forward in the peace process around British rule of Northern Ireland.
The handshake comes 14 years after the end of a conflict that claimed about 3,500 lives, including that of the queen's cousin Lord Louis Mountbatten in an IRA bombing.
McGuinness spoke to the queen in Irish as they clasped hands and made eye contact for several seconds in the ground-breaking event.
"Goodbye and godspeed," McGuinness then said, translating his comment for the queen. She smiled throughout the encounter but did not speak.