* Queen visits Belfast for first time in two years
* Voices support for troubled peace process
* Visits set of hit U.S. show Game of Thrones
By Maurice Neil
BELFAST, June 24 Britain's Queen Elizabeth
toured a Belfast prison on Tuesday accompanied by former Irish
Republican Army commander Martin McGuinness who was once jailed
there, a show of support for the province's troubled peace
McGuinness, who was held in the 19th century Crumlin Road
prison in the 1970s for membership of the IRA, visited the
facility with the Queen whose uncle was killed by Irish
nationalists in 1979.
McGuinness is deputy leader of the province under a 1998
power sharing deal which largely ended three decades of violence
between Protestants who want to remain British and Catholics
favouring unification with Ireland.
His first handshake with the Queen, in 2012, was seen as a
landmark in the peace process.
But lingering tensions were exposed in May when Gerry Adams,
head of the IRA's political wing Sinn Fein, was held by police
for four days for questioning about a 1972 murder, something
McGuinness said could stoke dangerous levels of nationalist
A vote by Sinn Fein - McGuinness' party - 18 months ago to
restrict the flying of the British flag over Belfast City Hall
sparked some of the worst riots for years. Police are now
preparing for possible trouble during annual summer marches by
"I know there are many challenges ahead and peacemaking is
not always an easy task, but you have come this far by turning
the impossible into the possible," the Queen told a reception at
Belfast City Hall after the prison tour.
"The world yearns for examples of positive transformation of
people overcoming differences," she said. "I hope and believe
that Belfast will continue to be one such living example."
Northern Ireland's pro-British first minister, Peter
Robinson, who was himself held at Crumlin Road prison over
protests against a deal that gave the Irish Republic a greater
say in the running of the province, also accompanied the Queen
on her tour.
The imposing sandstone prison is now tourist attraction and
The Queen also visited the set of hit U.S. TV series Game of
Thrones, one of the highest profile foreign investments in the
province since the financial crisis ended a post-peace process
Accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen
browsed the costumes and weapons and met some of the lead actors
from the fantasy show made by Time Warner Inc's HBO.
Fans of the series voiced disappointment on Twitter that
although she looked at the "Iron Throne", the focus of the
series which, according to the plot, was forged from the swords
of defeated monarchs, she declined to sit on it.
(Writing by Padraic Halpin and Conor Humphries; Editing by