6 Mar 2011

Queen goes where no British monarch has gone before

6:18 am on 6 March 2011

Queen Elizabeth II will visit Ireland this year, becoming the first British monarch to make a state visit to the country since it gained independence from Britain in 1922.

Buckingham Palace has confirmed the visit, the BBC reports, saying the Queen will be accompanied by her husband the Duke of Edinburgh.

The last visit to Ireland by a reigning British monarch was by the Queen's grandfather, King George V, in 1911.

The Irish government has welcomed the news, saying it "will mark a further improvement in the very good relations between Ireland and the United Kingdom".

Further details, including dates and venues, will be issued later but media reports suggest the visit will take place in May.