Irish president to make historic state visit to Britain
President Michael D. Higgins is to become the first Irish head of state to make a state visit to Britain, in another symbolic step forward for relations between the neighbouring countries.
The visit in April will come three years after Britain's Queen Elizabeth made a groundbreaking trip to the republic, which experts said put Anglo-Irish relations on a new footing.
Higgins's visit will be seen as a further sign of progress following the hard-won peace in Northern Ireland, which remains part of the United Kingdom.
Higgins's Aras an Uachtarain official residence confirmed he has accepted an invitation for a three-day state visit.
The details are yet to be fleshed out but the 72-year-old poet is expected to stay at Windsor Castle, west of London, from April 8 to 10.
Though Higgins has visited Britain several times since taking office in November 2011, they were not official state visits, where Britain lays on the pomp and ceremony.
© 2013 AFP